What Does a Plant Need in the Growth Phase?
Growing outdoors for beginners. Plants have different requirements in every new phase of their lives. As they get taller, they can also use a little of support and they will want to grow into all kinds of shapes you don’t want. So that means, feeding, supporting and pruning.
Nutrients to Grow On
There are two big elements that are true building block for your plants: nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P). Both of these are present in higher doses in Dutch Pro Soil or Hydro/Cocos Grow base nutrients for the growth phase.
- Nitrogen (N) is essential for the formation of green parts and plant based proteins. It also plays a big role in the formation of chlorophyll, which a plant needs to get energy from sunlight. Plants take up nitrogen in the form of nitrate, ammonium and amino acids in the soil, but you can help them along with good nutrient products.
- Phosphorus (P) stimulates root formation and forms an important component of the plants’ genetic material. It will ensure the good formation of new root branches. In nature, plants gain this element from phosphates in the soil.
- Potassium (K) is not a building block in and of itself, but it is essential for moisture uptake and the transportation of moisture and other elements throughout the plant. In the end, it is a major influence on the taste, smell and even color of your harvest.
A prefertilized soil contains these building blocks in good doses that will last for a period of a few weeks, then a basic nutrient such as Dutch Pro Soil or Dutch Pro Hydro/Cocos A+B has an NPK ratio of 4-2-6, which means there’s four percent nitrogen, two percent phosphorus and six percent of potassium in it. That means your plant will have enough of these important elements to sustain fast growth.
Many fruit bearing plants will start to bend as they get taller and heavier. You can help them by putting a stick in the ground next to them and fixing the plant to the stick with stretchable string. You can also use zip ties, but be careful not to tighten them too much. If the ties are too tight, the thickening plant stem will grow around the ties and might get a wound in that spot.
There are some pruning techniques that control the growth direction of your plant and help it to focus.
- Removing shoots. You don’t want your plant to create too many little branches. This would only result in a big bush of a plant without fruit or vegetables. Your plant has to focus on the big branches. During the growth phase, small new shoots will appear at the points where the big branch grows from the stem. Remove these with your fingers. If you do this regularly, the shoots won’t leave large wounds and the chance of infection will stay low.
- Topping. This means you’ll cut off the top of the plant above the last branch point. The plant will replace the lost top with new smaller tops that will grow to the same size as the first top. The result is a bigger harvest later on.