When growing cannabis, balancing the potential of hydrogen(PH) in the water you’re going to be giving your plants is crucial. Cannabis likes to sit between 5.9 and 6.3 PH for maximum nutrient absorption and optimal growth.
If you fall outside of this range then you’ll start to notice problems such as nutrient lockouts and root problems (learn more about the PH range).
If you’re using tap water for your cannabis plants then your PH will most likely be sitting around 7.0-7.2 before adding nutrients. Obviously, you’re going to want to lower the PH of your tap water and luckily some nutrients like Nitrogen (found in ammonium nitrate) can help lower it.
Most people don’t have access to something like PH Down (phosphoric acid is common) so they have to resort to household items like lemons which are acidic in nature. Do lemons really lower the PH in your water?
Yes, lemon juice is full of citric acid which can be used to lower the PH of your water. However, due to the antimicrobial properties of the flavonoids in lemons, you can start killing off the good bacteria that your cannabis uses to stay healthy.
Using this organic alternative to lower your PH is cost-effective and free from any contamination. If you have any bad bacteria in your soil this could help with its known antibacterial qualities. Keep in mind that lemon juice will also affect good bacteria.
Since lemon juice is an organic compound there is a potential for mold growth. Let’s look at if you should use lemon juice to lower the PH of your water.
Can Lemon Juice Harm Your Cannabis Plants?
There are different kinds of bacteria lurking in your soil or hydroponic systems. Some of these bacteria are harmful to the plant and can cause things like root rot or bud rot. However, some of the bacteria help out your cannabis plant by converting the nitrogen in the air to nutrients that your plant can absorb.
Citric acid is a component of lemon juice that is what lowers the PH in your water. It also has another compound called flavonoids that give lemon juice its antibacterial properties.
Adding lemon juice to your water will lower the PH but also make it able to kill bacteria. Once you feed it to your plant it’ll go to work on killing that bacteria and potentially hindering your plants’ growth.
Other Ways To Lower The PH Of Your Water
Some growers use citric acid to lower the PH of their water to great effect. Phosphoric acid is a popular choice for growers as it’s strong and has no residual effect on the plant. It comes in varying strengths and won’t harm the beneficial bacteria in your soil unless you use too much of it.
If your cannabis plants are in flower then there is a big benefit to using phosphoric acid as the plants can use the extra phosphorus for water distribution.
Regardless of whatever acid you choose to use, be sure to wear the proper protective equipment because these liquids can burn both you and your cannabis plants.
So while you can use lemon juice to adjust your PH, there are better options out there that won’t cause additional headaches and stress to your garden and your crop.