Did you know that one of the healthiest things for cannabis plants is seaweed? People often describe seaweed as a cannabis superfood, since it’s absolutely packed with vital cannabis plant nutrients. Seaweed can also benefit cannabis plants in other ways, such as by stimulating beneficial microorganisms, regulating soil pH, keeping intrusive pests away, and regulating plant growth– among other things! Curious to know all the many ways seaweed can benefit cannabis plants? Read on to learn everything you need to know about seaweed, the incredible cannabis superfood.
The Benefits of Seaweed for Growing Cannabis
Seaweed has been used in agriculture for centuries. Long ago, people noticed that seaweed helped their plants thrive and, thanks to modern science, we now know exactly how and why seaweed is so beneficial for plants. Seaweed has four main benefits for plants: it has excellent and diverse nutrition, it can improve soil quality, it can defend against harmful invaders, and it improves stress tolerance.
Nutrition: Seaweed the Superfood
As fresh seaweed grows in the ocean, it absorbs a diverse variety of plant-healthy micronutrients, macronutrients, and trace minerals, making it impressively nutritious. For example, seaweed contains calcium, boron, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, fatty acids, phytohormones, and vitamins A, E, B12, C, and K. Seaweed’s range of nutrients and trace minerals is excellent nutrition for many plants, including cannabis plants in particular.
Soil Quality: Moisture and pH
In order to thrive, cannabis plants need more than just top notch nutrition. They also need the right environment, which requires the healthiest possible soil. Luckily, seaweed can work wonders on soil health.
Seaweed actually provides both short-term and long-term benefits for soil quality. In the short term, seaweed helps soil retain moisture, to the point where you may even have to water your plants less. Long-term, seaweed helps regulate soil pH, adds healthy trace elements to soil, and makes the texture of soil lighter, which helps plants form roots and access nutrients more easily.
Organic Defense: Repelling Harmful Invaders
Seaweed does more than add good things to the growing process. It also fends off some bad things. Seaweed deters pests, harmful bacteria, and invasive fungi, while simultaneously not harming beneficial bacteria and fungi.
Ameliorating Effects: Improving Stress Tolerance
Studies have shown that seaweed can help crops deal with stress. According to some recent horticulture research, seaweed has an “ameliorating effect on crop tolerance to abiotic stresses such as salinity, extreme temperatures, nutrient deficiency, and drought.” This means that on top of providing great nutrition, seaweed can help plants deal with any subpar conditions they may experience, making them hardier and more resilient.
A Spotlight on Kelp for Cannabis
There are many kinds of seaweed, since the seaweed category includes all brown algae, green algae, and red algae. Many of these seaweed varieties can provide benefits for marijuana plants. However, out of every type of seaweed, kelp is arguably the most super of the seaweed superfoods.
Kelp seaweed, a type of brown algae, grows in shallow waters that are extremely rich in nutrients. Because of this, kelp contains almost every nutrient cannabis plants need. Kelp contains over 60 trace elements, including iron, zinc, molybdenum, cobalt, and manganese. Importantly, kelp also contains natural growth hormones, like cytokinins and auxins, which stimulate cell division and more robust root systems. All the minerals, vitamins, nutrients, amino acids, and growth hormones in kelp make it an incredible cannabis cultivation tool. Kelp gives cannabis plants just what they need to produce energy, form chlorophyll, perform photosynthesis, and much more.
On top of being wonderfully nutritious for cannabis plants themselves, kelp gives a boost to certain beneficial microorganisms that can grow in soil. Soil health is key if you want to grow high quality cannabis plants with robust stems and branches (and plenty of energy for creating flower and resin). The fact that kelp can help highly beneficial soil microbes thrive in the soil is a big part of how it helps cannabis plants thrive.
Using Seaweed to Help Your Cannabis Plants Grow
There’s more than one way to use seaweed to help your cannabis plants grow and thrive. In fact, there are three ways: mulching, composting, and fertilizing.
Mulching With Seaweed
Mulching with seaweed is very popular due to its ease and effectiveness. To mulch with seaweed, you simply set your seaweed directly on top of your plant soil, then let your seaweed go to work naturally. It’s as easy as that. And though it’s easy, mulching with seaweed is immensely beneficial. When used as mulch, seaweed provides improved moisture retention, soil health, nutrition, and pest and fungus defense.
Composting With Seaweed
If you’re preparing compost for your cannabis plants, seaweed can give it a powerful nutrition boost. To compost with seaweed, just add some seaweed to your standard compost mixture, make sure you mix it in well for even distribution, and then let time work its magic until your compost is ready.
Fertilizing With Seaweed
Seaweed is a great fertilizer for cannabis plants, since it contains so many of the vital minerals and nutrients cannabis needs to grow and thrive. Kelp seaweed is a particularly good choice for cannabis fertilizer, as it contains virtually all of the nutrients cannabis plants need and it can really amp up soil health.
If you want to fertilize your cannabis plants with seaweed, you can buy seaweed fertilizer or make your own at home. Making liquid fertilizer with seaweed is actually very easy. To make a liquid fertilizer with seaweed, add seaweed and your other composting material into a barrel alongside a small amount of water. Then, just wait for your water, compost, and seaweed to break down over several months until it becomes liquid. Once your homemade seaweed fertilizer is ready to go, you can use it in multiple ways. You can enrich your soil with seaweed fertilizer before planting, use your seaweed fertilizer as a spray to defend against disease and harmful invaders after germination, or use your fertilizer as a foliar spray on an as-needed basis to supplement nutrition.
If you’ll be using a store bought seaweed extract to dilute your cannabis plants, be aware that you’re probably going to need to dilute it. Seaweed extract is healthy for cannabis plants in the right quantities, but it can be far too intense if you overdo it. Just make sure you follow the directions on your store bought seaweed fertilizer’s packaging and pay close attention to how your plants respond after being fertilized.
Sourcing Seaweed for Cannabis Plants
Whether you’re going to mulch, compost, or fertilize with seaweed, you can choose to use fresh seaweed that you gather yourself (if you live by the ocean) or to use a ready-made seaweed product that’s formulated for agricultural use. Many people like using fresh seaweed that they gather themselves, since it’s both organic and free. However, if you want the convenience of a ready-made product (or if you don’t have easy access to the ocean), there are plenty available, including seaweed mulch, liquid seaweed extract, and kelp powder.
Note that if you do want to forage for fresh seaweed, you should research any place you’re thinking of going to. You don’t want to pick up seaweed from polluted waters, so look into the water quality of the beaches near you. You also don’t want to accidentally break any local laws, so look up whether or not it’s okay to collect seaweed in your area (and if so, are there any limits on how much you can collect at a time or what areas of the beach you can collect from).
Once you do your research and pick a spot, harvesting seaweed from the beach couldn’t be easier. Bring a bag, take your pick of the seaweed varieties available at the beach, give your seaweed a quick wash at home if you want to remove salt, and then use it to grow some healthy, high quality cannabis.