Fertilizing and Watering Hemp - Do's and Don'ts

Fertilizing and Watering Hemp - Do's and Don'ts

May 13th 2024

Are you growing hemp and need tips on fertilizing properly? Proper watering and fertilizing are as important for your plants' growth as good ventilation, lighting, and humidity.

Hemp plants need water and nutrients to survive and thrive, but too much or too little of it can start to affect the crop. Therefore, watering and fertilizing them correctly is critical to promote healthy growth and big harvests. Hemp is a resilient plant; most strains can handle some mistakes when watering and feeding. However, consistently delivering in the wrong quantities can cause serious problems that can prove harmful to your crop. Just like other plants, the quality of your harvest will be determined by the care you provide for plants. If your goal is to grow a healthy plant with big buds, two crucial aspects that should never be overlooked are feeding and watering the plants at the right time and in the right amount.

Want to know the dos and don'ts of watering and fertilizing your hemp plants? This post shares the essential practices you should follow and mistakes you should avoid ensuring healthy growth and successful harvest. Let's get into the details.

Fertilizing Techniques for Hemp: Do's and Don'ts

Fertilizing is an act of giving your plants essential nutrients to nourish them as they grow and flower. Well-fertilized plants are healthy and more resilient against diseases and other issues Some essential nutrients that hemp plants need for optimal growth and maximum yield include Nitrogen (N), Potassium (K), phosphorus (P), Calcium (Ca), Sulfur (S), and Magnesium (Mg). Here are the dos and don'ts every grower should follow when feeding hemp.


Invest in a Good Fertilizer or Nutrient Solution

First and foremost, get high-quality cannabis fertilizer from a reputable brand. When choosing the fertilizer, consider your hemp plant's growth stage. In the vegetative stage, a fertilizer with high Nitrogen (N) content is ideal to encourage lush foliage. During the flowering stage, a fertilizer high in phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) content is best to promote bud development. You can use light fertilizer with a lower concentration in the seedling stage. Moreover, the exact fertilizer ratio and product can vary depending on your soil composition and personal preferences.

DripWorks offers specialized cannabis fertilizers like Vital Fish Powder that can provide your hemp plants with steady nutrition, leading to accelerated growth.

Follow the Manufacturer's Instructions and Start Less

When feeding the hemp plants, following the recommended label rates is essential as they will provide a good starting point. It is best to start at lower rates than recommended and then monitor how the plants react over time. If they respond positively after feeding, increase the rate slowly with each feeding but not exceed the maximum recommended amount.

Test Your Soil

Test your soil to gain information about your soil's nutrient composition, nutrient deficiencies, and pH levels. You can only fix the soil if you know what nutrients it lacks. Hemp plants have unique nutrient needs, and if you can make soil ideal for hemp seeds, your plants will have a greater chance of thriving. You can work with a fertilization company to take soil samples. A soil specialist will provide a fertilization plan based on soil sample results.

Related Post: Gardening: Know Your Soil Type

Adjust Fertilization

If you notice signs of nutrient imbalances or overfertilization, immediately adjust nutrient levels. Ignoring your hemp fertilizing requirements can result in a subpar harvest, but overfertilizing can also harm your plants, leading to nutrient burn. Therefore, monitor your plant health and keep an eye on leaf tips, as this is where you will see the signs of nutrient burn.

The early warning signs are bending leaf tips, slight yellowing at the edges of leaves, and deep green coloration. The best way to deal with nutrient burn is to remove infected parts of the plant, including any yellowing or browning buds. Then, flush the soil using pH-balanced water.

Create a Personalized Hemp Fertilizing Chart

Set a schedule for feeding your hemp plants before and during the growing season. Experienced growers can create their feeding charts after getting the soil results. However, new growers should consider working with a fertilization company or consult with pros to create a feeding chart for their soil and hemp crop. Creating the right hemp feeding plan will go a long way toward keeping your plants healthy and happy till harvest.


Choosing the Wrong Type of Fertilizer

Choosing the wrong fertilizer for the hemp growth stage can significantly affect the plant growth and yield. Make sure you get the right type of fertilizer for each stage of the plant life cycle. Understand fertilizer ratios: NPK ratio. This will help you choose the right fertilizer for your plant's needs. For example, a fertilizer with a 10-15-20 ratio contains 10% nitrogen, 15% phosphorus, and 20% potassium.

Over Fertilizing

Nutrient excesses or deficiencies can negatively affect hemp and cannabis growth and yield. Overfeeding or over-fertilizing can cause a nutrient burn. It is better to underfeed the plant than to overfeed. Overfertilization can cause serious problems that are harder to resolve.

Watering Techniques for Hemp: Do's and Don'ts

Hemp is a high-use water plant; it needs abundant water, especially in the flowering stage. According to research, an outdoor cannabis plant consumes around 6 gallons (22.7 liters) of water each day during the growing season, from June through October. Moreover, indoor cannabis cultivation requires only 2.5-2.8 gallons of water daily at the end of the growing season. The amount of water hemp plants needs and watering frequency depends on temperature, soil properties, growth stage, end-use, and indoor vs outdoor crop. Here are the dos and don'ts every grower should follow when watering cannabis.


Water Deeply

Water less, but water deeply and thoroughly. Rather than frequent shallow watering, treat your plants to a deep, less frequent soak. This encourages deeper roots and promotes stronger and more resilient plants. For a good soak, water the medium to a depth of 25-33% of the pot's capacity. Allow the soil to dry a little between watering's to avoid overwatering and potential fungal issues.

Water at the Plant's Base

When watering, aim for the root zone and water at the base of the hemp plant. This allows the water to reach the roots directly where needed and reduces evaporation. Avoid wetting plants' leaves and upper parts, which might cause sunburn and fungal diseases.

Use a Drip Irrigation System

The drip irrigation system is an efficient and recommended method for watering cannabis plants. This system directly delivers a slow and steady water supply to plants' roots. Instead of spraying water into the soil or at plants, the drip system provides consistent and targeted watering, reducing water loss and the risk of overwatering. An automatic drip irrigation system can also be a lifesaver if the grower needs to leave their plants for a few days and can't find someone to water them.

Water in Morning

Water your hemp plants in the early morning to benefit from cooler temperatures and lower evaporation rates. Watering earlier allows the plant to utilize the nutrients more effectively because most basic processes involved in plant growth occur in sunlight. Watering in the evening will leave the soil damp throughout the night, leading to mold growth and tissue damage.

Assess Soil Moisture Levels

If you want to know when to water your plants or ensure they are getting adequate hydration, monitor the soil's moisture level. Place the tip of your finger or a moisture meter into the top 5 cm of soil to check the moisture depth. Water the plants when the top inch of soil feels dry. If the soil is still wet, wait until it starts to dry. Avoid letting the soil dry out entirely.



Overwatering is the most common mistake cannabis growers make. Avoid overwatering your hemp plants, as it is the reason for all growing troubles, such as waterlogged soil, root rot, nutrient deficiencies, and diseases. Overwatering can also cause the death of plants because drowned roots are extremely difficult to revive. It is wise to let the soil dry out between watering's to balance moisture. The signs of overwatered hemp plants include soggy soil, leaves turning yellow from the bottom, leaves curling and dropping down, and slow plant growth.

Use Chlorinated Water

Water quality plays a crucial role in how well your crop will grow. Ideally, use filtered, purified RO, dechlorinated or collected rainfall to irrigate your hemp plants. Hard water contains minerals, salt deposits, and chemicals that can build up in soil and affect nutrient uptake and plant growth. If you are using tap water, let it sit out for 24 hours to eliminate chlorine. Furthermore, the pH range of water should be 6.3-6.8.

Overhead Watering

It is best not to spray or water your hemp plants from above, especially in peak summer. Water droplets resting on foliage are exposed to heat. They act as magnifying glasses, intensify the sunlight, and cause leaf burn. Moreover, wet foliage encourages the growth of fungal diseases. So, stick to watering at the plant's root zone.

Neglect Proper Drainage

Hemp thrives in well-drained, airy, and fluffy soil. It's important to note that poorly drained soil can create dry pockets, which can be detrimental to root health. Ensuring proper drainage in your hemp garden, whether through well-drained soil or adequate drainage in containers or beds, is crucial. Poor drainage can lead to oxygen deprivation and waterlogged roots, which can stunt plant growth. To avoid these issues, ensure your growing containers have holes in the bottom to allow water to escape.

Here's a quick way to test if water drains properly: if water takes several minutes to drain after drenching the soil or if the soil takes more than 3-4 days to dry out, you probably have a drainage issue.


Fertilizing and watering hemp plants are two crucial parts of cultivation that need care and attention. Hemp needs proper water and nutrients to achieve optimal growth throughout the life cycle. By properly feeding and watering your plants and following these dos and don'ts, you can prevent nutrient deficiencies, diseases, and other problems that can lower yields. With proper watering and fertilizing practices, you will create an environment that supports thriving hemp plants.

At DripWorks, we offer high-quality cannabis fertilizers and drip irrigation components specifically made for cannabis cultivation. Click here to get irrigation components, amendments, and smart containers for cannabis cultivation.