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Ph levels for germinating cannabis seeds

The Best pH Value For Cannabis Plants

Do you keep track of your soil and water pH levels for your cannabis plants? The pH value (acidity) is a critical factor. A lack of balance here can prevent your cannabis plants from absorbing the amount of nutrients they need.

The Perfect pH Value For Weed Plants

Testing pH values regularly is worth your while. The right acidity can make your plants stronger and bushier, allowing for better yields. In this blog, you’ll find out what pH value is, why it matters, and how you can measure it.

Why Is pH Value Important?

pH value indicates acidity. In growing cannabis, this relates to acidity levels of the soil as well as of the water you use. pH is important, because it plays a part in determining the quantity of nutrients your plants can absorb. Acidity is a predictor of chemical activity and nutrient availability in water and soil.

pH is measured using a scale that runs from 0 to 14.

Acidity decreases as the number rises, where 7 indicates a neutral pH value. If acidity does not correspond with the plant’s preferences, nutrient uptake is disrupted. High pH levels often cause deficiencies in manganese, boron, and phosphorus. If pH levels drop too low, plants will develop deficiencies for all nutrients. In order to keep your plants healthy, regular checks of soil and water pH levels are necessary.

pH values between 6.0 and 6.8 are ideal for cannabis plants.

Nonetheless, ideal pH levels differ from strain to strain. You should therefore keep a close eye on your plants, and experiment with different acidity levels.

Adjusting pH Value

If you want to adjust pH values to suit your cannabis plants, you have two options. You can increase or decrease the pH of the soil, but you can only do that before you plant your seeds. If your plants are already growing, you can only adjust pH values by changing the acidity level of the water you use.

Adjusting Soil pH Value

Lowering pH using organic products:
Water with apple cider vinegar • Composted manure • Sulphur • Pine needles

Raising pH using organic products:
Limestone • Ashes (i.e., burnt wood)

Natural products tend to work slowly, especially in case of pine needles. Be careful though: once they kick in, they kick in hard. Apple cider vinegar is very effective too, and this has the advantage of working almost immediately. Use this product only if you have no other choice, as it will kill micronutrients present in the soil.

Adjusting Water pH Value

By adjusting the pH of the water you use for your plants, you’ll also adjust the pH value of the soil where the water ends up.

Lower pH by adding sphagnum moss or phosphoric acid. If pH is too low, you can add lime, baking soda, or wood ashes. Try not to use this method more than twice in a grow. Doing this too often may damage your plants.

Chemical Products

Aside from organic products, you can also use chemical agents to adjust pH levels. These products are called pH Up and pH Down. They’re available at your local nursery or garden centre. You don’t need to use much, and it works rapidly.

Testing pH Value

Checking pH values regularly as your cannabis plants grow and flower is important. Seasonal changes can easily affect soil and water pH levels. You can test for acidity in the following ways:

Chemical Testing

Tests are available at your local garden centre. Tests come in the form of strips, drops, or pens. Simply add some soil or water to the test tube. In some cases, you need to add chemicals. pH can also be measured using strips that change colour as acidity rises. These tests give fairly accurate indications of pH values.

The Right pH For Your Own Cannabis Grow

As you’ve seen, the right pH value is essential for making the most out of your cannabis plants. Good nutrient uptake requires careful monitoring of soil and water acidity. For more information on choosing the right type of soil for your cannabis seeds, check out this article. If you feel you know enough to get growing, hop right over to our seeds catalogue and have a go!

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Cannabis pH Chart & Guide

pH is one of the more mysterious aspects of growing cannabis. While cannabis plants can grow outside of their ideal pH levels, the further pH strays from ideal, the less healthy the plant will be which equates to lower yields. So let’s look at the definition of pH, why it is important and what pH levels should you strives to maintain over the course of the plant’s life. Or you can just skip the cannabis pH guide and simply look at the Cannabis pH Chart at the top of the page.

What is pH?

pH stands for the potential of Hydrogen ions in the water. The pH scale runs from 0 – 14.0, but for plant purposes we can concentrate on the levels between 4.0 – 8.5. A value of 7.0 is considered pH neutral, below 7.0 is acidic, above 7.0 is alkaline. Here is pH in the simplest format:

Simplest pH Scale

Acidic 0 – 6.9

Neutral 7.0

Alkaline 7.01 – 14

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Why is pH important?

Because pH imbalance makes it difficult for the plant to absorb nutrients with its roots. Whether a cannabis plant is planted in soil, coco, or hydro, pH levels need to be maintained to optimal levels. For simplicity we will simply use “Soil” to stand for all three.

When the soil is too acidic, cannabis plants will begin to lose their ability to absorb nutrients through their roots. As the soil gets more and more acidic, the plant will lose all ability to feed and eventually become toxic.

Similarly, when the soil becomes too alkaline, phosphorus and calcium can’t be broken down which stunts the plant’s growth. If the soil becomes too alkaline, the plant will be subjected to root damage.

However cannabis plants prefer an acidic soil so problems start to arrive around a pH of 6.5, which is slightly acidic but is not acidic enough for the plant’s liking. You want the cannabis plant to be able to use all the phosphorus it can at all times, but especially during flowering. Phosphorus and Potassium are required in high amounts during the mid flowering phase so better to be slightly too acidic than slightly too alkaline.

Cannabis pH Levels

4.0 and below: Toxic

4.0-5.3: Poor Nutrient Uptake

5.3-5.8: Good pH Level

5.8-6.3: Perfect pH Balance

6.4-7.0: Acceptable pH Level

7.1-8.4: Poor Nutrient Uptake

8.5 and Above: Root Damage

Measuring pH

If you are reading this article, don’t use paper strips like in science class. You need to be more accurate than that. Any pool supply store and Amazon will sell you a pH meter for $10. Often times you can get a pH and ppm set (2 different meters) for $15 or less. This is a good purchase as ppm is another important factor in growing healthy cannabis plants.

To measure soil pH, water the plant thoroughly and measure the pH of the run off from the bottom of the pot. You want to measure the pH of the soil and then add water adjusted to the correct pH to balance the soil. For example, if you measure the run off water at 6.5, you will want to add water with a pH around 5.5 to bring the soil back into the perfect 5.8 – 6.3 range. The reverse would be measuring run off that measures 5.0. You would then need to add water at pH of around 6.5 or 7.0 to bring the pH of the soil back up.

Adjusting pH Levels of the Feed Water

You can buy pH adjusters over the counter or you can try homemade solutions. Store bought pH adjusters will be two bottles, pH + and pH -. It’s as simple as it sounds. Measure the pH of your water then add the appropriate adjusting agent.

Homemade solutions can straight from the list of common items. Since no tap water should have a pH too much below 6.0, often times you will need to add an acid to your water. The simplest solution is lemon juice. A little lemon juice can bring down the pH of water easily. If nutrients have lowered the pH of your water to far, a tiny bit of baking soda.

Interestingly, even though sea water is alkaline at 8.0, you can’t just add salt to water to raise the pH. What you actually have to do is add salt and a bit of lemon juice to the water. A strong alkaline sea salt or Himalayan salt with a weak acidic solution(water with a little lemon) will create alkaline water*.

Now you should have a good grasp of the role pH plays in growing healthy cannabis plants. You should also new have the tools to measure and adjust the pH of the water used and the soil and/or hydro system. Maintaining a proper pH throughout the life of the cannabis plant will allow it to grow to its fullest potential and thereby yield its maximum amount.

* Alkaline water is supposedly quite healthy. By drinking alkaline water with a pH of 9.0 – 10.0 it helps the body cle anse acidic wastes and toxins.