When we talk about cannabis nutrients we usually break them down into macro- and micro-nutrients. Most people know about the big 3, the macronutrients Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium (N-P-K) which are essential for cannabis plants to survive. Less people, however, know about the micronutrients that help plants thrive and improve their health, bloom, and quality.
Silica is one of the more interesting micronutrients because it is not essential for growing quality cannabis but it does help cannabis plants get higher yield, bigger buds, and improved pest resistance.
So even though you may not be suffering from a silica deficiency, per se, you will definitely benefit from knowing what silica does for cannabis plants and how silica supplementation can help you take your grow to the next level.
(Si) Silica: Improves nutrient uptake, strengthens cell walls, and improves pest & decease resistance.
Micronutrient: Absorbed in small to minute quantities. They are generally less well known than the macronutrients since most plant foods don’t contain them.
What is Silica And What Does Silica Do for Cannabis Plants?
Silica, or more specifically silicon dioxide (SiO2) which is what silicone becomes after coming into contact with oxygen, is a naturally occurring mineral found in soil, rocks, sand, and almost all organic material on Earth. In fact, silicon is the second most common mineral found in Earth’s crust with only oxygen being more abundant.
With that knowledge in hand, it’s easy to understand why silica is such an important supplement for your cannabis crop to have healthy growth and without it, you are not giving your plants the perfect environment to express their full genetic potential.
So What Are The Benefits of Using Silica for Cannabis Plants?
Silica plays a crucial role in the overall health and development of cannabis plants and cannabis growers usually see these 5 key benefits after adding a silica supplement to their arsenal.
1- Improvement in Nutrient Uptake
Silica helps plants develop a robust root system, which enhances nutrient uptake and minimizes the risk of nutrient lockout and yellow leaves. A healthy root system is vital for cannabis plants to absorb essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium and decreases the risks of nutrient deficiencies that can severely impact plant growth and yields.
It also helps by preventing the roots from taking in heavy metals and other potentially dangerous elements from the soil.
2 – Makes Stronger Cell Walls
One of the primary jobs that silica does in cannabis plants is the reinforcement of cell walls resulting in sturdier and more resilient plants. This increased strength can lead to better support for heavy buds, reducing the risk of branches breaking under their weight.
3 – Increases Resistance to Environmental Stress
This is especially important for outdoor growers so that their plants withstand drought, temperature fluctuations, and changes in humidity. By improving the plant’s ability to manage stress, you help the plant feel more comfortable with the growing conditions which in turn produces higher yields.
4 – Increases Resistance to Pathogens
Silica has been shown to boost a plant’s natural defenses against pathogens such as fungi and bacteria. This increased resistance can lead to healthier plants with fewer issues related to disease. Fungus likes to grow in wet and humid environments and in the same warm climates as cannabis plants so a good silica supplement is important (you also need to maintain good airflow and proper humidity in the grow room).
5 – Defends Plants from Pests
Studies have shown that cannabis plants treated with silica may have increased resistance to pests like spider mites, aphids, and whiteflies that suck the sap out of the plant, leading to nutrient deficiencies. The enhanced cell walls deter pests from feeding on the plant, protecting it from potential damage. Pest infestations are usually easy to spot but can be difficult to deal with and silica helps you by preventing pests from ever becoming an issue.
How To Use Silica To Grow Healthier Cannabis Plants
You can use silica in any growing medium from soil to hydroponics and it is a fairly easy-to-use supplement for almost all cannabis cultivation styles. The most common issue that growers run into when using a silica supplement is that it makes the substrate slightly more alkaline (raises the pH).
It normally comes as a liquid supplement and it is taken in by the roots of the plant as needed. Any excess Si in the substrate is saved for later.
You can also use it as a foliar spray in order to give your cannabis leaves better protection from pests.
To get the best results from silica you should apply it from the later stages of veg, all the way through the flowering stage.
Best silica supplement
Our custom blend offers a specific amount of silica to your growing environment. An appropriate level of silica has been shown to increase plant tolerances to stresses. Use in conjunction with our full system anytime additional support is desired.
Are Silica and Silicon the Same?
Silica and silicon may sound similar, but they are not the same. Silicon is a chemical base element (Si) found in nature, while silica (silicon dioxide or SiO2) is a compound formed when silicon bonds with oxygen. Silica is the only form of silicon that plants can absorb and utilize.
Do I need to use a silica supplement in healthy soil?
While you don’t need to use silica to grow healthy cannabis plants, it is recommended to use silica in order to give your plants the ideal environment for remaining resistant to diseases and pests and to improve nutrient uptake and strengthen cell walls.
Should I always supplement plants with nutrients?
If you are a beginner grower who is growing a small plant outside in living soil, you can grow cannabis without any additional nutrients. However, it is recommended that you use a nutrient mix to keep your plants healthy and yield high. Hydroponic and indoor growers who use RO water always need to provide plants with a nutrient mix or the plants will starve to death.
You will know that your plants need silica if you see the following symptoms.
- Weak stems
- Yellowing and stressed leaves with curling or wilting
- Increased susceptibility to pests and diseases
- Slow growth or reduced yields.
These symptoms can be caused by other deficiencies as well so perform a full diagnosis on your plant before adding any further supplement. Reach out to us to get assistance!
Can I use too much Silica?
Yes. Too much silica can lead to a buildup of salts and cause nutrient lockout and root damage. Symptoms of silica nutrient lock include browning or burning on the tips of the leaves, reduced or stunted growth and low yield.