Hemp Fertilizer: Does It Really Matter?

Connor Skelly

In our latest Hemp Cultivation Landscape report, we explore what matters most to cultivators and manufacturers including clones, seeds, and fertilizer. Cloned material is largely preferred over seeds to ensure that only female plants are produced to avoid “hot” crops. Seeds have a 50% chance of being male; harvest from male plants will have to be destroyed as it will be too high in THC (>0.3%). Of those growers that do use seeds over clones, they are sourcing them from a few select states across the country. The use of fertilizer and added nutrients varies widely across cultivators.

There seems to be three schools of thought regarding hemp cultivation and fertilizer use:

  • Fertilizer is unnecessary.  These farmers believe that one of the benefits of growing hemp is that it requires no additional fertilizers or feeds.
  • Little additional nutrients are needed, so budget should be small.  These farmers used less expensive options for nutrients such as rabbit pellets, bat droppings, digestate from local power plants, etc.
  • Hemp requires additional nutrients.  Of those that do use fertilizer, they say hemp requires nutrients similar to those of corn.  These growers are using fertilizer throughout the grow cycle, adding nutrients and beneficial bacteria.

There are several steps in the growing process when farmers may apply fertilizer.  Most farmers that use fertilizer apply nutrients to the soil prior to or immediately following planting.