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Common Nutrient Issues That Occur in Homegrown Cannabis Plants

Ashley Priest

by Ashley Priest

April 7, 2021 10:30 am ET Estimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Common Nutrient Issues That Occur in Homegrown Cannabis Plants

Growing cannabis at home can be very therapeutic. Raising a cannabis plant from a small seedling or clone all the way through flowering to produce potent medicine is very rewarding. You’re rewarded with a beautiful crop of buds. You’re also rewarded with the peace of mind that comes with knowing what went into your grow. Cannabis is a plant that has grown beautifully in nature for centuries.

These days cannabis isn’t just grown in nature anymore. Many times, those who choose to grow cannabis at home do so in an indoor controlled environment such as a grow tent or grow room. The same can be said about the grows that supply most dispensaries as often they must be contained within a controlled environment, however, there are some that still grow outdoors. Whether it’s grown outdoors or in a more controlled environment, cannabis cultivation can be a tricky endeavor. Let’s explore some common nutrient issues that can occur and how to spot them.

Growing Cannabis Plants at Home Isn’t for the Faint of Heart

One thing you should know about growing cannabis at home is that it can also be very frustrating. There are a lot of different things to learn when it comes to cultivating cannabis. It is a weed, and it will grow like a weed, but you can run into all kinds of problems along the way that will affect the quality and quantity of your harvest. Don’t expect to start out perfect. The more you grow the more you’ll know. Maintaining the proper lighting, CO2, temperature, fresh air, humidity, and pH balance of your crop can be quite challenging. Even if you manage to get all of this down, there’s still more that cannabis cultivation has to throw at you.

There are tons of bugs that love to munch on your nugs. A wide variety of different kinds of mites can destroy cannabis crops. Powdery mildew can take over. Plants can be overwatered or underwater. With so many things to learn about when it comes to growing cannabis at home, it can be overwhelming for some. It doesn’t have to be though. As I said, the more you grow, the more you’ll know. After a couple of grows, you will start to learn about signs that your plants will give you in advance letting you know an issue is happening BEFORE it gets out of hand.

How to Spot Common Nutrient Issues 

The leaves on the cannabis plant help tell the tale of how happy or sad your ladies are. There are numerous different signs to look for such as the notorious eagle claw, burnt tips, and cupping. The eagle claw is a sign of nitrogen toxicity. Burnt tips are generally caused by feeding plants with nutrients too heavily. Cupping is usually a sign of overwatering but could also be nitrogen toxicity. A simple pH test of the water draining from your plants could help identify issues.

Phosphorus, magnesium, nitrogen, calcium, sulfur, potassium chlorine, Molybdenum, copper, and iron deficiencies will all show signs in your plants if you know how to read them.

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  • Nitrogen Issues:

Nitrogen in excess causes weak stems and foliage. The bottom leaves will stay a dark green while the greenness continues upward. Too much nitrogen will cause the end harvest to taste green. When plants run deficient in nitrogen the lower leaves will begin to turn yellow, plants will be smaller and have smaller leaves and leaves will continue turning yellow, curling, and discoloring before starting to drop.

  • Phosphorus Issues:

Phosphorus in excess can cause the tips of leaves to look dried up or burnt. It will also diminish a harvest and can lead to iron and zinc deficiencies. Plants deficient in phosphorus are susceptible to pests and disease and you will often see a purplish color on the stems of leaves. Leaves suffering a deficiency often turn a bronzish purple color before curling, withering, and dropping off the plant.

  • Potassium Issues:

Potassium in excess will produce thin leaves that can also experience burnt tips and deficiencies in calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Leaves on the lower level of the plant will develop spots before curling and falling off. A deficiency in potassium will cause your leaves to look rusty and the tips and edges to appear burnt.

  • Calcium Issues:

Calcium in excess can cause leaves to wilt and stunt the growth of your plant. A calcium deficiency will show signs of irregular yellowish-brown spots on your leaves. The lower leaves on the plant will curl and it can cause a weak harvest.

  • Magnesium Issues:

Magnesium in excess can stunt the growth and cause dark green leaves. Not enough magnesium and you will see irregular-shaped rusty brown spots and yellowing of leaves.

  • Sulfur Issues:

Too much sulfur and you can have small plants that experience dry brown tips and edges. If you have a sulfur deficiency leaves will start turning a yellowish color in the center at the base and are known to have burnt tips. Another sign of a sulfur deficiency is woody stems.

Don’t let all of this get you down. There are many different books and online forums you can research to find solutions to help fix these common nutrient issues. Once you figure out the proper nutrients to grow cannabis at home and how to identify potential issues before they get out of hand, your cannabis will grow like a weed. Learn more about how to grow your own cannabis at home here.

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