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 marijuana
Blabbing and bragging about growing marijuana – Image powered by Zenpype.com

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
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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.

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 marijuana seeds
Poor genetics marijuana seeds – Image powered by Growweedeasy.com

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
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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.

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
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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
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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
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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

Overwatering marijuana plants
Overwatering marijuana plants – Image powered by Growweedeasy.com

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.

Over-pruning

Over-pruning
Over-pruning – Image powered by Growweedeasy.com

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.

FAQ

What do you need to start growing marijuana?

You will need a light source (sunlight or artificial lighting), a supply of fresh air (plants feed on carbon dioxide) and a source of food (fertilizers or a large soil).

What is the best soil for growing marijuana?

While shopping for the soil, the options available at your local garden store might overwhelm you. Consider the type of soil as the fundamental structure of your soil. Look at nutrients, micro-organisms and other changes from there that improve your soil.

What are the best nutrients for growing marijuana?

Cultivating a diverse and healthy population of soil microbes and mycorrhizae in the soil is key to successful organic growing. The best (and cheapest) method of inoculating your soil is through actively aerated compost tea (AACT), something you can make with just a few cheap items.


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

Robert

Robert Bergman

Robert Bergman is an Amsterdam-based marijuana grow expert who has years of experience from small grows to massive operations. His passion for growing lead him to develop his own Gold Leaf strain. Now, Robert is dedicated to sharing his knowledge with the world.... [Read full bio]

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    97 comments on “9 Common Mistakes Made By New Marijuana Growers”

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    1. 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?

      Reply
      • Don’t go with to many nutrients if you use to many they can get locked into your plant and even flushing won’t help, the joint will keep going out and you will have shitty black ash

        Reply
      • Hi I’m a newbie period my Lucy’s get started. They grow a nice tail and I put them in the dirt covering without an eighth of an inch of soil and then I water the little grow cup completely 5 days after they’ve been the soil the root is disappeared what am I doing wrong

        Reply
    2. 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.

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

      Reply
      • Yes……..you 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!!

        Reply
        • I can’t get my seeds to germinate tried 3 one erupted ans its very small and looks already over watered

          Reply
      • Jay,

        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

        Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
    4. 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.

      Reply
    5. 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

      Reply
      • 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.

        Reply
      • Don’t be dude, they are the real deal. I was thinking the same but 2 otders later I am totally sold on these groovers

        Reply
    6. 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

      Reply
      • I’m growing for my first time indoor with tent.. Was told to trim big leaves off , to help nutrients to other parts of plants. But I’m afraid, I’m doing to much. Seen videos , where they just let them , die naturally???? Thanks so much

        Reply
        • Bill A Moon,

          go to: support.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com in order to get this level of support. tag me @latewood when you post your grow pictures.

          I do not advise trimming or pruning leaves until the plant os more mature. Also; Removing the Fan leaves (heart and lungs of the plant) does not promote better nutrient uptake. The leaves help draw the nutrition and converts to sugars for the process. There are several advanced methods that call for removal of leaves but, I recommend you learn how to grow the plant successfully before hacking it all up! 🙂

          IN middle veg (1 month) It is advisable to trim of all leaf and stems at the bottom of the plant to allow for better air circulation. That’s it.

          Hope to see you at ILGM

          Reply
    7. mohammad,

      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

      Reply
    8. 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.

      Reply
      • 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.

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

      Reply
    10. 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

      Reply
    11. 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 .

      Reply
    12. 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!!!

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

      Reply
    14. Mark,

      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! 🙂

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

      Reply
      • 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 🙂

        Reply
    16. 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?

      Reply
      • Chrsiti,

        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

        Reply
    17. Christi,

      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 😀

      Reply
      • 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. 🙂

        Reply
    18. 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.

      Reply
      • Jim,

        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. 🙂

        Reply
    19. Yup in the same boat as a few others here ordered my seeds mid 2017 & still recieved nothing after contacting ILGM support & getting the run around& no refund, they said they would do a refund or send another free of cost so I agreed for them to send another package, funny huh that didn’t arrive either, i smell something fishy here!… Lost costumer here

      Reply
    20. Hello fellow green thumbs. I ordered some seeds in November & they turned up in descret packaging within 2-3 weeks. (I’m in New Zealand) I’m now waiting on my second order. Not all my seeds have “cracked” open but do have a couple of plants growing.
      Excellent advice on here & all helpful hints are appreciated. Happy growing

      Reply
    21. I have ordered seeds from Robert twice so far and both times they have arrived quickly and have all germinated— every single time. Thank you! (and hope this continues.)

      Reply
    22. THIS IS A TALE TO ALL WHO GROW IN PLACES THAT ARE NOT LEGAL!!!!!!! YET. I HAVE CRONIC LOWER BACK PAIN. I SUFFER FROM CHRONIC SPINAL STENOSIS AND ONLY A HAND FULL OF CERTAN TYPES OF HERB GIVE ME ANY RELIEF. OPIOID MEDS HAVE GOT TO A POINT THAT THEY DO NOT WORK ANY MORE. I AM STILL ON MORPHINE ER, AND OXYCODONE ALONG WITH A BUNCH OF CRAP THAT IF I COULD USE MEDICAL MARIJUANA I COULD GET OFF A LOT OF THESE PAIN PILLS I HAVE TOOK FOR YEARS. MAYBE IN TIME. BUT THE REASON I AM DROPING A NOTE TO THOUGHS THAT DO GROW “DO NOT SAY A WORD TO ANYBODY. STOP NO BODY. IT WILL BITE YOU IN THE ASS. THIS MONTH I WILL BE OFF MY 2 YR. PROBATION I GOT ALONG WITH 12DAYS HOME ARREST AND 1,400.00 DOLLARS STOLEN (BY STATE POLICE) NOT LOGED ON EVERYTHING THEY TOOK FROM ME AS EVIDENCE. I WAS NOT EVEN GROWING ANYTHING AT THE TIME. MY BAD FOR KEEPING A LOG BOOK. LONG STORY SHORT WAS A HEALTH PROVIDER WHO WAS AT THE TIME MY GIRLFRIEND WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO NEW WHAT I DID. I LIVED ALONE, NOBODY CAME AROUND AND I HAD GROWN FOR 6 YEARS IN A TENT IN MY BASEMENT BED ROOM NEVER USED. ONE DAY SHE FINDS ANOTHER MAN AND TOOK WHAT SHE SAID SHE WOULD TAKE TO HER GRAVE AND WAS GONE. THE NEW BOYFRIEND SMOKED SOME THAT SHE HAD TOOK FROM ME AND I HAD 3 STATE BOYS KNOCKING ON MY DOOR. KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT. DONT SMOKE WITH FRIENDS (YOUR PAIN KILLING WEED) BECAUSE THEY WANT TO KNOW WHERE THEY CAN GET SOME. I WILL NOT GO BACK TO GROWING BECAUSE OF THE YEAR LONG TIME THEY PUT ME THROUGH TO DO 15 MINS. IN COURT, BUT THEY JUST MADE ONE EXCUSE AFTER ANOTHER TO PUT IT OFF FOR A WEEK OR TWO. I HOPE THIS HELPS SOME NEW GROWER FROM GETTING EVERYTHING TAKEN FROM HIM OVER WHAT FINALLY WAS PUT IN THE PAPER AS CULTAVATING LESS THAN 5 PLANTS FOR OWN USE.

      Reply
    23. Thanks for the hints. I realized last year growing in my garden that the plants were struggling. Looking back, I can check several thingson your list as my boo-boos!

      Reply
    24. Robert I have been doinging this sience I was 14 I started behind the barn and it had a mixture of cow shit and horse shit and the 100 plants istarted wiyh all came up whitch schocked me and I have been doing it ever sience so for 6 to come and the rest not to it baffals me chuck from fl

      Reply
    25. Been growing outdoors for a few years now. I’ve tried using commercial nutrients and found my plants did better with just compost. This year I’m doing lSD. Does anyone have any advice or Tips?

      Reply
    26. I’m Not sure how to post in the forum correctly. But ive learned lots of information and feel that my plants are beautiful. Ive read so much of your information snd appreciate everything i teaf from you guys. Thank you

      Reply
    27. Thank you it was kind of you to provide this truly valuable information. I learned two things I did not know

      Reply
    28. Ordered my beans on April4 and got them April 8 I am shocked. In the 5 years of growing I have never got beans so quick. I am in Awe. Ilgm has my attention. If my Bruce banner goes well they will be my go to guys -“PERIOD”

      Reply
    29. my 2nd year. received seeds in 3 days. better than expected crop last year. can’t wait to grow the “berry kush” this summer. very happy with my purchase..

      Reply
    30. gotta admit I was a little skeptical but after about a week they came through. they will be getting my business again

      Reply
    31. I downloaded the grow bible and am very glad I did also reading the e-mails have helped me very much thank you!

      Reply
      • My plants came up about a week ago. The stems are about 4inches tall but the leaves are still very Small. Color is good just vert small. Can you help?

        Reply
    32. I will be harvesting my harvesting my first plants from these guys Super Sour Diesel. The plants are Amazingly beautiful, nice and sticky with zero health problems! Excellent Genetics as promised this was my first purchase from ILGM and very happy as an experienced grower I very highly recommend these guys will be buying again very soon!!

      Reply
    33. Leaves Have Lost serated edges. Seeds came from medical. Was agood indica.rounded leaves come out curly then straiten.any one Seen this. Are plants ant good? Also very hairy at early age.

      Reply
    34. I’m growing Green crack, probably half way through flowering Stage, I’m now Finding
      a white powdery substance on some of the Leaves?

      Reply
    35. My plants are Getting a few leaves with brown tips on them! I have been using Earth Grow fertilizer in the flowering stage. I have been 2 days EGF and 1 day just water. Should i just skip the EGF for a few days? I’m also needing to find a strain that is close to Grand Daddy Purple for my next grow. Any suggestions will be appreciated.

      Reply
    36. As a joke I germinated a baggie with 30 seeds that I found in a box in my garage. I figured 4 or 5 would pop, nope 29 little white sprouts, so I threw them into 2 24inch X 6 inch planters again expecting 4 or 5 to sprout. It’s now 5 weeks later I have 3, 14watt, 24inch led grow lites and 12 plants in nine 1 gallon pots along with 6 more in one of the 24inch planter that has a 10 watt grow bulb. They all look healthy ranging in size from 8 inches to about 3 inches. I know that its time to transplant them into final pots I only have room for 6 maybe 8. Which ones do I keep and what lite should I be using? I’m guessing that I’m going to need a 4×2 grow tent and a filter system. ..Any suggestions I don’t want to spend much more money. This started as a joke but providing for personal use would be nice

      Reply
    37. I’m really new to this growing thing; I’ve never grown REGULAR plants…let alone, gas I have a 2 part question: how can you tell if your plant is dead (in beginning stages)? #2 of the plant stem is skinny & flimsy (started on the 30th of March) does that mean the plant is dead? If so, anything I can do to bring it back to life? Thanks everyone! Happy growing

      Reply
    38. Can I grow Bergmans gold leaf and purple haze next to each other or do they grow at varying rates and different heights which will make it difficult to adjust lights?

      Reply
    39. I’m growing outdoors in containers. The soil will get dry in the top inch but a moisture meter shows me it’s wet down deep. Water or not?

      Reply
    40. Can anyone tell me what size pots are good for autoflower seeds? I just saw that autoflower seeds don’t like being repotted. After sprouting, what size pot? Thank you.

      Reply
    41. I have a 5×5 grow tent and I haven’t setup my air system yet. My seedlings are around 2″ tall. I’m having a hard time getting the humidity to stay up.

      Reply
    42. The kush seeds i got from u are about 5inches high.ph is 6.5 not sure if i need to give them anything else what u think.suggestions please.

      Reply