Even though cannabis is known as “weed” and has a reputation for growing quickly and easily, cultivating high-quality cannabis plants can be quite challenging. One of the most common challenges is maintaining the correct balance of nutrients throughout the growth cycle.
Nutrient deficiencies can be disastrous for a cannabis crop, but growers with the proper training can usually reverse the effects. Oaksterdam University offers courses to help you troubleshoot your cannabis crop and ensure a high-quality yield every time.
What Happens When Cannabis Plants Have a Nutrient Deficiency?
Usually, nutrient deficiencies in cannabis plants lead to a reduced yield and subpar flower quality. When left unchecked, nutrient deficiencies can kill cannabis plants, wasting your time and money. Catching nutrient deficiencies early on is the key to a healthy, bountiful cannabis harvest.
What Are the Early Signs of Nutrient Deficiencies in Cannabis?
Growers must keep a vigilant eye on their plants to watch for these early signs of nutrient deficiencies. However, many of these symptoms can be due to multiple issues. It can be hard to pinpoint what the problem with your cannabis home grow is without training on what can go wrong.
Discolored Leaves on Cannabis Plants from Nutrient Deficiency
Healthy cannabis plants should typically have deep green leaves. Cannabis plants suffering from nutrient deficiencies often have discolored leaves. Red, brown, orange, or yellow cannabis leaves can all signal a problem with the plant and give growers a clue about what might be missing.
Low Nutrients Lead to Stunted Cannabis Plants
Cannabis plants grow relatively quickly when they have access to everything they need. Though each cultivar has a different growth rate and flowering time, cannabis plants that grow more slowly than usual can signal a nutrient deficiency.
Nutrient-Deficient Drooping Leaves or Wilting Cannabis Plants
Wilting can be a sign that your cannabis plants are getting too little or too much water, not receiving the right amount of light, or suffering from a nutrient deficiency. It can be challenging to pinpoint precisely why a cannabis plant is wilting without training from a cannabis program like the ones offered at Oaksterdam University. Never add nutrients before you know exactly why a plant is wilting.
3 Common Cannabis Nutrient Deficiencies
Cannabis plants need many different nutrients to thrive and can be deficient in any of them. Some cannabis nutrient deficiencies are more common than others, however.
1. Cannabis Nitrogen Deficiency
Nitrogen deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency that afflicts cannabis plants. If a cannabis plant is deficient in nitrogen, the bottom leaves will begin to lighten and turn yellow. Left untreated, leaves further up the plant will also start to yellow before they eventually curl up and drop off on their own.
However, yellowing leaves can also be a sign of overwatering, underwatering, improper temperature — or just a sign that the plant is nearly ready for harvest. It’s essential to ascertain why cannabis leaves are turning yellow before changing how you care for the plant.
2. Magnesium Deficiency in Cannabis
The leaves of a magnesium-deficient cannabis plant will turn yellow, beginning between the veins and spreading outwards. If left untreated, the plant will droop, develop dry brown spots that look like rust, and begin to drop leaves.
Signs of magnesium deficiency won’t appear in cannabis plants until several weeks after they have begun to suffer, and the condition will progress rapidly. Growers must monitor their plants and stay informed about nutrient balances to catch magnesium deficiency early.
3. Cannabis Zinc Deficiency
Zinc deficiencies are relatively common. New leaves on zinc-deficient cannabis plants will be small and wrinkled, and the tips of older leaves will change color and begin to dry out. Zinc deficiency is one of the few cannabis nutrient deficiencies with an obvious tell: The leaves on the plant will rotate so they are vertical rather than horizontal.
However, most nutrient deficiencies have more subtle signs. It’s best to take a class to familiarize yourself with potential cannabis growing problems before planting your first crop.
How to Fix Common Cannabis Nutrient Deficiencies
Fixing cannabis nutrient deficiencies involves more than simply adding nutrients to the growing medium.
Ensure the Right Soil PH for Growing Cannabis
Cannabis planted in soil with the wrong PH cannot absorb nutrients, no matter how much fertilizer you add. Ensuring your growing medium has the proper PH is the first step to ensuring your plant can absorb necessary nutrients.
Perform a Cannabis Soil Test
Once you have ensured your growing medium is at the proper PH, you must perform a soil test. These tests will tell you what concentration of nutrients is already present in the growing medium and, therefore, what you need to add. More precise tests can be involved and expensive, so working with a professional or more experienced grower is helpful.
Fertilize Your Cannabis Plants
Once you have determined that a nutrient deficiency is the cause of your struggling cannabis plants, amended the soil to ensure it is at the correct PH, and tested your growing medium to see which nutrients are needed, you can add fertilizer or nutrients to the soil.
Factors that Influence Cannabis Nutrient Deficiencies
Feeding your cannabis plants the right balance of nutrients isn’t as simple as it might seem. Ensure you have the proper training or knowledge before you begin growing.
Nutrient Burn or Deficiency?
Both a lack of nutrients and an overabundance can harm cannabis plants. Many symptoms of nutrient deficiency are similar to those of nutrient burn, so it’s essential to check your soil and have a good idea of what you’re doing before you plant your first seed. A class on growing cannabis can help you prepare.
Cannabis Growth Stages and Nutrient Requirements
The growth stage of your cannabis plants also has a significant impact on the nutrients they need. Many factors go into fertilizing cannabis plants; following a simple schedule or formula is not enough. You will need to become acquainted with the plants and what they need at each stage of the growing cycle by pursuing self-paced education or learning from a more experienced grower.
Learn How to Grow Cannabis Online
Growing cannabis can seem daunting, especially as you learn more about the requirements and things that can go wrong. Oaksterdam offers classes on every aspect of the cannabis industry, from getting started to troubleshooting. If you’ve had a failed cannabis crop or want to prepare for whatever situations sprout, our “When Things Go Wrong” course is for you. Enroll today to ensure your next cannabis crop will be bigger and better than ever.