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9 Common Mistakes Made By New Marijuana Growers

9 Common Mistakes Made By New Marijuana Growers

In any field of work or play, beginners tend to have a rough time of it. Before you have successfully traversed the learning curve, you will probably struggle a bit with just about anything. Growing marijuana has an especially steep learning curve, so newbies definitely will make some mistakes over and over again before they truly learn. The key is not to feel discouraged – that will hinder your learning.

In short, don’t be surprised when you realize that someone else (who has likely been growing marijuana for years and years) is having an easier time while you are struggling during your first year or two of growth. Don’t let this stop you from trying! People who never try something will never succeed at it, after all.

Luckily, you can use the past mistakes of other beginners to your advantage. There are many mistakes made by just about everyone when they first start out, so we have compiled a list that describes them, as well as how to avoid them. Do your homework and you may just get over the learning curve faster than you expected. Start by downloading my free grow bible.

Blabbing and bragging about growing marijuana

Blabbing and bragging about growing cannabis

The number one error of new marijuana growers is bragging to their friends about how they are going to try growing marijuana this season. Or some people don’t brag about it, but rather confide in close friends. In either case, you are putting yourself at risk. If your good friend confides in someone else, and the chain continues that way, a snitch could easily be somewhere down the line, and your crop will be destroyed — not to mention the fact that you could be in some serious trouble. Whatever you do, don’t blab.

Failing to prepare

Failing to prepare before growing weed

For many, growing marijuana sounds like an exciting new hobby to try. While this isn’t exactly false, the fact is that it is also a lot of work — and not just during the growing season. Expert marijuana growers are spending loads of time preparing beforehand. Even if they use an outdoor grow area, they still are planning for the summer in terms of how much water and nutrients to feed their plants, what seeds to buy, and how to prevent pest infestations.

Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link and learn how to grow like a pro

Many new growers, on the other hand, jump into growing marijuana without ever doing enough of their homework beforehand. You should be well aware of what exactly your marijuana plants are going to need in terms of light, water, nutrients, CO2, and ways to prevent pests. You should know which obstacles might come your way, and how to cope with them if they do, or, at least, have the proper materials and resources available to you for reference. Something unexpected always comes about during a beginner’s first growing season. The best way to cope with it is to have already prepared beforehand.

Poor genetics marijuana seeds

Poor genetics cannabis seeds

Many new growers are not willing to commit lots of money to buy extremely high-quality products for their plants. They would rather test the waters first and see how it goes before they decide to grow every year for the next decade while paying a pretty penny for it. Beginner growers either pay too little for their starting seeds and, therefore, get poor quality ones to begin with. Or they try to grow marijuana with a seed they found in the weed they bought. In either case, the results will surely be disappointing.

The key is to buy from a reputable source and to make sure that you are paying for high-quality seeds to accompany the other equipment you have bought for growing marijuana. If you start with poor genes, you are actually wasting your money. So start out with good seeds and strong genetics, and you will find yourself enjoying better results altogether.

Soils and fertilizers

Soils and fertilizers for cannabis

If you haven’t grown marijuana before, you probably don’t know too much about which fertilizer you should use to grow healthy plants. For many beginning growers, this means that they simply buy whatever they stumble upon at the store. They won’t bother doing detailed research about how much nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium marijuana plants need at each stage of their lives. So, their store-bought fertilizer might not get them where they want to go.

Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link and learn how to grow like a pro

The NPK value is displayed on fertilizer bags, so you should go into a store already knowing how much of each nutrient your plant will need during its current stage of growth. Unless your plants are in their flowering phase, they will need more nitrogen than other nutrients. Plants in their flowering phase are going to need more phosphorus.

The soil is also something commonly messed up by new growers. Many assume that the soil in the outdoor grow area that they have chosen is nutritious enough because it’s natural. The fact is, however, even natural soil could be far too acidic or alkaline, or does not have ample nutrients for your plants. Be sure to test it extensively for pH. See if it is sand or clay soil, and then make changes accordingly.

Testing and maintaining pH

Testing and maintaining pH

Many beginner growers underestimate the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced pH level. In reality, pH is one of the most important and potentially detrimental aspects of a healthy growing environment. If the pH is not good, your plants will end up sickly and unproductive. Plants growing in soil with a bad pH could even die.

The pH determines how much of certain nutrients your marijuana plants’ roots are able to absorb. If the pH is at the right level, then your plants should be able to absorb and retain any nutrients they need at any time. Therefore, it is critical to test the pH level often. Buy a pH testing kit before you even begin growing. If you are growing in soil, the healthy pH range is between 6.0 and 7.0. If you’re growing in a hydroponic system, the healthy range is from 5.5 to 6.5.

Too many nutrients

Too many nutrients cannabis plant

It is extremely common for new growers to give their plants far too many nutrients than what is necessary. They have the mindset that you can never have too much. That, unfortunately, is not true.

Part of the issue is that store-bought plant nutrients include a feeding schedule. New, naive growers try to follow that schedule, but it almost always instructs you to feed your plants far too high doses of nutrients. This can cause a nutrient burn, which will have a negative effect on your plants. Like with pruning, just try a little at a time.

Download my free marijuana grow guide at this link for more growing tips

A good rule of thumb is to feed your plants via the provided schedule, but divide it by four. In other words, just do a fourth of the recommended dosages. If you have been maintaining the pH level, and your plants start showing that they are nutrient deficient, then you can increase the dosages by small increments. Half strength should be more than enough.

Container growing

Container  growing cannabis

If you are growing your marijuana plants in containers or pots of some sort, you have to be very careful not to let your plants get rootbound. Rootbound means that the roots have grown all the way around the edges and bottom of the container because it is too small. Because the roots generally grow much faster than the rest of the plant in your marijuana’s young stages of life, it’s easy to forget about the risk of being rootbound. Rootbound plants can quickly die, so it’s important to move them to a larger container as soon as possible — but do so carefully.

Overwatering marijuana plants

Do not overwatering cannabis

The other aspect to avoid is overwatering your plants, which can actually happen if your plants are growing in containers that are too large for them. Beginner growers tend to water a container until all the soil is damp, which usually ends up being too much water for their little roots to absorb. The water will sit in the pot, depriving your plants’ roots of valuable oxygen, and this can lead to the symptoms of overwatering.

Overwatering can also occur when a new grower is watering their plants too often. You will notice the symptoms of overwatering when the plants droop, but luckily it’s fairly easy to fix, and it usually doesn’t kill off the plants… although it certainly is capable of doing that, when left unchecked.

The key is always to press your finger into the top inch of your soil to make sure that it is dry. If it isn’t, don’t water yet. If it is dry, however, it is the perfect time to quench your plants’ thirst. Don’t neglect to test it this way every time, or you could end up with the serious symptoms of overwatering.


Do not over-pruning cannabis

Some overzealous beginners get a little bit creative with pruning. When it comes to pruning, remember that less is more. Pruning can increase growth, but if you do too much of it, then it almost certainly will hinder the growth instead. Just try one or two methods conservatively, and observe its effect on your plants. This will help you learn what to do next time without completely destroying your crop.

Thanks for reading. Please leave comments or questions below and don’t forget to download my free grow bible.


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Comment Section

43 thoughts on “9 Common Mistakes Made By New Marijuana Growers

By chris on 24 February 2016

I’m growing to plants and they seem to be doing good the only problem is my leaves are leaning a lil down and a few leaves were turning yellow and the pH levels are fine maybe I’m not putting enough nutrients in it?

By latewood.ILGM on 24 February 2016

Generally, if you have droopy leaves; It is due to either over watering, or under watering. Yellowing leaves tend to point us to over watering; Especially if PH is correct. 5.8 for hydro; 6.5 for soil.

By Jacob Melvin on 28 February 2016


I ordered my product on 2/4/16 and have yet to receive the package. Getting a bit nervous here….

By Mary G on 1 March 2016


By Jennifer ILGM on 1 March 2016

Hey Jacob, please contact support, they will look in to it for you.

By Abbott Fletcher on 16 March 2016

My order arrived in 12 days, exactly as promised, FWIW.

By Leroy on 3 March 2016

Great read..lots of good info for beginners.

By Jay on 3 March 2016

I am a nube my question is can I use a combination of different types of light sources such as flouresant and led ?

By bryce on 3 March 2016

Yes…… can use different light type and sources. My self I use a 1000 watt metal halide as well as a 1000 watt HPS during the entire growing cycle. I keep moving the plants around in the room so they do a complete “circle” around the room every two weeks. My results have been great!!

By latewood.ILGM on 7 March 2016


Of course you can. Many growers do this and in every combination of lamps you can think of. If you join our support forum; You will find many growers willing to help you and will get many ideas in regards to your choices. lw

By Steve on 9 March 2016

Yes of course you can. Everyone has their own opinions mine is choose MH or HPS once plants are out of seedling stage they help with the cold weather and you can’t beat the results but my mate will use CFls at first then MH for veg or duel spectrum then throw a pure red CFL in the flowering stage hanged it low so branches that don’t get much light now can bud. Try different things and see what’s best for you mate.

By Jean on 3 March 2016

I grew my first two plants late last year, indoors. I used the square foot gardening mix (1/3 peat moss, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 compost) and got great results. Started the seed in that mix, then transferred them to 4 gallon containers when they were large enough. Never had any problems. I’d highly recommend the method.

By Lucky on 4 March 2016

To much nitrogen in flowering phase cause small buds and chemical taste…

By Lucky on 4 March 2016

one of the best source information for mj growing…Thanks Robert!!!

By Mary Lou S. on 13 March 2016

Gosh, I wish I had one person to communicate with to try to get my seeds. I’ve been waiting since Dec. 15th. I paid $25 for shipping.
I hope I get my feminized seeds before the AZ season is over to start them.

Patiently awaiting quality service.

A Master Gardener

By Jennifer ILGM on 14 March 2016

Hi Mary, As i can see in the system your order was shipped and it should arrive soon. If you have any questions contact support.

By Al on 28 March 2016

First time grower …….My plants seem to be getting tall but not enough leaves …..I have used different types of light …..I am now using 4 ft grow lights …….How far should i keep the lights away from the plants …..I can use any type of help

By latewood.ILGM on 30 March 2016


Your plant is tall and has little foliage due to the use of inadequate lighting, most likely. 4ft fluorescent lamps are adequate for vegging small plants but will not provide enough light for optimum growth. Therefore you must temper your expectations for this yield.

I suggest you join our grow forum and study up on lighting needs for the plant. Happy Growing.

By Mark on 5 November 2016

I have been growing since 1975. Always started with the 4 ft. flourescents just for 3 weeks of vegetative growth. Keep them close as Robert suggests. You will need to change over to MH or HPS to achieve flowering on a 12/12 light cycle. Flourescents do not produce dense buds but work great for starting your seedlings on a 24 hour cycle. They will keep the spacing down and not burn if kept 2″ above the plants. I used to put them on a 12/12 light cycle for 3 weeks then put them outside to avoid transplant shock. I liked to transplant during a rainy day to help set and avoid shock.

By mohammad on 28 March 2016

hi thank you very much for information , so i wanna know when to start fertilize?

By latewood.ILGM on 30 March 2016


You do not apply fertilizer until you can see that the plant has 4-5 true sets of leaves establishing that there are enough roots to take up minerals.

Too much fertilizer can burn young plants; So, do not over do it. Without more details on your grow methods, that is all I can advise at this time. Happy growing. lw

By Catherine on 3 November 2016

Hello Robert,
I found out the hard way about nutrients. I made it 1/2 strength and after about the third watering I noticed yellowish color to the center of one of the shoots. Since finding that I have stopped using the nutrients. Thanks for your post.

By Cedric on 3 November 2016

I dont know if you were doing this but checking the ph in your water after mixing the nutrients helps. I also had a duh moment. After reading a few articles. Sure enough i was watering my plants with 4.0 acidic water. I just added a few tablespoons of ph up to get it back to 6.5 ph.

By Roy ILGM on 4 November 2016

Glad to hear you were on time Catherine!

By Harley on 3 November 2016

I ordered some seeds recently. They arrived within two weeks [I live in Canada], in discreet packaging. NO complaints whatsoever!!!!

By Roy ILGM on 4 November 2016

Thanks Harley, good to hear all was well!

By Cedric on 3 November 2016

I have ordered twice from here. Both orders came. Second was a little longer. But still within then25 business days. I did have a messuo moment and i think i transplanted on seedling too early. It started dying on me. But i watered it with seeweed fert and it started springing back. Now its trying to catch up with the rest

By Jeremy Marcoux on 3 November 2016

Seeds came quick and stealthy. Only 12 days, had no idea what I was even opening. All germinated in a few days. Very pleased so far. Would highly recommend .

By Josh on 4 November 2016

I have been growing for 14yrs and I’m still learning about growing. If you follow Robert and his great information in his growing bible then you shouldn’t have any problems with your plants. I have also purchased seeds from Robert and have had great success with outstanding results with yields and quality of my products. So for all the beginners follow the guide and you will be very happy with grow. Good luck!!!

By Mark on 5 November 2016

Question-when transplanting root bound plants do you spread out the mass of roots or just leave them clustered together?

By latewood.ILGM on 7 November 2016


This question could start a big debate. Most growers want to transplant and stress the plant as little as possible. Others claim that slightly breaking the roots will cuase new vigorous growth.

I tend to take the less stress method and re-pot without tearing up the root zone.

Happy growing! 🙂

By doris Grierson on 8 November 2016

my seeds are staying in the fridge in some rice and sealed hope they sprout when can you plant them in spring april ? doris

By latewood.ILGM on 9 November 2016

doris Grierson,

I cannot truly answer you without knowing what region you live in. I can only assume you mean to plant outside.

You can plant when Tomato’s can be planted in your area. If you do not know when this is; Cintact your local County agent and ask when you can safely plant your Tomato’s.

I strongly recommend you to start the plants indoors to allow them to establish a good root zone and a healthy start before exposing them to the outdoors.

Happy growing 🙂

By Christi on 21 November 2016

I’m in flowering stage in DWC system all was going good then about 2 or 3 weeks into budding I started noticing the leaves turning yellow one one side of the plant. In fact the entire one side
I can’t figure it out . Can anyone help?

By latewood.ILGM on 22 November 2016


It is really hard to diagnose a severe issue like the one you are experiencing without more information on what and how, etc…if you know what I mean. 😉 We have a “Support Ticket” at the ILGM support forum, and if you fill it out; We can help figure out what happened. lw

By latewood.ILGM on 22 November 2016


You need to join our support forum. There, you can post pictures for members to view and give you solid advice. We have a great community. Hope to see you there! Just @latewood once you join and I will try and help you out. Happy growing 😀

By michael on 5 December 2016

first timer
having trouble finding the light to grow is there a sourse or web to go to.,

By Roy ILGM on 6 December 2016

Hi Michael, Amazon and Dealzer are fine places to get your lighting. You can ask around on our forum what kinds you need for your specific situation.

By latewood.ILGM on 6 December 2016

Hey MIchael,

I also agree that joining our forum is a great idea for a new grower. We can help you make sure that you get the right equipment from the start. 🙂

By Jim on 6 December 2016

Just harvested 1st crop two white widow plants from seeds purchases @ ILGM quality seems poor.plant and buds looked really nice but taste and potrentcy not to good anyone have a clue as to what could have gone wrong followed all tips on this website.

By latewood.ILGM on 6 December 2016


We have many very happy growers who have successfully harvested our WW plants. There is no way I can just guess at what you may have done wrong during this grow. Evidently something went wrong. We want to help you figure it out! I suggest you join our support forum and give us some more info on what you did. We will be able and ready to help you figure this issue out. See you at the forum. 🙂

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