top of page

Why You Should Feed With An Even NPK Fertilizer

Here is a synopsis of how peppers grow and why many of the common recommendations thrown around on the internet are flawed. There is a lot of overlap between the cannabis and pepper cultures. There has been a barrage of false claims going around the Internet about peppers having "veg and flowering stages." This is not true.

Plants like cannabis are photoperiodic plants. Meaning they have two stages, with the shift from the first to the second being caused by a change in daylight hours. The first stage is known as the vegetative stage, or veg stage for short. During this time the plant spends all of its time producing foliage (leaves). It does not produce any flowers/fruit during this time.

The second stage is the flowering stage. This will be triggered by a decrease in daylight hours. When the plant hits a certain minimum of hours of daylight, it transition's into the flowering stage. At this point the plant stops producing foliage and then starts putting all of its energy into producing flowers/fruit.

Peppers are not photoperiodic plants. They are day neutral, meaning the number of daylight hours does not affect the plants actions. When peppers start producing flowers, they continue to produce leaves. They never stop producing foliage. The plant will produce flowers and vegetation until It dies.

Now, with all that in mind, there are claims that are thrown around about using fertilizers designed for photoperiodic plants with two distinct and separate stages. I'm going to break down why this will cause more harm than good.

Veg fertilizers, like the popular Alaskan Fish Fertilizer, are high in nitrogen and low in phosphorus and potassium. Using this on peppers can result in explosive leafy growth. This leads to thinking it's working well. On the contrary, the plants will have weak stems, attract pests, and worst of all, inhibit flowering and cause flower/fruit drop. When using veg fertilizers, the common recommendation is to remove flowers to “focus energy on its foliage production.” Peppers do not have veg/bloom cycles and flowering does not take away from foliage production.

The only time foliage production is inhibited by flowering/fruiting is when the plant has a limited amount of resources, so the plant must choose where to direct nutrients. This is misinterpreted as peppers having veg/bloom phases and that you need to manipulate the plant to have it focus on vegetative growth. This is not the case.

If a plant is struggling, removing plant material (topping/pinching flowers) is not going to improve the situation, it will just act as a temporary crutch which ultimately lowers total yields. The solution is to feed the plants, give it plenty of light, and avoid overwatering. If the plant is struggling, give it more to work with instead of removing potential growth.

Once plants start showing issues from overfeeding nitrogen fertilizers, then bloom ferts get recommended.This will then result in plants that slow down foliage production while being overloaded with P and K in ratios that are not ideal for the plant. This leads to further stunting due to nutrient imbalances.

Continuation of using bloom fertilizers will result in plants that stop/severely slow down growing foliage and just finish off producing flowers/fruit.

Using an even or close to even NPK fertilizer from start to finish is the most effective method for producing the biggest yields. Don't skimp on Nitrogen at any point.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page