Understanding product date codes
Q: How does a rooting gel compare to rooting powder, which is better?
A: Gels are typically easier to work with as they are less messy, cling to cuttings better, and fully encase a cutting’s wound site, thus keeping the wound extra clean from pathogens.
Q: What growing medium is best for rooting my cuttings?
A: We recommend rooting in Botanicare’s CocoGro Cloning Plugs or ReadyGro Super Plugs.
Q: Will it harm any beneficial bacteria?
A: Rhizo Gel’s antiseptic qualities are designed to eliminate all bacteria at the cuttings’ wound sites. Other products, such as Botanicare’s Hydroguard™ and Zho® can be added at later stages in the plant roots’ development to add beneficial bacteria.
Q: Can Rhizo Gel be used in a clone machine?
A: Though we carry several types of cloning systems and solutions, Rhizo Gel can be effectively used in any form of cloner.
Q: What is the ideal grow room temperature?
A: Most plants do well between 65˚F - 80˚F (18˚C - 26˚C) for light and dark cycles. Having a lower temperature during the plant’s dark cycle is common. When temperatures are higher than the recommended range, you may experience more pest problems, reduced dissolved oxygen in the nutrient solution, and increased plant transpiration which can increase humidity and irrigation demand. Cooler than recommended temperatures may slow growth.
Q: What is the ideal nutrient water temperature? Should it be cooler than the grow room?
A: The ideal water temperature in hydroponics is from 68°F - 75°F (20°C - 24°C). There is less dissolved oxygen available in water at higher temperatures.
Q: How often should I change my reservoir water?
A: We recommend changing your reservoir water completely every 10 - 14 days. Even though you can top off your reservoir with water to make up for water lost by evaporation and plant transpiration, you can’t accurately measure the nutrients left in the water after plants have taken up some of the nutrients. (For instance, plants may need / deplete more nitrogen during some growing stages.) The only way to ensure optimal growing success is to know the exact ration of NPKs you’re feeding by starting fresh with a new batch of nutrient solution.
Q: Are your products organic?
A: We have many certified/listed organic products and use many organically derived ingredients in our formulations. Organic certified compounds are naturally occurring compounds like bat guano or alfalfa meal, rather than mineral compounds that are mined or synthesized. While not all of our products are CDFA, OMRI, NOP certified organic we strive to use natural and organic inputs whenever possible.
Q: Which nutrients or supplements should I use to increase flower size?
A: Our bloom booster, Hydroplex, contains high levels of phosphorus and potassium which are beneficial for flower initiation and structure. Phosphorus will increase the number of flowers and potassium will increase the weight of flowers.
Q: I’m having a problem with scum in my reservoir, what do I do?
A: We recommend covering your nutrient solution reservoir to decrease light and therefore decrease the likelihood of unwanted algae, bacteria or fungal growth. These organisms need nutrients, light, and water to multiply and thrive. Keeping your room and water cool will slow the potential growth of these organisms. Clean your reservoirs between crops and plant stages of growth. You can use bleach or hydrogen peroxide to clean them, but rinse well to remove all cleaning product residue before refilling with nutrient solution.
Q: Which Botanicare nutrient system would be best for me to use?
A: We’ve created 4 different base nutrients for different uses and purposes. CNS17 is the simplest mineral base with all of the necessary macro and micro nutrients included in one bottle. Pure Blend Pro is our natural and organic one-part nutrient that contains natural and organic based ingredients. KIND is a three-part mineral based nutrient which requires no Calcium/Magnesium supplementation and allows the grower the most flexibility in application. Growilla is a dry organic nutrient formulation (OMRI listed/CDFA) which delivers excellent results outdoors in soil and in large containers.
Q: Should I use all the supplements you manufacture?
A: The short answer is, no. We make a wide variety of supplements that can be used for different purposes. Some products like Pure Blend Tea and Liquid Karma are fairly similar, but they were developed for different reasons. We recommend Pure Blend Tea be used with KIND to add flavors and aromas, and Liquid Karma be used with Pure Blend Pro base nutrients to add additional bio-stimulants. Check our website or product pages and information sheets for clarification--our website has some excellent Pre-Developed Recipes to guide you.
Q: Which grow medium do you recommend?
A: We were one of the first companies to recommend coco coir for growers, and we do think it delivers excellent results. We have 3 premium coir based formulas to choose from - Cocogro, Readygro Aeration and Readygro Moisture. Cocogro can be blended with your favorite amendments or you can chose our Readygro Aeration or Moisture depending on your irrigation needs.
Q: Are your plastics food-safe?
A: Our trays and reservoirs are made of BPA-free plastic, but they are not rated for food storage. Plastic pots are used to grow all kinds of food and are rarely food grade because the plant roots are not eaten. Food grade plastics are used to store, prepare, or serve food. Our trays are made from extra thick, high-impact, BPA-free ABS plastic and have a smooth finish for easy cleaning.
Q: How and when do I check my pH and PPM levels?
A: You should check the pH and PPMs of your nutrient solution after mixing the nutrient solution and periodically throughout the usage of the solution (if using a recirculating system). You should use a pH meter, colorimetric pH solution, or indicator strips to test the nutrient solution or the runoff from the plants. You can use a PPM or EC meter to test the concentration of the nutrient solution.
Q: When should I adjust my pH levels and what should pH level be?
A: Check and adjust pH after you have mixed your nutrient solution and periodically during the usage of the nutrient solution if using a recirculating system and the pH becomes out of range. We recommend a pH level between 5.5 - 6.5 for maximum nutrient availability.
Q: Do you have a nutrient or supplement that is pH stable so that when I adjust my pH, it won’t change?
A: The pH of the nutrient solution will vary depending on the source water, the nutrient concentration, and the uptake of nutrients by the plant if using a recirculating system. You should always check your pH and adjust it to ensure best availability of nutrients to the plant.
Q: What is the difference between PPM, EC and TDS?
A: TDS stands for total dissolved solids, PPM stands for parts per million, and EC stands for electrical conductivity; which are acronyms used to quantify the concentration of nutrients as positive or negatively charged salts in the solution or growing substrate. Meters measure the electrical conductivity (EC) of the salts and can convert to PPMs or TDS.
Q: What conversion factor does Botanicare use for nutrient calculations to convert EC to PPMs?
A: Botanicare uses the 700 ppm to 1.0 EC factor. This is standard for most EC or ppm meters as well, but check the specifications of your meter to be sure.
Q: What should my PPMs or ECs be at each stage of growth?
A: The concentration of nutrients that plants require depends on their stage of growth, i.e. smaller plants need less food. See our nutrient calculator, or more information in our Hydro 101 section.
Q: When should I add nutrients?
A: You should add nutrients as soon as the first true leaves emerge if growing from seed or when the plant has developed roots if growing from cuttings. You can find detailed information on our website using the nutrient calculator, feed sheets, or on the back of the bottle of our base nutrient formulations.
Q: Should I top off with straight water or water with nutrients added?
A: If you are growing in a system that re-uses nutrient solution, like with the ebb and flow method, you should top off with straight water if the reservoir level is lowered by evaporation or plant uptake. Remember that you will have no way of knowing how much of each nutrient (like nitrogen) has actually been used by the plants (and is therefore depleted in the reservoir water.) We recommend completely changing out and replacing all the nutrient solution every 10 - 14 days so you know the exact ratios you are feeding the plants.
Q: Do I need to use humic or fulvic acid with Liquid Karma or Pure Blend Pro?
A: No, both of these products contain these naturally occurring organic acids.
Q: Can I use hydrogen peroxide with your nutrients and supplements?
A: We do not recommend using hydrogen peroxide in application to plants as this may kill off beneficial microorganisms that live in the substrate surrounding root zone of the plant. Hydrogen peroxide is an environmentally friendly product for cleaning and sterilization, but is not recommended in nutrient solution mixtures.
Q: What is the difference between Pure Blend Tea and Pure Blend Pro?
A: Pure Blend Tea is an organically derived compost tea supplement which can be used with many base nutrient systems to increase flavors, aromas and terpene production. Pure Blend Pro is a premium, complete, one-part base nutrient system that contains the same natural and organic compounds which add flavors and aromas found in Pure Blend Tea. It is not necessary to use Pure Blend Tea if using the Pure Blend Pro nutrient line.