The Dude Grows Show

The Captain’s Nutrient Recipe

I’ve used at least 6 different brands of nutrients in the last few years.  All other things equal, I can’t even tell you one nutrient line that works better than another.  Initially, every time I changed nutrients, my grows looked nicer, but that was simply because I was becoming a better grower.

Purple Dream in 5th week of flower, grown with Rock Nutrients.

By running a “perpetual” grow, I have the luxury of trying different nutrients and different growing techniques.  I’ve run General Hydroponics nutrients off and on, and it works just as well as any other.  Gen Hydro nutrients are available just about anywhere, and it is known as the “go to” nutrient for beginners and experts alike.  I often see dudes at the grow store coming in and buying them by the 5 gallon container, so they must be good, right?

If you are new to growing, you’ll find out quickly; there are a plethora of “magic snake oils” out there.  There is always some new additive that claims “Explosive roots”, “Explosive growth”.  In fact, if I see the word “explosive” on the bottle, I won’t buy it.  Don’t be fooled!  There is no need to buy that $60 bottle of bloom booster, in hopes of getting a “massive yield”.

There are a few things you’ll need to pay attention to, when selecting your nutrients.

  1. Base Nutrients:  Every brand of nutrients has a “base”.  This is usually a 3 part (Grow micro bloom), or 2 part (A+B) type.  Don’t mix Part A of one brand, with Part B of another brand.
  2. Additives:  These are the extras that can give your grow an added edge.  However many of the additives are over priced or not necessary.  Over the last few years, I’ve found a few additives that I find necessary, and I would not go without.  It is USUALLY ok to mix additives from one brand, with another brand’s base.  More on this below.
  3. Synthetic or Organic:  This topic could be an entire article.  For recirculating hydroponics like Rockwool or DWC, use synthetic nutrients.  Organic nutrients in a hydroponic system can get a little FUNKY.  Synthetic nutrients are formulated so the plant can take up the nutrients RIGHT NOW, where as organic nutrients can take longer to benefit the plant.  Organic grows are known to produce slightly better tasting product, and are also known to take a little longer to flower.  For the scope of this article, we will be talking about General hydroponics’ synthetic nutrients.

Important Note about EC and PPM:  EC stands for electrical conductivity.  This is the only way we can measure the nutrient concentration, when we mix up our nutrients.  The “EC” is measured by a “EC meter” and in the states, this is converted to “PPM” or “parts per million”.  Most other countries simply use “EC”.  The conversion to PPM is just an estimate, and is further complicated by meters that have different conversion rates (500 or 700).  For example, I use a 700 conversion rate.  So, if the meter reads an “EC” of 1.2, my PPM will read 1.1 x 700 = 770PPM.

The Captain’s Nutrient recipe for General Hydroponics.

When I mix up nutrients, I always start with a 5 gallon bucket of R.O. water.  Do not add nutrients to the bucket, before the water.  It is not necessary to use R.O. water, but there are two problems with Tap water.

1.  Tap water has a starting PPM of 100-300, depending on where you live.  Subtract the starting PPM, from your desired ending PPM.  If your starting PPM is 200, and your goal is 600, then your ppm meter should read 800 when you are finished mixing your nutrients.

2.  Tap water has chlorine and or chloramines in it (depending on your water source).  Add a few drops of aquarium “dechlorinator” before using it.  Chlorine and or chloramines  WILL KILL large fish!  And it kills beneficial bacteria too.

For vegetative growth, or flowering, we add our additives (same for both), first:

1ml/gal Armor Si Silica (strengthens plants)
4ml/gal Cali-Magic  (provides essential minerals and in my experience, builds heavy buds)
3ml/gal Florablend  (for lush green leaves and contains seaweed, which is known as a natural bud hardener)
1ml/gal Floralicious Plus  ()
Note:  I use these additives with MOST other brands of nutrients.

Then our base nutrients, in order:

For Vegetative growth:  (GMB)3-2-1
2ml/gal Flora Micro
1ml/gal Flora Bloom
3ml/gal Flora Grow

For Flowering:  (GMB)1-2-3
2ml/gal Flora Micro
3ml/gal Flora Bloom
1ml/gal Flora Grow

Last 4-5 weeks of flower, add 2ml/gal KoolBloom.

After adding your nutrients, and mixing up the bucket, the PPM should look similar to this:  Perfect!


Then, you can add more water to lower the PPM, or add more of the base nutrients to raise the PPM.  NOTE to stoners:  PPM = Parts per million.  NOT, Parts per millions.  Don’t say, “PPM’s”.

Here is my basic PPM range for the life cycle of the plant.

Seedlings and clones: 300 ppm
Rapid vegetative growth: 500-700ppm
First 4 weeks of flower:  700-900ppm
Weeks 5 to Finish of flower: 800-1100ppm (adding 2ml/gal bloom booster will cause ppm to go up a bit)Last week of flower: ZERO ppm.  Flush media VERY well with ZERO ppm water.

Adjusting PH:  For PH, don’t get OCD about this.  A common mistake is over correcting, adding PH up and down, trying for the perfect PH.  For rockwool or any kind of hydroponics where the media is irrigated daily, I aim for 6.0, but anything between 5.5 and 6.5 is fine.  Plants take up nutrients in this range, and by using Recharge, or other beneficial bacteria, you will allow your plant to take up nutrients at an even wider range.  NOTE to stoners:  “PH” and “Foliar” are not verbs.  It is not possible to “PH” your water or “Foliar” your plants.  You ADJUST the PH of your water, and you FOLIAR FEED your plants.  Anyone caught saying, “I PH’ed my water”, “Check your parts per millions”, or “do you foliar your plants?” will be forced to walk the Captain’s plank.

That’s it, Bilge rats!!  Happy growing, from the Captain’s Ship.  Here’s some pretty desktop wallpaper for ya.  Click for full size.


  1. Digger Avatar

    Right on the money Capitan.

  2. Michigan Avatar

    Couple question. Do you add back anything before your change your res or do you just let you PPM fall off?
    When do you switch to HPS from MH Bulbs?
    Sorry I’m far from a word wizard and not a stoner.
    Great artical as always.

  3. THECAPN Avatar

    >>>Do you add back anything before your change your res or do you just let you PPM fall off?

    Good question. As the plant takes up water, the water is transpired out the leaves, and evaporates into the air. In turn, the nutrient concentration rises in the reservoir. If you top off with plain water, you’ll notice the PPM will be LESS than it was when you started. That’s because a small amount of nutrients ARE used up by the plant. Typically, I top off my reservoirs with 1/4 strength nutrient solution, at least once per week.

    >>>When do you switch to HPS from MH Bulbs?

    In vegetative growth, I only use MH. Then I have an “on deck” (with MH) tent where I start the first week of flower, then it goes in the real flower room for 8 more weeks, under HPS. You can go straight from MH to HPS at flower if you want.

    >>>Sorry I’m far from a word wizard and not a stoner.

    We are all stoners, buddy. Just some of us more stoner-ish than others. Luckily, you don’t have to be an engineer with a English degree to grow weed… unless you want to write about it too 😉

    >>>Great artical as always.

    Article. ha ha ha. Thanks Michigan. I hope it helps you. I always like to read your comments. I still want to see your garden soon.

  4. Special K Avatar
    Special K


    Why not just go off gh charts recommended regime?

    I’ve ran the full gh expert drain to waste line for 5-6 years……. Over time, I’ve added terpinator and hygrozyme to the mix plus sub m, sub b, great white, recharge and big ups by humboldt nutrients.

    If you have found that your rec rates have worked better, was that outcome stain related? I notice some strains need more or less than others

  5. UnderShade Avatar

    Great write up Cap! Was a little surprised that you were tellin’ people what to say, though… I foresee the Dude walkin’ the plank ;P

  6. Tony_Scorpio Avatar

    Another great and informative article. Quality as usual. I too am partial to the Gh nutes as well. I’m in the process of phasing back to the Flora Duo base nutes, along with the same additives that you mentioned. I did much better as far as quality and trichome production, when running that line up. I ran the Flora Duo expert recirc schedule at about 1/2 – 2/3 strength. no issues what’s so ever.
    Looking forward to your next thought provoking read.

  7. THECAPN Avatar

    >>>Why not just go off gh charts recommended regime?

    If the GH chart provided better results than my recipe, I would use it.
    I have been tweaking this recipe for a few years, and it works great for most strains. Yes some you can run a little higher. Remember, drain to waste is much different than recirculating. It takes many many flowering cycles with a new strain to really be able to “tweak” the recipe for it.

  8. THECAPN Avatar

    >>>Was a little surprised that you were tellin’ people what to say, though… I foresee the Dude walkin’ the plank ;P

    Hi Undershade, Yes I know, I like to give people a hard time for talking “stoner”, as I call it. It is all in good fun. I think back to when I first started growing and I heard people say things like “I flipped my plants today”. We, as growers, have made up “Grower Slang”, and it’s frustrating for new growers to know what we are referring to. A new grower, should not have to refer to a “stoner dictionary” in order to understand what they are reading on forums. The majority of my readers are beginner – intermediate growers. So, as an author, I try to use correct terms, and at the same time, I educate new growers and explain these stoner terms they hear.

    And believe me, I catch myself using these terms myself. It’s so much easier to say, “Bennies” instead of “Beneficial Bacteria”!

  9. THECAPN Avatar

    >>>I’m in the process of phasing back to the Flora Duo base nutes, along with the same additives that you mentioned. I did much better as far as quality and trichome production, when running that line up.

    Hey Tony, your feedback is always appreciated. I’ve tried the nova, and didn’t care for it, but never tried the Duo. Maybe I will give it a shot one day.
    Would love to see pictures or videos of your garden if you have them.

  10. RSOiler Avatar

    Outstanding information Capn. I’m still printing your articles, I’m up to 3″ now.
    RSOiler AKA 60cal
    Please say high to slingblade for me.

  11. dutc2006 Avatar

    Hey CAPN, do you use FloraBlend all the way through flower? I basically use the exact same recipe as you, but I’ve heard that using FloraBlend past the halfway point in flower can lead to looser buds. You mention the seaweed acts as a hardener, but I believe it is the alfalfa meal in FloraBlend that can cause looser buds and is supposedly why GH has it only being used through the 3rd week of flower. Any thoughts on this?

  12. dutc2006 Avatar

    Just thought of one more thing. Maybe Scotty can chime in on this one too. Do you think that Recharge can supplant FloraliciousPlus for the humic/fulvic acids? I don’t know if there is anything else in Floralicious Plus worthwhile that Recharge can’t take care of, and it’s expensive too. Thanks dude!

  13. THECAPN Avatar

    >>> I’m still printing your articles, I’m up to 3″ now.
    RSOiler AKA 60cal
    Please say high to slingblade for me

    Hey 60cal, nice to know you’re still lurking. Sling and I miss ya buddy.

    >>>Hey CAPN, do you use FloraBlend all the way through flower?
    Dutc, great question. I used to cut it out after the 4th week of flower, but now I’ve been using it all the way. Honestly, I can’t really tell a difference. I definitely don’t see any fluffy buds. If you don’t see a reason to run it after week 3, and your plant is nice and green, you can go ahead and drop it.

    >>>Do you think that Recharge can supplant FloraliciousPlus for the humic/fulvic acids?
    They are two different products. Recharge does have humics in it but floralicious has a lot more other goodies. Licious is optional, so don’t sweat it if you don’t want to spend the money on it.

  14. LtCmndr Dudefella Avatar
    LtCmndr Dudefella

    Love the article’s, Capn! Following your methods on the forums is what eventually lead me to this site and becoming a DGC member. Was wondering, though, why use silica through the whole grow? I use it in veg and through week 4 of flower. Do you see any difference going all the way through with it?

  15. THECAPN Avatar

    >>>Love the article’s, Capn! Following your methods on the forums is what eventually lead me to this site and becoming a DGC member. Was wondering, though, why use silica through the whole grow? I use it in veg and through week 4 of flower. Do you see any difference going all the way through with it?

    Thanks for following along, LtCmndr! Glad to have you here. At the 4th week of flower, buds are putting on weight. This is one of the most critical times to make sure buds are positioned correctly, bloom booster is starting to be used, and the plant has all the nutrition it needs. If silica is benefiting the plant at all, I’m all for it. At 1ml/gal, it’s cheap. Unless there is a reason NOT to use it, I’m using it!

  16. Mo Avatar

    I haven’t done it in straight Hydro setups, but before I installed my RO filter with the KDF to remove chloramines, I used to use Vitamin C tabs (1000mg) to neutralize chlorine and chloramines in my water before adding to my Aquaponics setup. It will drop pH slightly, but not significantly. Just something for those of you without a RO to remove chloramines to keep in mind as an option.

  17. Mo Avatar

    Oh, and that 1000mg tablet would do roughly 40 gallons.

  18. Pazzo Avatar

    Hey Capn,

    Love your posts.. got my cannabutter in the freezer as we speak. 🙂

    1 quick question about your recipe.. Have you heard of Lucas Formula and if you have is there a particular reason to keep the Gro nute instead of just doing a 2 part with the Micro and Bloom?

    Either way i’ll definitely be adding in the Silica, FloraBlend and the Recharge is #1 on my list! I’ve used Hydroguard but either I’ve not used it enough or I just haven’t noticed a huge difference and not to mention I just looked at the bottle and it sais to use within 6 months of opening and I’ve had it for a year or so lol…

  19. Pazzo Avatar

    Hey Capn, I had another quick question about ur recipe. In your opinion, is there much difference between using CalMag+ and Cali-Magic? Just asking cause I have a full gallon of the CalMag and I’d like to use that instead lol.

  20. THECAPN Avatar

    >>>Have you heard of Lucas Formula and if you have is there a particular reason to keep the Gro nute instead of just doing a 2 part with the Micro and Bloom?

    Lucas is cutting corners. Follow the recipe for best results.

    >>>is there much difference between using CalMag+ and Cali-Magic?

    Not much difference. I don’t have both bottles in front of me. I think I calculated that magic was a better value for the money. But yeah, either is fine. Thanks for all your comments.

  21. Pazzo Avatar

    Thanks for responding to my questions and i’ve already bought the Gro to add in along with everything else except the Floralicous cause you said it wasn’t really necessary and it was surprisingly expensive.

    If it wasn’t for people like you out there a lot of people wouldn’t know where to begin. I’ve been using Pure Blend Pro nutes for forever but decided it was time for a change and I started to use the Lucas Formula in Coco with good results, surprisingly good actually but I really wanted to see what other good additives were out there and this was pretty much the recipe I was looking for.. You’ve even almost convinced me to try out the Rockwool cubes too but I’ve never used rockwool in my life, not even for cloning.

    Anyways, if you’re ever in the Denver metro I’d love to smoke you a bowl of my finest one day.. Got some Glass Slipper that is just about done I’m salivating over I can’t wait to try. Merry Christmas, Capn. 🙂

  22. Michigan Avatar

    Capn,are you still using the AXIOM

  23. Ben Avatar

    Hi im confused do i water daily only when the pot is light or do i water every day even if heavy and transfer to bigger pot only when light next day?

  24. Pazzo Avatar

    Hey Guys, I just wanted to chime in and give a little update. I was feeding my clones about a 50% normal fert dose but with 100% of the additives which should be fine but I didn’t reduce the silica and I think that may have messed up my clones PH a bit. I would suggest if you’re going to water some clones or small plants with this solution to maybe use only 1/2ml of the silica until they get really going otherwise you could face some PH issues like I did. It obviously does help to check your PH everytime but most of the time I don’t even bother cause it’s not necessary but when you’re dealing with smaller plants things can go bad really fast..

    And just to reply to Ben up there from my own experiences lately.. I was watering my 2 gallon coco pots in flower with this solution every 2-3 days with about 8-10 cups of water. Now I’m watering every day with about 4-5 cups of water and they’re LOVING it. I’ve never been one to water every day because I grew up growing with soil but I’ve definitely seen an improvement in growth and overall stature watering every day. Whenever I move and get situated again I’m going to work out some kind of drip system and start watering multiple times a day because I can really see the advantage of doing so.. The only time you really want to let Coco dry out is when you first transplant it.. In a 2 gallon pot i’ll let my plants go up to 5 days sometimes before I water again after I transplant but after that i’ll water either every day or every other day until I get to a point of watering them every day about the same time. As for transferring to a larger pot you don’t want to do that in flower so if you are planning on transplanting make sure you do it at least a week before you throw it in flower to avoid any real root shock and to let it fill out the pot a bit. Hope this kinda answered your questions.. lol.

  25. UnderShade Avatar

    Cap, when are we gonna see another awesome article? I’m kinda Jonesin’ here…

  26. UnderShade Avatar

    Question Cap: I noticed you are using the 700 ppm scale on your Bluelab. I saw on the GH site that they recommend using the 500 scale with the Flora 3-part. I just got the bluelab PPM and pH pens and I also use the GH nutes. Should I be using the 700 scale as well. All other TDS meters I’ve owned used the 500 scale.

    Thanks Bro,

  27. UnderShade Avatar

    Sorry Cap, I read this post a while back and just got my meters today. I scrolled down before re-reading. Duh…

  28. UnderShade Avatar

    Cap, I tried your recipe with the GH 3 part (321-123) and almost starved my plants. The recipe should be in tsp/gal, NOT ml/gal. A tsp is 3X a ml. Might wanna clarify that…

    1. MIchigan Avatar

      Nope it is ML per gal. Plants have never starved at this rate. You must be running PPM at 2500-3000 at tps per gal.

  29. Pazzo Avatar

    I’d have to kind of agree with both of you.. I think there could be a bit more nutrients in the mix but if you notice how the Captain waters he uses a drip system so it’s the perfect system for HIM. For other people this might not be the best solution because it does require you to water more frequently and if you miss even one watering if you water by hand then your plants will indeed start to show deficiencies over night. I made that mistake when I got a gnat problem so I put an inch of perlite on the tops of my plants to prevent more infestation and I didn’t realize how dry some plants were and they started eating themselves basically. So if you don’t water enough with this solution then yes you will most likely have issues. I’ve used it a couple times now and although I do like it I know it would be much better utilized on a drip system to really take advantage of what nutes are in the water. When I used the “Lucas Formula” I did seem to have better results with hand watering so that might be a better mix for you to try…

    I’m about to be moving so i’ll be redoing my whole setup here pretty soon and when I do I know i’ll be using this formula with a drip system and I think it’ll be awesome..

    1. MIchigan Avatar

      IT’s not a drip system it is a spray system mine comes on twice a day for 15 min. Completely flushing every time it runs. I would guess that I run 7 to 10 gal through each pot every watering.

  30. UnderShade Avatar

    Look at the back of the GH bottles. The 1-2-3/3-2-1 ratio is in tsp per gal. You’re only giving your plants 1\3 of what’s called for. A gal mixed at that ratio only is at 500 ppm (if you use X500). I remixed my res at the recommended strength and am only at 1.7 EC. I’m not mad or anything… but I showed my buddy at the hydro store this recipe and he just kinda chuckled at me. Made me feel like a total noob. May work for the Cap’n, but my Vanilla Kush was starting to show deficiencies.

  31. Coffeeholic Avatar

    Hi Capn. Hope all is well!

    I have a couple of questions. Hope you don’t mind.

    First; is the PPM readings on top of your standard mix of cal/mag, floralicious etc., or is it the total PPM all together?

    Second; I simply cant get Floralicious, FloraBlend nor Armor Si. Is there any alternative products that i can use?

    Thank you.

  32. John Avatar

    Hi captn, i really wanna use your recipe but I use soil, should i follow your recipe or the drain to waste chart? I have the whole GH pro series kit. Can i use your recipe or follow the box and start at half strength? I have all the nutrients needed to run your recipe just wondering if it will perform well in soil? Plz let me know what your thoughts are PLEASE.

  33. AKFrost Avatar

    Hi captain, I’m getting ready to give your style a go! I’m going to be useing tap water though. Which causes me to have some questions hopefully you or someone can answer. One has already been answered by Jmystro. I wanted to stick with your nutrient recipe but since I’m using tap water I have been advised not to use calimagic unless needed. Which brings the second question. Do I just keep adding base nutrients to get to my disired ppm? Cause now that I’m not using cal/mag my ppm is lower. Third question is about the aquarium dechlorinator. Which is best/ safest to use for tap water and hydroponics? Seems there is more than one kind. Sodium thiosulfate, Sodium hydroxymethanesulfonate, and Sodium hydroxymethane sulfinic acid.

  34. Anonymous


  35. Anonymous


  36. Trev1138 Avatar

    I have tried this recipe three times now and I keep getting 1500-1600 ppm per gal (and that’s excluding the Florablend and the Floralicious Plus). Any ideas as to why? Thanks!!

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