What is beneficial bacteria?


Beneficial bacteria, or beneficial microbes, is any bacteria (or fungi) considered to be good and not harmful. Think yogurt! For humans, a good example would be the probiotics found in yogurt.


Beneficial bacteria can be just that to your plants, beneficial! 


The bottom of a healthy mushroom with strong roots




For plants, it's a bit different. In your plants soil is bacteria and fungi. These are beneficial microbes. They will work with your plant to promote strong and healthy roots.



Healthy soil thanks to beneficial microbes



Some can even fight off bad bacteria and viruses that attack your plant. These microbes can also help to break down micro-nutrients in your soil, making it easier for your plant to absorb them. 



Hydroponic growers can benefit from beneficial microbes too! They simply need to find a fertilizer containing beneficial bacteria and introduce it into their feeding schedule.


No doubt anyone who has some experience with growing has come across products which contain micro-organisms: either bacteria or fungi. These organisms generally live in the soil and provide a service in exchange for energy in the form of carbohydrates. 
Here we will go over the types of beneficial microbes to give you an overview of what your plant needs to thrive!


An Introduction to Beneficial Bacteria and Fungi: 


Mycorrhiza is simply any type of fungus which creates a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with your plants. 


Forest with mountain backdrop


Rhizobium is a soil bacteria which lives with legumes (peas, beans, alfalfa, etc.)

The bacteria will infect the root which forms a nodule for them to inhabit. This type of bacteria is known as an "anaerobe" which means they can't grow if any oxygen is present! Because of this, the nodules the plant makes for them contain chemicals to scrub out any nearby oxygen. 
This bacteria provides a usable form of nitrogen for the plant, and in exchange it has a place to live with energy in the form of sugars. 


As we know, nitrogen is one of the essential macro-nutrients plants need to survive!

There are other types of nitrogen creating bacteria that can live on the surface of the roots and in the soil, but Rhizobium is the most efficient and most interesting!


* Did You Know? *

The chemical excreted by the roots to scrub out oxygen is called "leghemoglobin" and is close to what is produced by animals.  For that reason, many of the latest generations of imitation meats use it as a component to simulate the red juiciness of animal products!


Bacillus is a bacteria found living on on the surface of the roots as well as in the soil. 

They can provide a wide array of functions such as effecting the solubility of nutrients. Phosphorus, potassium, and silicate can be made more soluble by this bacteria. 

Some strains have the ability to protect the roots from pathogens such as plant parasite, pythium. 

There are a large number of species in this genus that are beneficial to plants: B. subtilis, B. amyloliquefaciens, and B. megaterium. 

Other species, like B. thuringiensis are insect pathogens and can be used by the grower as a biological insecticide!

* Did You Know? *

When under stress, bacillus bacteria can create a tough shell called an endospore. This allows them to lie dormant for a very long time! So long, that viable spores have been found in crystals of salt over 250 million years old. 

A pink bacillus bacteria with a tough shell

Trichoderma are a group of soil fungi. 

They will colonize the exterior of the roots and when they encounter a fungal pathogen they'll act as a parasite towards it. 
They excrete chemicals which trigger the plants immune responses.
This increases the overall size of the root system. 
While Trichoderma do have many advantages, they don't have a stable shelf life, especailly compared to Bacillus



Phosphate Solubilizing Bacteria and Fungi:


An important part in using nutrients is knowing how soluble they are. Phosphorus for example, is insoluble in water. Meaning it wont' dissolve in water on its own. 

Phosphorus is used in large quantities in agriculture. Most of it is used up by crops but a large part of it reacts with other components in the soil to become insoluble and is then unusable to the plants.


A farm field without crops


The good news is there are a number of bacteria and fungi which are able to break down phosphate into soluble forms so it can be absorbed by plants. There doesn't seem to be a lot of research done on which species work the best, but we would recommend finding a species that fits best in your local climate and soil. 



So... Should I use beneficial bacteria when growing cannabis?

YES! Introducing beneficial bacteria to your plants is vital to keep them healthy, allow for optimal nutrient uptake, and to grow strong roots. 


Final Thoughts

 Proper plant nutrition is key to your cannabis grow running successfully. We recommend introducing beneficial bacteria and fungi to your plants to promote healthy soil and roots.  



Good luck! And remember you can always reach out to @futureharvestdevelopment on instagram if you have any questions or need advice.



A bottle of Future Harvest Plantacillin sits beneath some healthy leaves