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How Stinging Nettles Can Benefit Cannabis Plants

Stinging nettles and cannabis

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Many gardeners consider nettle, also known as Urtica dioica, an unwanted nuisance plant. Because of its incredibly prolific growth may quickly take over a patch of land if neglected for even a short period. Nettles are rarely mentioned in the context of cannabis cultivation owing to their stinging qualities. It contains a defense mechanism in which the trichomes pump histamine into the skin upon contact, leading to an unpleasant sting for anyone who comes into contact with them. Despite its shortcomings, nettle is a beneficial herb that may be a helpful ally for gardeners, particularly those who produce cannabis.

Understanding stinging nettles for cannabis plants

Nettles are a kind of plant classified as a ‘dynamic accumulator,’ along with yarrow, borage, fava beans, comfrey, dandelion, miner’s lettuce, and cherries. This plant group easily absorbs nutrients and minerals from the soil and stores them in highly accessible forms and concentrations in its leaves. As a result, nettles make a great nutrient-dense addition to botanical teas, home fertilizers, mulch, or compost for use with cannabis and other dynamic accumulators. According to research, fresh nettle leaves contain high concentrations of vitamins A, C, D, E, F, K, P, and Vitamin B complex, as well as many levels of minerals like calcium, selenium, zinc, iron, and magnesium.

These green, leafy nettles are also rich in nitrogen, chlorophyll, and plant polyphenols, which promote plant health and growth. Plant polyphenols, in particular, are potent antioxidants that have been shown to combat cancer and boost the immune system. While plants cannot develop arthritis or cancer in the same way humans do, they have an immune system and can become ill. As a result, the same substances that make nettles so helpful to humans also give plants many of the same advantages. Because of the antibacterial and antifungal qualities of nettles, plants fed with nettle fertilizer are less vulnerable to some illnesses. Pests and other stress factors, like drought, heat, or other unfavorable circumstances, impact plants with a robust immune system.

Benefits of stinging nettles on your cannabis plants

If you cultivate cannabis outside regularly, you’ve undoubtedly spent a lot of time trying to eliminate every nettle. Nobody wants to spend their gardening time evading trichomes. However, nettles have a place in a cannabis garden. For one thing, they play a vital ecological function by providing food for butterflies. Nettles also serve as a habitat for aphids so that they can entice these voracious insects away from your cannabis plants. Ladybugs may also be found monitoring nettle plants, indicating that aphids won’t be a problem for long. Experts highly recommend nettles. Harnessing them does not imply allowing them to go wild throughout your producing area. However, if you use nettles wisely, you will notice an improvement in the health of your garden and the state of your plants.

Pest management

Pests are deterred by stinging nettle in two ways. The first and more passive strategy uses nettle as a sacrifice or trap plant. This common plant can assist in deflecting insect traffic away from your precious crops. Aphids have a taste for cannabis and can cause significant damage if left to their own devices. However, these sap-sucking insects enjoy nettle. Allowing these plants to colonize certain areas of your garden provides pests with a bigger and more diversified vegetative feast, minimizing the probability of simply targeting your cannabis species. Second, nettle is a natural pesticide and fungicide effective against common pests and diseases like mites, powdery mildew, and aphids.

Terpenes production

Another significant advantage of utilizing nettles as cannabis companion plants is their potential to increase resin production and terpenes such as limonene in cannabis plants. When the moment is right, male nettle plants will release their pollen, which has been shown to improve the quality of neighboring consumables such as fruits and vegetables. Cultivators can also use this strategy in cannabis production. Nettle pollen has been shown to boost the synthesis of terpenes inside the trichomes of cannabis crops, resulting in a much richer and more resinous cannabis plant. As a result, far more appealing and high-quality cannabis buds are produced.

Natural fertilizer

Nettles, being plants, contain a variety of essential plant nutrients. All those nutrients are locked up inside their tissues when they’re alive and well. However, converting live nettles into a nutrient-rich fertilizer that can enhance the health and productivity of your cannabis plants is a straightforward process. Nettle is rich in nitrogen, iron, and potassium. Growers can use a fast-acting foliar spray to maintain proper nutrition levels and correct deficits when they arise.

Camouflage

Growing cannabis outside has several obstacles, including hiding your plants from nosy neighbors and would-be burglars. While several techniques conceal your plants, nettles are among the most efficient (if you live in a suitable climate). Nettles are ubiquitous in European gardens, yet they hardly draw attention. They reach over a meter in height throughout the mid and late season, making them ideal for concealing sneaky autoflowers. You may enlist nettles to cover your cannabis plants by forming a perimeter around them, leaving enough space in the center for optimal light penetration. The uninviting sting of the nettle barrier serves as a further deterrent to curious guests.

Ways of utilizing stinging nettles on cannabis plants

Companion planting

Companion planting, often known as allelopathy, is cultivating other beneficial plant species near your cannabis plants. Allelopathic plants are frequently chosen for their potential to attract beneficial insects while repelling detrimental insects, so boosting the biodiversity of a garden or small farm. Nettle is a multifaceted allelopathic plant that plays a significant function in cannabis growth. This unusual plant attracts helpful insects, safeguarding your plants from ravenous intruders and unwelcome looters.

Marijuana plant zoom
Nettles make perfect companion plants for outdoor marijuana grows.

Ladybirds are drawn to the nourishing leaves of the nettle plant. When they are not sipping nettle nectar, these gorgeous and valuable animals will search your garden for another tempting morsel: aphids, one of the most prevalent cannabis pests. Aphids are colorful soft-bodied insects. These tiny animals penetrate the leaves of cannabis plants with their sharp mandibles and then drain the plant’s interior liquids. Planting nettles close nearly always results in the recruitment of a security ladybird squad.

Nettle fertilizer tea

The most common application of stinging nettle is fertilizer tea. Instead of seeing nettles as a nuisance, consider them free fertilizer that can help you lessen your reliance on bottled items. Before you slice them and toss them in the compost, try the nettle tea recipe below to nourish your plants and keep pests away.

What is required:

  • Some stinging nettles (enough to loosely fill a 20l bucket).
  • Heavy-duty gloves.
  • Pruning scissors.
  • Chlorine-free water (preferably rainwater).
  • A 20-liter bucket with a lid.
  • Stirring stick.
  • A straining bag.

Steps

  1. Harvest a clump of nettles using your gloves and scissors. You should cut each nettle into 10-15cm parts.
  2.  Fill the bucket halfway with chopped nettles and top it with water to about 5cm below the brim.
  3. Put the bucket’s cover loosely on top to let air flow in and out.
  4. Stir the bucket contents once a day for two weeks.
  5. Anaerobic fermentation will break down the nettles and release essential nutrients into the solution after two weeks.
  6. Pour the solution via a strainer into a clean bucket.
  7. Mix 1 part nettle tea to 20 parts water or 1 part tea to 10 parts water for your soil drench before using as a foliar spray. Also, keep the bucket in a cold, dark area. It will last for the following six months.

How to cultivate and take care of stinging nettles in your cannabis growth

Stinging nettle is a low-maintenance companion plant that doesn’t require much of your time or care to develop. In reality, it grows quickly and fiercely. Prepare ahead, so you don’t miss the best moment to plant your stinging nettle cannabis companions. This will allow you to grow both your cannabis and their fellow-nettle companions simultaneously, ensuring optimum outcomes. You may either plant nettle seeds inside and then transplant them outside, or you can toss the seeds into your garden. If you intend to start growing your nettle plants inside, keep in mind that the germination phase will last around 14 days. All you need to do is keep the growth medium wet, and you’ll be fine.

If you plan to plant your stinging nettles outside, arrange the seeds in rows about an inch apart. Keep the soil wet so the nettles may develop quickly and firmly. Other cannabis-friendly companion plants include beans, maize, yarrow, basil, clover, chamomile, sunflowers, and many more. However, recall that not all companion plants will offer their utmost when surrounded by too many other partners. Consider basil, chamomile, and stinging nettle. You should avoid growing either chamomile or stinging nettle in this combination. Both of these will produce valuable oils to boost resin production, but when used together, the effect on your cannabis plants may be more robust than necessary.

The stinging nettle is a beneficial plant that you should retain as a close companion for your cannabis, but keep in mind that it grows quickly and all over the place, so keep an eye on it.

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Janice Bernstein
Janice Bernstein
Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. As she developed her knowledge further, Janice began to look more at how we feed cannabis plants in general, using standard nutrient feeding as a base and adding techniques from other botanical fields to create more contemporary feeding schedules. In more recent years, Janice has increasingly expanded her horizons, both literally and figuratively, observing and analyzing the goings-on in her ever-growing outdoor garden and begun to offer more insights into growing cannabis outdoors in general.
Janice Bernstein
Janice Bernstein
Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. As she developed her knowledge further, Janice began to look more at how we feed cannabis plants in general, using standard nutrient feeding as a base and adding techniques from other botanical fields to create more contemporary feeding schedules. In more recent years, Janice has increasingly expanded her horizons, both literally and figuratively, observing and analyzing the goings-on in her ever-growing outdoor garden and begun to offer more insights into growing cannabis outdoors in general.

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