Potassium is all over the Cannabis plants as it is required for all transporting like opening and shutting down of leaves’ stomata. It controls numerous processes, and one of them is the carbohydrate metabolism.
It can also help to determine the plant’s strength and quality.
History Associating Potassium
A long time ago, the Romans and the ancient people, Etruscans, burned the vegetation that they managed. They did it to enrich their soil. It became a widespread practice worldwide in succeeding centuries. But this process takes its toll by the occurrence of devastating soil erosion in different areas.
So using wood ashes mixed with cattle manure started in the country of Netherlands around the 1930s up to these days.
Potassium or K is a kind of metal that is soft and silver-white. Its pure form has an incompatible reaction with water and air. These nutrients, together with sodium and magnesium, were washed away to the sea three millennia ago. Lands were eroded, and they drifted to the large sea.
The salt is crystallized as seawater from enormous sea basins, and it evaporated. That’s how Alsace, located in the southwest of Germany, was formed. The salt used in the kitchen was reclaimed from salt deposits deep within the mines. The potassium salt surplus was discarded in the Rhine.
The Cycle of Potassium
Potassium arrives at the sea and the oceans by rain, rivers, aquifers, etc. You may think that it was gone for good, but it returns by evaporating into the sky. It becomes water vapor, and it condensates to go back to Earth in the form of rain.
Another way of potassium’s self-regeneration is through animal droppings that occur inland. Micro life processes it.
The unused, remaining amount will be swept away by rain and passed aquifers. It will be carried to the sea and ocean then it will be on the soil again to close the cycle.
The region with constant rainfall, the substrate doesn’t retain this element well. So the amount won’t be sufficient for plants. The water’s touch easily takes this nutrient.
Inorganic fertilizers have come to exist so that growers can avail of a whole range of minerals, including potassium salt.
The Physiological Purpose of Potassium
The concentration of potassium found in plants is between 1 to 3 percent, so it is recognized as a macronutrient. It is one of the three main nutrients needed by the Cannabis plant. It is just second in importance to nitrogen. It has numerous physiological functions.
It works as a metabolic regulator to maintain the plant’s water budget. It is an immensely important nutrient, but only the main functions will be discussed here.
Relationship of Potassium and Water
The water travels through the roots after drawn through osmosis and go straight to the leaves by capillary action. This process is invoked as leaves lose water.
Water loss happens because of stomata, which are like the pores of the leaves. They are open during the day to fulfill their duty to acquire carbon dioxide for photosynthesis.
To determine whether the stomata’s aperture is open or closed, potassium should be supplied to the stomata’s guard cells. Once potassium is pumped up into those cells, the water moves to open the aperture.
Then, the plant can gain carbon dioxide that is needed for photosynthesis. But another thing happens when it’s dark, and the water is limited for the plants.
Although potassium is pumped into the guard cells of stomata, water will just move out while the aperture just closes. Getting carbon dioxide for the ongoing photosynthesis will be completed in just a matter of minutes.
But once potassium is deficient, it could take hours. It simply shows that this nutrient is essential in ion to water conservation as well as drought resistance. It can stress the plants when water is limited, and there’s a slow or incomplete stomata response.
Potassium Together with Enzyme Activation and Energy Generation
One of the potassium’s responsibilities is activating the enzymes in numbers of metabolic processes such as starch or protein synthesis and energy generation. It also has a role in modulating the intracellular environment.
This role is carried through buffering pH, maintaining ionic tone, and boosting favorable electrochemical conditions. They all occur at the reaction sites.
It is known to have the ability to activate more than 60 different kinds of enzymes. It can bind them to specific sites on the catalyst’s surface.
In that situation, potassium allows the enzymes to change their form and let them start with their activities. Since enzymes are sensitive in alterations of salinity, potassium neutralizes basic metabolic byproducts while maintaining the systolic tone.
This nutrient has a critical role in generating energy within the plant’s cells. It maintains the electrical balance of energy-carrying molecules at the production sites.
If your plants are affected with potassium deficiencies, they will show a slow rate of energy generation. It will affect protein synthesis, productivity, and material transportation mechanisms.
It is deemed as a second essential nutrient after nitrogen due to its nutritional importance. It is a non-constitutive ion that can wander around the plant tissue.
Many experts agreed that 80% or more of potassium was obtained during the seed generation. Cannabis cultivation usually focuses on flowering production.
Growers should remember to give their plants potassium in all stages of growth.
The Building Up of Potassium Deficiency in Order
- You’ll notice that the once dark green, healthy-looking leaves that are half glistening turn into dull appearance.
- The branches are no longer that strong as stems become delicate.
- There are grey edges on the young leaves’ tips. They turn necrotic with rust-brown color as they curl up.
- The edge and the veins become yellow. Necrotic flecks come out of the leaf.
- The leaf would develop crinkle or radial twist in the edge, then dying marks are seen on the whole leaf. The leaf is scrunched up further and separates from the plants.
- The plant looks duller and less healthy with a badly curled bloom when it lacks potassium.
- The yield will be noticeably reduced.
If there’s more than enough calcium in plants, it can slow down the absorption of potassium. It also happens when the medium is too acidic, and the pH level is too low.
Nutrient lockout is the common cause of deficiency of any kind of nutrients.
Why Does Potassium Deficiency Happen
- Wrong or too little fertilizer
- Doing the cultivation of marijuana plants on potassium-fixing soil
- The root environment has an excess salt or sodium
Solution for Potassium Deficiency
If the electrical conductivity is high, it can be rinsed with water free from extraneous elements.
Growers can put potassium on their plants by themselves. This nutrient is available in two kinds, which are inorganic and organic.
Inorganic potassium can be easily dissolved in water. The mixture is a blend of 5 to 10 grams of potassium nitrate for 10 liters of water.
Acid soils can be remedied by a bit of sodium bicarbonate or some caustic potash. You can mix 5 ml of either of them to 10 liters of water.
The organic source of potassium can be combined with a watery mixture of manure and wood ash. But be careful and don’t make it too strong as substances with manure.
It usually contains a lot of potassium.
More Tips on How to Fix Potassium Deficiency
It’s crucial to maintain a healthy pH level throughout the whole life cycle. In soil between, it should be 6.0 to 7.0 for normal potassium uptake.
With the hydro system and coco coir, a slightly more acidic pH is recommended, which is from 5.5 to 6.5. There are chances that you need to adjust the pH level.
All you need to do is flush your medium with pH neutral water that has been added with half of the usual nutrient solution.
Overwatering can also be the cause of this deficiency. Proper watering routine is another way to keep your Cannabis plants healthy.
The quality of future harvest will be based on the frequency and method of watering. Don’t leave this out.
Before using the nutrients, read the label so you would know how different nutrients react with each other. Excessive amounts of some supplements may cause the lockout of some nutrients.
Nitrogen and calcium can disable the absorption of potassium if they’re too much of them. Make sure you know what you’re doing before giving them to your plants.
A supplement consists of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus is also good. Add this after you flush your plants. It’s best to give your plants time to recover and wait for new leaves. Be attentive to how they grow.
Marijuana plants become weak and prone to diseases when they have potassium deficiencies. You must see the changes in your plants caused by this deficiency and provide a solution in time.
Potassium is essential for terpene, so if the plants don’t have it, your buds will lack smell and flavor. This deficiency could be degrading during the flowering stage.
Excess Potassium on Cannabis Plants
When there’s an excess of potassium, it can block the absorption of other elements such as zinc, iron, calcium, and magnesium.
You should flush the plant water that is three folds more than its pot can accommodate. Any component can be added to get rid of salt and leach the substrate. Then you can water your plant with a light, complete, and balanced nutrient solution.