Increasing Your Harvest with a Bloom Booster
Increasing Your Harvest with a Bloom Booster
If you want to encourage your hydroponic garden to keep producing profuse floral clusters during the budding and flowering cycle, then providing your favourite plants with the right phosphorus and potassium bloom booster may be beneficial. During the flowering phase, plants can deplete these elements, especially potassium, in the rhizosphere fairly quickly, on occasion in less than 72 to 96 hours.
Phosphorus (P) is essential for a strong root system, heavier more potent flowers and overall growth. It also hastens maturity plus increases yield and vitamin content in plants. Potassium (K) is the nutrient present in the highest quantities that is a catalyst for many plant functions. It helps form strong stems, improves colour, provides starches and oils and reduces water needs. It is essential for cell division and balances the effects of excess nitrogen and calcium.
If your fast growing plants don’t get the quantities they demand, sugar production is retarded and your plants find it difficult conserving the energy necessary for heavy bud and flower development. Plant growth halts and fruit and flower quality suffers. To achieve a plentiful harvest, a bloom booster comprising phosphorus and potassium can make a big difference.
Bloom Booster Products
The majority of manufacturers have additional speciality fertilisers, such as phosphorus and potassium (PK) bloom booster products in their assortment that supply extra phosphorus and potassium during the fruiting and flowering phase.
Hydroponic craftsmen adjust the ratios of nutrients provided to the plant by changing over from grow food to bloom food so that more or less of specific nutrient elements are accessible. Hydroponic nutrients designed for the flowering phase are ordinarily rich in phosphate (P) and potash (K). The amount of nitrogen required traditionally remains stable throughout the entire life cycle of the crop. Should a craftsman apply extra nitrogen during the grow phase, the amount applied during the flowering phase will decrease, to optimise the levels in the growing medium.
In contrast, the quantity of potassium required intensifies as the plants mature and develop. This is achieved partially by increasing the applied dosage, but also via the different nutrient formulation used during the flowering and fruiting phase. The ratio of potassium to phosphorus in the nutrient formulation for the flowering phase needs to change in order to meet the plant’s varying requirements.
During the third phase of the generative period when the plant needs more P and K, simply increasing the dosage of the bloom food formulation will not suffice. This is because the formulation also contains other elements such as nitrogen, magnesium, iron and other trace elements, which are already at their maximum levels. So the only other option is to add more P and K in the form of a phosphorus and potassium booster.
What PK Bloom Boosters to add?
Firstly, each manufacturer has formulated its range of fertiliser products to optimise plant growth and flowering. Their grow food is perfectly matched to their flowering food which is matched to their boosters and supplements. Growers who mix and match different brands of fertiliser products take a variety of risks. There is a good chance that the incorrect quantity of the incorrect element will be given at the incorrect time. Mixing different brands is a recipe for disaster!
Secondly, look for quality base nutrient formulations that already contain plenty of potassium and phosphorus. Phosphate is generally the most expensive ingredient in fertiliser. Inexpensive base fertiliser brands contain little or no phosphate. However, as your plants genuinely need phosphate, you are forced to purchase their expensive bottles of bloom minerals to stimulate flowering. Starting off with a cheaper brand of base fertiliser in the beginning ultimately means facing higher costs later on in the flowering phase.
Prior to purchasing a particular brand of phosphorus and potassium PK booster, check the directions to see how long it should be applied for. Unfortunately bargain buys can end up being very expensive. A shorter application period indicates a superior potassium and phosphorus purity, signifying a better value PK booster.
Nearly any ready to use PK booster will benefit plants during general flowering, however for best results, a crop specific phosphorus and potassium supplement might be a better choice to help your plants reach their peak fruit and flower production. Undeniably, if you want to push your plants to reach their true genetic potential, the proven phosphorus and potassium ratio used by generations of Dutch breeders and growers is PK 13/14.
This means there is 130g of phosphorus (P2O5) and 140g of potassium (K2O) per litre of water. This is a 1:1 ratio of P to K. By dosing 1.5 ml PK 13/14 in 1L/1qt water in combination with a base flowering nutrient, you are providing:
• 130 gr: 1000 ml → 130 mg/ml x 1.5 ml → 195 mg of P2O5 (phosphorus) in addition to the base flowering formulation.
• 140 gr → 140 mg/ml x 1.5 ml → 210 mg of K2O (potassium) in addition to the base flowering formulation.
The additional amounts of P and K gradually change the ratio in the substrate, leading to the desired stimulating effect on the flowers.
When to apply a PK Bloom Booster?
The plant will only benefit from phosphorus and potassium bloom minerals in the week that the plant sets fruit or flowers. This is in the third stage of the generative (flowering) phase. Therefore you only need to feed the plants an extra dose of phosphorus and potassium elements for one week, three to four weeks before harvest. After this period, the plants absorb much less phosphate. If you continue to feed the plants extra bloom minerals in an attempt to stimulate lengthier flowering, they will not be absorbed by the plant, but will accumulate in the growing medium, increasing the EC.
Just remember, “Less is best!” A lot of novice gardeners tend to think that if 10 ml of bloom booster is beneficial, 20 ml is twice as beneficial. Not so. In plant nutrition, it’s about the right nutrient balance. Preferably, you should give the plant only what it wants, when it wants it.
Even though some plant strains may benefit from an extra dosage of phosphorus and potassium at the pinnacle of their generative phase, they don’t need an overdose. The goal is to increase the phosphorus and potassium in the plant substrate – if you go too far and give your plants more than they need, it may cause a deficiency in other nutrients, especially calcium and magnesium or lead to nutrient burn and reduction in yield.
Use caution when applying boosters. Don’t just randomly add every bloom booster that declares to enhance flowering. Using too many additives is one of the most common causes of nutrient imbalances in an indoor hydroponic garden. There is no magic boosters. The magic is in the hands of a hydroponic craftsman.