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Nitrogen Deficiency In Marijuana Plants

Nitrogen Deficiency In Marijuana Plants

A limited amount of nitrogen is a one of the more prevalent nutrient deficiencies amongst marijuana plants. Nitrogen is definitely a very essential nutrient for marijuana.

This is element is specifically in charge of creating chlorophyll and amino acids, which is necessary for the photosynthesis process.

Your plants tissue is comprised mostly of nitrogen, so with that being known the growth of your plant will cease quickly if there is ever a deficiency.

The deficiency begins in the lower leaves when they start turning pale green. Then the leaves will become yellow and begin dying off as the leftover nitrogen moves to help the newer growth. Nitrogen is able to travel throughout the plant as necessary.

The deficiency will move upward and the only part of that plant that will look green is the newer growth on the top half. The lower leaves will become yellow and wither. When a leaf is dying, it begins at the tips and moves towards the inside.

Signs of a nitrogen deficiency

Sings of nitrogen deficiency weed

If the lower leaves are becoming yellow during the vegetative phase or early on in the flowering phase, your marijuana plant may have a nitrogen deficiency that needs to be dealt with.

Losing a couple of leaves from the base of your plant from time to time is common, and more so with large plants. Now, if the plant is losing a large portion of yellow leaves, and the yellowing is traveling upward fast, you have a serious issue here.

The amount of nitrogen in comparison to other nutrients plays a big role in the growth and producing buds. The plant may display signs by the leaves getting little, less growth, and the plants appear to not be thriving. The petioles and stems will be a somewhat red or purple shade.

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

Too much nitrogen gives you plant a thick, dark green look, but this leaves it more defenseless to diseases and bugs. Another thing is the stalks begin to be deprived of elasticity and fragile.

It is good to know that it is common for the leaves of marijuana plants to turn yellow around the end of the flowering stage when the plant is lacking nitrogen because it is producing buds.

Now, if you notice your plant is losing lower leave quickly because of the yellowing, particularly during the vegetation stage, you have an issue on your hands that requires and immediate solution.

For the vegetative state, your plant requires a more nitrogen and just about any plant food will do the trick. The majority of the total plant foods offered at your local garden center has a large amount of nitrogen, which is great for the vegetative phase.

The flowering phase requires lower levels of nitrogen. It is very necessary to get a nutrient system that has lower levels of nitrogen for the duration of the plants life cycle.

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

It’s common for marijuana plants to display signs of nitrogen deficiency when the plant is approaching harvest time. This is a positive sign for your plant. An excess of nitrogen stops budding and lessens the entire taste and scent of your plant. This is the reason every “bloom” and flowering nutrient systems mostly have a low amount of nitrogen.

Don’t worry if you notice your plant is displaying signs of nitrogen deficiency later in the flowering phase. Low amounts of nitrogen is actually a good thing during the later phase of the flowering stage to encourage good bud production and will enhance your yields.

Not sure if your plants have a nitrogen deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all deficiencies.

How to fix a nitrogen deficiency

Fix nitrogen deficiency cannabis

The best way to resolve a nitrogen deficiency is to use a water-soluble nitrogen such as Grow Booster so it goes straight to the roots. After fertilization, all nitrogen-deficient plants will absorb as much nitrogen as possible and the plant will go back to its bright green color.

Here are some more things you can try:

  • Calcium nitrate (CaNO3) as a foliar fertilizer
  • Urine
  • Fish meal
  • Fish emulsion
  • Manure
  • Cottonseed meals
  • Alfalfa
  • Feather meal

There are several pre-mixed nutrients you can find in the store that have nitrogen or even try using a nitrate of soda or organic fertilizer which are great ways to give your plant nitrogen. I always buy grow supplies at this online gow shop

List of marijuana plant sypmtoms

Leaf Color: 
– Pale Color Leaves
– Yellow Leaves
– Yellowing Between Veins

Leaf Symptoms: 
– Lower Leaves and Older Growth Are Damaged
– Yellowing Between Veins
– Old Leaves Falling Off
– Withering / Sagging

Plant Symptoms: 
– Old Leaves Falling Off

So, keep in mind that if you have already given your plants nutrients, then most likely there is not nitrogen deficiency. If there is evidence of the deficiency spreading after one or two weeks of giving it nitrogen, then you need to determine what is creating the yellowing. If it is close to harvest time, then don’t worry about yellowing because this is normal.

Closely monitor your plants and check for any issues so you are never caught off guard by a bad nitrogen deficiency. If you discover a problem and after proper treatment, your plants will heal in about 7 days are so, with an exception of the leaves that were harmed the most.

Remember that plants with strong genetics have less change of getting sick. Make sure you buy marijuana seeds from a trusted seedbank.

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


Comment Section

25 thoughts on “Nitrogen Deficiency In Marijuana Plants

By megan on 22 January 2015

Do u have any samples?

By Kyle Sacker on 24 June 2015

Clean your room with Grow Clean!!

By dutch on 18 July 2015

My best plant went from healthy to barely alive in four days! I thought it was a nitrogen def so I started treatment on day one. No matter how much nitrogen I gave it wouldn’t heal her & I tried organic blood meal, urine, & miracle grow. The only thing I can think of is after three weeks of rain it washed all the nitrogen out of the soil & when I did nitrogen her up it was locked out. After a flush of nothing but gallons of rain water I retried to solve the problem with no luck!!!! :'( RIP Medusa

By latewood on 21 July 2015

If and when you ever have to flush your entire medium; Or, as in this case, rain washed out your minerals, you should re-pot with fresh soil. Arbitrarily dumping all kinds of different Nitrogen elements to the mix is going to create an imbalance. It is possible that the only issue was the plant got over watered during all that rain. :).

By Jasper on 10 December 2015

I have a bit of a problem with my girls. They are 7 weeks and were doing great till the bottom leaves started to turn yellow,I started using a fish emulsion fertilizer 5-1-1 non burning and is seemed to help alittle at first but then continued to worsen. I have now switched to a 24-8-16 and I started this 1 week ago today and gave them another dose tonight. I know I have a nitrogen problem but I need to know if I should give them more due to the leaves are not up to par. Any idea’s?

By latewood.ILGM on 12 December 2015

The leaves that are damaged are never going to look good again.. The best thing to do is monitor the new growth, to see if it is healthy.

Changing from one odd fertilizer to another is not going to help. There is no way you should have a Nitrogen deficiency with the fertilizers you have been using.

Good Luck. 🙂

By eagles on 19 December 2015

when repotting would it be best to have fertilizers mixed into the soil rather than to start pumping nutes after the transplant

By latewood.ILGM on 22 December 2015

Fertilizer mixed into soil generally needs to be replenished at some point. This is more a matter of growers choice and grow methods.

Age of the plant also comes into play, especially if plant is really young.

By Jprez on 10 June 2016

Alright here is the thing I started growing a plant I water every now and again there was this time I didn’t water it for weeks then when I went to go check on it and the bottom leaves were yellow and the one top one was green so do I have a nitrogen deficiency

By latewood.ILGM on 12 June 2016


I believe you have a grower deficiency. Plant needs to be on a consistent schedule throughout their entire grow cycle. Growing part time will not yield you very much for the effort.

I advise you to join our support forum. We have many knowledgeable members and experts always willing to help. 🙂

By dickiefickle on 7 July 2016

picture with caption Nitrogen Toxicity , but when clicked it talks about Nitrogen deficiency

By Neil scaife on 20 July 2016

I bought some ak47 seeds and they are growing good I hope,my only question is I have ordered the grow bible but never comes to my email (why)

By Roy ILGM on 20 July 2016

Hey Neil, there was some trouble with the mailserver but you should’ve received it by now. Enjoy!

By W on 2 August 2016

Hi I believe I have a nitrogen defiencey in (2weeks) flower is this too much or to less nitrogen which I causing my yellow weak leaves failing off? Does anyone know of a solubable solution ? Is it too much. Nitrogen or too less?

By latewood.ILGM on 4 August 2016


In the 2nd week of flower and depending on your nutrient system; Leaves may yellow and ide off due to being used up by the plant.

I suggest you download and read our free grow bible.

I also strongly suggest you join our free grow support forum where we have many friendly and informative members willing to help. I will help you too; “Post my name in the titile” 😉

By Keith Murdock on 16 August 2016

I had a slight nutrient burn on the tips of the leaves followed up by some mites I thought I had resolved all of the issues and about 5 days ago the yellowing you described almost exactly in nitrogen deficiency hit about a dozen of my plants my question is will a nitrogen boost be complicated by my recent nutrient burn.

By latewood.ILGM on 18 August 2016


You mention nutrient burn, and spider mites, and yellow leaves…Not sure where you are going with this. The blog is not as good as our support forum for assisting growers to overcome their grow related issues. !latewood when you get there.

By Pat Lyn on 10 September 2016

My girls are 6 weeks into flower and the budding is going great. My concern is a very rapid yellowing of the lower leaves and on one plant they are turning as they go up the middle of the main stem. I think they loosing faster than gaining, I’m trying to decide if a little nitrogen would help or hurt. Suggestions?

By KidGreenThumb on 11 September 2016

@Pat Lyn; this is totally normal in the later stages of flower as your plant begins to utilize the remaining nutes from its leaves. Your are getting close to harvest time and should check the trichomes using a microscope, when they turn milky to amber in color, chop away..

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