There are a range of nutrients available on the market, that are tailored for all growing methods – whether that be hydroponically, in soil or in coco coir. These nutrients come in one-part, two-part and three-part and the choice very much depends on the amount of control a grower wants over their growing.
Vegetative and generative are the two different stages of plant development and depending on the type of crop you are growing depends on whether you plant will pass through both stages or just one. The term vegetative is the stage your plant goes through when it is growing from a seedling into a mature plant and also encompasses all leafy crops, for example, lettuce, that do not produce flowers or fruit. Whilst generative refers to the ‘bloom’ stage of the plant’s life cycle, in which the plant flowers and reproduces seeds and fruit.
Most nutrient manufacturers have developed separate formulations to help the plant at different stages of it's development – ‘grow’ and ‘bloom’. The ‘grow’ nutrient is to be used for plants in vegetative growth, as it contains an increased level of Nitrogen, which the plant needs at this stage of development. This type of nutrient can also be used for plants which do not flower or produce blooms or fruit.
The ‘bloom’ nutrient is specially designed for the generative stage of the plant’s cycle. This is because it has an increased level of Phosphorous, which is needed by the plant at the flowering and fruiting stage as it helps with flower and seed development.
Some nutrients are also supplied in hard and soft water varieties. In the UK, most of the water is termed as being ‘hard’, and as such, contains high levels of bicarbonates and calcium and magnesium. In addition to this, by using hard water there can be issues with pH, as the pH level can rise and this can lead to some nutrients becoming unavailable to the plant. In these circumstances, it is best to use a hard water nutrient mix, as this has less of certain minerals that are already in the hard water and therefore, compensates for this.