Humic Acid & Fulvic Acid

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While clicking through the fertilizer section on you might notice the vast array of products a grower has to choose from. The reality is, though, that selecting a fertilizer is just one of the many choices a grower must make. I cannot stress enough to novice growers the importance of a complete nutrient feeding program. While a complete base nutrient fertilizer provides everything a plant must have to live,  fertilizer supplements allow your plants to go beyond simply surviving and encourage them to thrive; fully maximizing their genetic potential. There are several supplements that are engineered to improve plant performance by accelerating nutrient uptake, boosting blossom production, protecting and increasing the plant's root system, or modifying a plant's growth habit. Humic acid and Fulvic acid are two related supplements that can boost a plant's performance by improving nutrient absorption while simultaneously improving the soil structure.

Humic acid is derived from the organic components of soil, humus, peat and coal. It is a byproduct of microorganisms that break down dead organic matter. Humic acid is actually a complex mixture of many different organic acids formed during the biodegradation of organic material. Fulvic acids are humic acids of lower molecular weight that have higher oxygen content. Fulvic acid is able to pass through plant cell membranes easily, which is how it is able to aid in the absorption of plant nutrients.


Humic acid is a fantastic soil conditioner, especially for soils or soilless mixes that are low in organic matter. Humic acid improves the quality of the soil or soilless medium by increasing the media's ability to retain water and helping to facilitate the movement of nutrients from one soil particle to another, making the fertilizer more evenly available across the media. In addition, humic acid acts as a chelating agent, latching onto micronutrients and forming a humic acid-micronutrient complex that is more easily and efficiently absorbed by plants. Humic acid aids in the absorption of magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, and iron. In scientific studies, the application of 50 mg (of humic acid derived from leonardite) per liter of hydroponic solution yielded an almost 20% increase in root mass and a 9% increase in the vegetative mass of the plant (Adani et al, 2008).

Fulvic acid accelerates the absorption of nutrients by aiding the transport of these nutrients across the pathways by which they must enter into the plant. Fulvic acid essentially grabs hold of immobile or heavy molecular compounds and streamlines their absorption. It is known to increase the absorption of the same elements as humic acid, and also aids in the absorption of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. These elements are transported into the plant tissue faster and easier, resulting in more rapid growth and bigger yields. Fulvic acid also allows plants to thrive in higher ppm nutrient solutions, effectively reducing the risk of over-fertilization.

Both humic and fulvic acid are recommended for use in all stages of plant development. They are a great way to supercharge your plants, improve your soil and get more complete use of your fertilizers. Give humic and fulvic acid a try if you want to really see what your plants are capable of!

By: David Kessler

Atlantis Hydroponics


David Kessler

David Kessler heads the Atlantis Hydroponics division of Research and Development, handles key accounts specializing in large scale room design, and writes the popular Atlantis Hydroponics blog under the pen name Dr. Dave. With over two decades of experience and a degree from the State University of New York, he has transferred his passion for hydroponics and organic growing into a budding career. David is also an accredited judge for the American Orchid Society and travels the world judging national and international orchid events. Follow his blog!

Written by David Kessler, Atlantis Hydroponics at 00:00

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