Silicon is rightfully considered a versatile addition to hemp plants’ diet; it stimulates growth, improves nutrient uptake, protects hemp plants against heavy metal poisoning, strengthens cells, increases resistance to disease and vermin, and – yes indeed! – silicon also boosts yields! Here’s how it works:
Reading the intro, you might think silicon is a magic potion for hemp plants. Although that is overstating it somewhat, there is no word of a lie to the above intro. Silicon is the second most commonly found element in the earth’s crust, and it is, therefore, only logical that it benefits plants. It is found in plants in large quantities, and when plants are unable to absorb it, they become considerably weaker than plants that do get their shot of silicon.
The silicon absorbed by a plant is permanently stored in cell walls within 24 hours. This creates a structure of silicon cellulose that is stronger and can be formed extremely quickly, much quicker than cellulose on its own. Plants are consequently able to grow much faster. It is similar to how cement works between bricks, strengthening the cells and accelerating cell growth.
Given that silicon is a non-movable element, it is key that you keep topping up silicon levels throughout the cycle so that new plants can also take advantage of it.
Adding silicon to your plant feed will improve overall nutrient uptake. It increases the amount of zinc that plants absorb and raises nitrogen availability in the soil. Nitrogen is normally always lost in the soil, but silicon inhibits this natural process. Other than that, it balances the uptake of phosphorus, preventing excessive levels when you use products such as a PK booster during the flowering season.
Heavy metals such as aluminium, manganese, and iron are essential for good plant growth. But when plants take up too much of it, this may lead to heavy metal poisoning. Silicon competes with these heavy metals in being absorbed by plants, thus preventing toxic levels of heavy metals from building up.
When there is a shortage of silicon in the medium, hemp may take up excessive volumes of the aforementioned heavy metals. This leads to problems that reduce production and, therefore, your harvest. When this happens, lack of silicon is not the first thing that springs to mind as a possible cause, so there is a slim chance of an accurate diagnosis (and solution).
One of the most visible results is that it strengthens stems and branches, making them thicker. And the thicker the stems, the faster the ascent of sap and the fatter the heads. In short: hemp plants grow faster and fatter. And when they start to flower and the heads become fat and heavy, silicon will make sure that the branches can carry all that weight.
If you, like us, are not a fan of herbicides and weed killers, this miracle element has another trick up its sleeve. It protects hemp plants against vermin and plant disease in two ways. Silicon hardens and strengthens plant cells, making it much harder for biological pathogens to penetrate these cells.
But also when a plant is already under attack from a pathogen, such as mildew, silicon helps. All the silicon that the plant absorbs when that happens, goes to the exact place where the plant is being attacked. In that specific place, the silicon stimulates the production of substances that fight off the mould and prevent further harm.
And finally, the harder leaf and branch cells make that sap-consuming insects such as red spiders, thrips, and lice lose interest in your hemp plants. They will simply struggle to pierce through the plant’s leaves and branches.
And then for the most attractive benefit of all: silicon will give you more hemp to harvest! Plants that are administered silicon have darker leaves with more chlorophyll, which makes them better at converting light into growth. It simply makes the photosynthesis more efficient, which triggers a snowball effect of more and stronger stems, larger leaves, and fatter heads!
For growers using a hydroponic growing system in particular, using silicon as an additive is an ideal solution, because mineral plant feed barely contains any silicon, if any at all. This is because silicon needs a pH value of over 7 to retain its easy solubility. Manufacturers cannot put it into their feed because it would then react with the other elements. This means you are going to have to administer it separately from your basic feed, which you can do using additives such as Mills Vitalize.
Those who grow hemp in soil should add Mills Vitabrix granules to reap the many benefits of silicon.