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Flushing is an important part of your plants life cycle. Why? Think of all the mineral nutrients you are feeding your crop with throughout the duration of their life. These nutrients are stored in the plants roots, so when your plant starts to bloom the nutrient salts are then transferred into the fruits and flowers.
This can mean that the salts present may ultimately effect the overall taste and smell of your bloom. You can imagine the plants fruits, oils and aroma are not going to be at their best when there are high levels of NPK in the plant (what is NPK?)
This is where flushing comes in - think of it like a deep cleanse for the root zone.
When To Flush
It's seen as somewhat of a necessity to flush at the end of your plants life cycle (usually 4-10 days before you start harvesting), but should you also flush during?
Personally speaking, flushing actually saved my crop recently. I had mixed my nutrients and PH'd the water before I began watering and found that the PH was way
low, so started adding PH up. It took A LOT of PH up to get the water to optimum PH and it wasn't till the next day when I was calibrating my PH pen that I discovered it was broken - so all the PH up added was totally unnecessary and potentially harmful to the crop. Yeah, I probably should have realized that the abnormal level of PH up I was adding wasn't healthy.. But it was a long day and my brain had switched off hours before I started the feed.The leaves were starting to look really sad and some leaves were definitely burnt. I flushed the crop and all is well now, thankfully. If you see your leaves are wilting or suffering from nutrient burn (leaves are yellowish and look almost burnt at the edges or tip) you should probably consider a flush to minimize the stress caused to the plant and bring a bit of much needed balance back.
How To Flush
There are a lot of good flushing solutions available , like Flawless Finish by Advanced Nutrients
Sometimes plants miss out on vital nutrients when you flush only using water, so adding a solution like Flawless Finish eliminates this and helps keep your crop happy.
You will need to wait until your plants are ready before flushing, meaning they need to be somewhat dry and ready for a feed. Once they are ready, you can flush with around half of the size of the pot, for example if your plant is in a 5 gallon pot, flush it with 2.5 gallons of water. It's really important that you follow the directions on the the nutrient mix that you are using. You could potentially cause more harm than good if the instructions and measurements are not followed exactly. It's also important to remember to PH your water (5.7-6.2 grow media dependent).
Essentially - yes. We've obviously taken it down to bare bones here and simplified flushing as best as we could. For a more detailed and science-y explanation have a look here.
As with mainly everything in hydroponics, flushing takes precise measurement and a lot of care and attention. If you think your plants are in need of a flush, or want us to
talk you through it face to face, come in and see us here at your local hydroponics store in Culver City. We are happy to help and give advice about flushing and anything else about hydroponic supplies that you would like to know.