Most gardeners are familiar with the term N-P-K, which are abbreviations for the three primary, or macro, nutritional elements that plants need to grow. Nitrogen (N), is the element that is mostly responsible for stem and leaf, or vegetative growth; phosphorus (P) is required for seed germination, photosynthesis, and is essential for flower formation; while Potassium (K) controls the plant's water balance, improves stem rigidity and cold hardiness, enhances flavor and color on your crop, increases the oil content of buds and is critical for potentecy. Most commercially prepared fertilizers are comprised of a percentage of these nutrients, by example a 10-10-10 all-purpose plant food contains 10 percent nitrogen, 10 percent phosphorus, and 10 percent potassium, by weight, with the remaining 70 percent usually composed of an inert filler material.
But science has proven that plants need more than just N, P, and K to lead healthy, productive lives. Other macro-nutrients plants require are sulfur, magnesium, and calcium. Sulfur is important because it is responsible for imparting the true flavors of your herb. Magnesium is vital for flower formation and is essential for the germination of seeds, as well.
Calcium is a structural component of plant cell walls, controls the water movement in cells and is necessary for cell growth and division. Some plants must have calcium to utilize nitrogen and certain other minerals at all.
But wait, there's more to plant nutrition than just the macronutrients. They also need micro-nutrients, also known as trace elements. These nutrients are just as necessary to healthy plant (and human) growth, only in much smaller amounts. Iron, manganese, boron, zinc, copper, molybdenum, chlorine, nickel, sodium, cobalt, and silicon all are vital building blocks for proper plant development and maturation. Unfortunately, most commercially prepared fertilizers do not contain any of these micro-nutrients, many of which are necessary for a plant to fully utilize the primary nutrients!
Without a full complement of these vital plant nutrients, plant growth and development slows or even stops completely. Only by providing every element a plant needs to grow in the proper proportions, will you truly experience the full flavor, and the overpowering fragrance of your Bud, and the true essence and aromatics of culinary kitchen edibles.