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Every gardener needs to know how to identify when their plants are ill. They should be able to take one look at their plants and determine precisely what is wrong with them. This is even more important for growers of marijuana since they are generally unable to ask others for help and advice regarding cannabis deficiencies.

Not only do you need to be able to diagnose the problem correctly, but you also will need the knowledge and tools to fix whatever is ailing your plants. If you can do this pretty well, you will have a much greater chance of succeeding during your first attempt at growing marijuana.

Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information

First, reflect on whether what you have been feeding your plant has been entirely balanced, specifically with regards to N-P-K. After that, test the pH value of the soil and water that you’ve already been giving them. The nutrients deficiencies can be caused by many things, but the most significant factor is pH value. If the pH levels aren’t perfect, fix them. If they are balanced and your plants still look unhealthy, the issue may be connected to sunlight. This is an easy fix.

Before you get too confused or overwhelmed by the possibilities, make sure you understand the problem. If your plants are receiving plenty of sunlight and a balanced amount of water, the chances are good that the problem lies with the nutrients.

Give your marijuana plants the right dose of health boost with our perfect mix of cannabis nutrients.

Marijuana nutrient deficiency
Marijuana nutrient deficiency

Nutrient deficiencies or disorders inmarijuana plants can occur with every growing technique and in every growing medium. It doesn’t matter if you use rock wool, soilless, aeroponic and hydroponic or soil. In fact, within the world of cannabis cultivation, nutrients issues are a constant concern. Although the macronutrients (potassium (K), phosphorus (P), and nitrogen (N)) are the usual offenders there are others to consider. You can also end up with calcium, zinc, magnesium, or other imbalances, although these are slightly less common.

Indoor marijuana growers usually have more problems with nutrient disorders than outdoor marijuana growers. This is problematic because a nutrient deficiency always slows the growth of the cannabis plants down.

Nutrient disorders sicken the marijuana plant, and a disproportionate amount of nutrients can cause toxicity or nutrient burn. It can also cause the lock-out of other vital minerals. You’ll want to learn how to prevent nutrient deficiencies so that you can increase your chances of success.

Nutrients and pH

How do you know if your plants are deficient? Well, if your plants seem unhealthy, there is a good chance they could have a nutrient deficiency. Usually, you can notice a nutrient deficiency by symptoms in the pH of the water and soil around the plant. A balanced pH can ensure your plants absorb all of the nutrients they need.

The pH scale is how growers measure the acidity or alkalinity of the soil and water around their plant. The scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral pH. 1 is the most acidic while 14 is the most basic (alkaline). When you are watering your plants, you want to be entirely sure that the pH levels are appropriate; otherwise, the plants can be damaged, and their health can deteriorate.

Adjusting the pH is simple. You are simply making the environment (whether soil or water) more alkaline or acidic, depending on its current level. The pH for cannabis should be somewhere near the neutral middle of the pH scale, somewhere around 6 or 7. Although hydroponics systems can sometimes support a cannabis plant with a pH of as low as 5.5, the ideal range is somewhere around 6. Every time you add or remove a nutrient, it affects your plant’s pH and general ability to absorb nutrients. Understanding this relationship will help you grow the healthiest plants.

Nutrients and pH
Nutrients and pH

Testing the pH level is always important, but it is especially so when you need your plants to quickly absorb one or more nutrients. Testing pH levels is also extremely easy. You only need testing strips or a ph meter from a local gardening supply shop. This will help you avoid over or underfeeding your plants. You should also be able to purchase commercial mixes of soil that easily let you modify and stabilize the pH of your own soil. PH strips and meters are also online available at this link.

The closer your pH level is to 7, the faster your plant will absorb nutrients of any kind. With any plant, the best way to feed your plants specific nutrients is through “foliar feeding.” This means making a tea and spraying your plants’ leaves with it. Just be sure to avoid doing this during the middle of the afternoon, when the temperature is at its highest. It is better to do it early in the morning or right when the sun has gone down.

Identifying the lack of nutrients

The most likely explanation for an unhealthy plant is a lack of nutrients in the soil. It can also be due to the roots’ inability to absorb nutrients. That is why it is important to know how to identify which nutrients are posing the issue. In fact, most experienced growers will tell you that the challenge with nutrient deficiencies is not actually providing soil amendments. The challenge is identifying which nutrients are causing the trouble.

Identifying lack of nutrients
Identifying lack of nutrients

You can look at your plant’s symptoms, but just looking can be tricky because many nutrient deficiencies appear the same to the untrained eye. If, after reading this article, you are still unable to identify which nutrient your plant is lacking, try flushing the soil with water. This step will remove any excess nutrients. It also removes the variable of there being a deficiency due to one nutrient being out of balance. Too much potassium, for example, could prevent your plant from taking in iron.

Again,

  • Flush the soil
  • Test the pH level
  • Add whatever you think you need
  • Check the pH level one more time.

Want to find out which nutrients your plants are missing? Continue reading to learn what each nutrient does, why it is important, and how to fix a deficiency.

The big three: macronutrients

Three types of deficiencies are incredibly common when growing marijuana. These aren’t the only problems your plant might face, however they are a good place to start looking. The big three are what’s called macronutrients. As long as your plants have these three foundational nutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium), they will be healthy enough to achieve a decent harvest.

As with most marijuana growing problems, early detection is essential. If you identify problems early, you can make adjustments that keep your plants healthy and guarantee a successful harvest. Here’s how each nutrient functions in the marijuana plant, and how to identify a potential problem.

Nitrogen

Nitrogen is one of the most essential nutrients for healthy plant growth, and because it’s so heavily used by cannabis, it’s not uncommon for plants to develop nitrogen deficiencies. Nitrogen is used for a wide variety of plant processes, from photosynthesis to the production of vital amino acids and chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is essential to the process of photosynthesis while amino acids are what make up proteins so you can understand why this nutrient is vital for a healthy plant.

Nitrogen
Nitrogen

Symptoms of Deficiency

If your plant is experiencing a lack of nitrogen, its symptoms will be mostly seen in older leaves, starting between the base and middle of the plant. In general, the signs of a nitrogen deficiency are yellowing leaves. If the lack is left unchecked, the yellowing leaves can wither and die.

Your nitrogen-deficient cannabis plants will look perfectly green at the top but yellowing more as you look down towards the bottom. Although nitrogen deficiencies will usually begin in the bottom leaves of the plant, they will eventually spread up to the top. Your plant is at the greatest risk for a nitrogen deficiency when it is in its flowering phase. This is because cannabis plants store nutrients in their leaves. The flowering phase will require this stored cache, thus using up all that it has.

One thing people always ask me is when they should harvest their plants. This free PDF doc gives a perfect idea of when to cut your plants.

Your concern should grow if the plant is in its vegetation phase. This is simply because the plant needs healthy, green leaves to catch the sun’s energy. They need the sun to produce as much energy as possible and grow. If the leaves are yellow, they won’t help in this process.

Nitrogen toxicity

Some growers describe seeing symptoms such as the leaves curling over like a claw, with the leaf stems going very brittle. The leaves may also turn a very dark shade of green. If it’s during the flowering phase, the flowering will likely have slowed down as well. In this case, it is probably a pH issue that is leading to nitrogen toxicity. That means that your plant actually has too much nitrogen, but not because you are feeding it too much; instead, it is due to a pH imbalance.

How to Treat It

You will need to find a way to quickly increase the amount of nitrogen that your plant is absorbing. Blood meal is one easy way of doing this, as are dried blood, cottonseed meal, and bat guano (also known as bat manure). There’s also fish meal (also known as fish emulsion) and worm castings (worm “manure”). You can pick any of these up at your local gardening store, or purchase them online.

Always make sure you’re using a fertilizer with the right ratio of macronutrients. These vital nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Plants require extra nitrogen during the vegetative stage of growth, so make sure they are getting enough! If you need a quick nitrogen boost and don’t have time to worry about long-term fixes, you can use bat guano or compost .

Although the yellow leaves won’t ever return to their green state and will instead simply fall off the plant, this doesn’t mean that your plant won’t recover. If treated correctly and promptly, your plant should recover within a week, and new green leaves will replace the lost yellow ones. Before and after you add the soil amendments, be sure you are testing the pH level, as it could increase or decrease when you are treating the nutrient deficiency.

Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information

Phosphorus

While not as common as nitrogen deficiencies, phosphorus deficiencies are a definite possibility, especially in hydroponics systems. Phosphorus is primarily responsible for helping your plant grow roots, as well as increasing the strength of its leaves and stems. It also aids in seedling germination, making it an especially essential nutrient during your plant’s flowering phase. In fact, many would say that phosphorus is actually most important during the flowering phase of growth. If your plant lacks phosphorus during the flowering phase, you will limit the potential yield. Don’t be dainty when providing your plant with phosphorus; it is usually necessary in hefty quantities.

Phosphorus
Phosphorus

Symptoms of Deficiency

If your plant is not taking in enough phosphorus, its growth will slow down, and it will generally appear frailer and lacking life. The initial symptoms of a phosphorus deficiency are darkening foliage and slowing growth. The leaves’ edges on your cannabis plant will lose their vibrant green color – they may even turn brown – and will start to curl in. Other plant parts like petioles will also darken, possibly becoming more blue or red., but it also adds structural strength to the roots and stems of the plant.

These symptoms are more likely to appear during the coldest days of the growing season since this is the time when marijuana plants often have the most difficult time absorbing phosphorus from the soil. In addition to the cold, if the soil is too wet or too alkaline, the same problems will occur.

How to treat it

A greater infusion of phosphorus may be necessary during times of the colder temperatures. You can buy fertilizers and plant foods containing a higher ratio of phosphorus than whatever you were using before. As long as the N-P-K ratio exceeds 5, the substance will be helpful for your plant’s phosphorus deficiency. Fertilizers developed explicitly for the flowering phase work well, as does bat guano. Water-soluble fertilizers will be your best option for maximum efficiency and ease of use.

There are also certain all-purpose plant foods (Miracle-gro, for example) that could work just as well. If you use them, you will need to use only half of how much is recommended on the package – an overdose could be lethal for your plants.

Bone meal, worm castings, and bat guano also provide quite a bit of phosphorus. A harder-to-find solution would be crab shell or crab meal. Many growers use this for any problem that comes up with their plants, but it has a special ability to help with phosphorus deficiencies. Results should be evident within a week. 

Potassium

Potassium deficiencies are relatively common in the world of marijuana growing. This is because, with most fertilizers, potassium occurs in the lowest ratios. Compared to the other macronutrients, less potassium is required by the plant.

However, just like the other two nutrients of the primary three, potassium is vital for your plant to function properly. Potassium is primarily responsible for your plant’s water respiration and resistance of most diseases. Not only that, but it also is helpful in the photosynthesis production and conversion processes. Finally, potassium assists in the water circulation, helping to move water through the entirety of your plant, making it especially important for the flowering and vegetative phases.

Potassium
Potassium

Symptoms of Deficiency

A potassium deficiency has unusual symptoms: the plant might grow taller more quickly and look healthy at first but keep an eye on the lower foliage. If the plant doesn’t have enough potassium, the leaves can turn brown and begin to die. Ultimately, this will slow your marijuana plants’ growth and development.

Indeed, plants that are lacking in potassium will have very slow-growing leaves that might look like they are burnt on their tips and edges. Marijuana plants that are not as rigid or are easily bent or broken (by you or by the wind) might also be lacking potassium. For existing mature leaves, they might appear mottled and yellow in some specific areas (between the veins at first, then the entire leaf). These leaves may also become wholly yellow and die. One of the most harmful effects of a potassium deficiency is that your flowering phase would be delayed, leading to a disappointing yield.

You also might notice areas where growth slows or becomes irregular. Remember that potassium is very important to the transfer of water and other nutrients throughout the plant. This means that if you have a substantial deficiency, it can affect the health of the whole plant.

Different symptoms will occur if your plant has potassium toxicity; the edges will begin to yellow, then the tips will brown, and finally, there may be some spotting, very yellow edges, and curling over of the leaves.

How to Treat it

Because marijuana plants easily and quickly absorb potassium, this particular deficiency should be easily fixed. Even if the pH level isn’t perfect, it still should be able to absorb the nutrient quickly and efficiently. One way to combat a lack of potassium is by adding a fertilizer that has potassium to your store-bought fertilizer (if you are already using it). You can try adjusting the fertilizer mix you are using or add a water-soluble potassium additive as well. If you would prefer an organic method, you can also use wood ashes, kelp meal, granite dust, or sulfate of potash. You should see results within a week.

Grab our complete fertilizer set to help combat nutrient deficiency in your marijuana plants.

The big three: macronutrients

Although the big three macronutrients are the easiest to identify and are the most common deficiencies, advanced growers, in particular, are going to want to know about the rarer deficiencies that could affect their marijuana plants. There are tons of nutrients to consider altogether, so keep reading for some helpful tips.

Magnesium

The purpose of magnesium is to encourage strong, healthy veins and stimulus on the creation of marijuana leaves. It also plays a role in producing chlorophyll and breaking down enzymes.

Magnesium deficiencies are a relatively rare occurrence for outdoor growers of cannabis, but it’s found indoors and with hydroponics systems. Usually, it will affect the lowest leaves of the plant at the beginning, causing them to yellow and weaken. Although it rarely occurs when growing outdoors, a magnesium deficiency can happen in any plant medium and hydroponic system.

When signs of deficiency occur if must be dealt with quickly or else it will become a major problem causing the plant to quickly lose many of its lower leaves. Magnesium is a nutrient that can move around so the plant can move it from the old leaves to new ones. This explains why magnesium deficiency has a tendency to show up towards the bottom of the plant and on the older leaves. Left unchecked, the leaves will die.

This deficiency can also work its way up the plant from bottom to top until it reaches the crown. Magnesium is a crucial element for the development of chlorophyll in the cannabis plant, so don’t let the problem worsen, especially in the early stages of growth.

The easiest and most common way to fix a magnesium deficiency is the application of Epsom salts. Be careful, though, you want to make sure you’ve diagnosed the deficiency correctly before trying to fix it. If you apply too many unneeded nutrients, you could be causing a whole new problem instead of fixing the real issue.

Magnesium
Magnesium

Signs of a magnesium deficiency

Symptoms begin in the lower leaves when they start to turn yellow and show chlorosis. The leaves start turning inward and will soon die. The outlining of the leaves will feel dry and brittle. The deficiency will move up to the middle and upper half of the leaf, and the growing shoots will start going from pale green to white. All of the petioles and stems will also become purple in color.

Sometimes you may notice light brown spotting on the edges if the issue continues to worsen, even though it is possible this could be a little bit of another deficiency that comes along with magnesium deficiency.

One surprising symptom that some growers notice is the development of red stems on their marijuana plants. If you see your plants starting to have stems that are red in color, you can be sure that it is due to a magnesium deficiency. Try to fix the problem with something such as Epsom salts (see below), but even more importantly, test the pH levels of the soil and the runoff. No amount of Epsom salts will help unless the pH levels are balanced.

You can easily avoid and solve magnesium deficiencies once you are aware of how to handle it. We will go into more detail about this below. 

How to fix a magnesium deficiency

There are several ways to resolve magnesium deficiency, but one of the better options is a product called Bergman’s Plant Booster. This is one is very popular because it enhances the quality of your yields and provides a good balance of nutrients.

More options are:

  • Dolomite lime
  • Magnesium sulfate
  • Garden lime
  • Worm castings
  • Epsom salts

Since both Epsom salt and Magnesium sulfate (wiki) are water soluble, they work the best. For hydroponics systems, Epsom salts are by far the simplest solution. For every gallon of water in your tank add a teaspoon of Epsom salts. Give it a quarter of the initial dosage for every consecutive treatment. If you like, you can even add Calcium-Magnesium (available at this link for only $20)

Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information

Magnesium and pH levels

If the pH of your plant’s roots drops too low, the marijuana plant could display signs of magnesium deficiency, even more so in hydro (check these hydro ph levels). This occurs as a result of the pH of the roots not being at the right ratio, which causes the plant to fail to receive magnesium properly from the roots.

Usually, with this deficiency, the magnesium is there, but the roots are not able to receive the magnesium efficiently because of the wrong pH. This is why it is necessary to keep the right pH. It is the easiest way to prevent magnesium deficiency.

Providing additional magnesium to a system that has a pH lock-out will most likely not help. The plant can’t take in any magnesium until the pH is corrected. If your plant has plenty of magnesium, giving it more could cause other deficiencies by shutting out other nutrients the plant needs.

If you’re growing marijuana in soil, magnesium is better received by the roots in the 6.0 – 7.0 pH rate. If you’re growing marijuana in hydro, magnesium is better absorbed when the roots have a pH of 6.0 – 6.5.

Try Flushing

If suspicion sets in and you begin thinking you plant has a magnesium deficiency, flush the system with pure, pH’d water that has a normal dose of marijuana-friendly nutrients in it (including magnesium). This will remove all nutrient salts that may have damaged the plant’s ability to absorb magnesium and help replenish the pH to the right ratio.

Read the article How to rinse a hydro system for more information about flushing.

Boron

Boron
Boron

One of the rarer deficiencies is boron. It’s not common for cannabis cultivation, but it can certainly damage the plant’s potential growth. The most visible signs of boron deficiency happen on growing leaf tips. These areas may begin to turn brown or gray.

Eventually, if there isn’t enough Boron, your plant’s growth will slow significantly or it will just stop. In addition to the damage to those tips, the leaves may also start to develop dead spots. They will be small and scattered and might go easily unnoticed.

Make sure you take counteractive measures to fix boron deficiencies right away. Fixing the problem usually starts with adjusting irrigation processes and making sure you’re getting the boron back into the environment. Boric acid is a simple and common choice for growers, but compost and natural mixes are also potential options to bring the levels back to normal. Read more about boron deficiencies in marijuana plants.

Calcium

Calcium
Calcium

Calcium deficiencies are relatively uncommon for outdoor growers but are not uncommon when growing indoors or in hydroponics systems. Much of this is due to the water. Some areas have water supplies without sufficient amounts of calcium. In those situations, if growers don’t add calcium to their irrigation reservoirs, there likely won’t be enough for the plants to thrive.

Additionally, if you’re growing in a hydroponics system and you’re only using water and nutrients in a solution, then you might be missing a good source of calcium. Calcium deficiencies will usually display symptoms of big dead patches on unusually dark leaves.

The symptoms of calcium deficiencies usually begin in older growth. Branches may weaken, and any additional weight or stress could cause them to crack or break off. If you don’t address a calcium deficiency early, the plant may also develop issues in the root systems. Thankfully, treating calcium deficiency is usually a pretty simple process. Growers often use lime, applying it to the soil or substrate and letting the plant take it from there. Read more about calcium deficiencies in marijuana plants.

Copper

Copper
Copper

Copper deficiencies in cannabis plants are relatively uncommon, but they can cause a lot of damage to new growth. Initial symptoms typically include necrosis of the plant matter in young leaves. Necrosis causes the leaves to look brownish or blue-gray at the tips. These new leaves, flowers, and other new growth can become limp and weak if there isn’t enough copper.

Copper is essential for marijuana plants. Thankfully, it easy to add to a plant’s environment. You need to make sure you do your part. Many fungicides contain copper, but there are other options, too. We’ll cover more of your copper options farther along. Read more about copper deficiencies in marijuana plants.

Iron

Iron
Iron

Iron deficiencies are not uncommon for cannabis plants. The first sign of an iron deficiency is in the new growth of the plant, especially the leaves. The upper leaves will usually be the most affected, becoming discolored and yellowing distinctively.

With an iron deficiency, the veins of the leaf will remain green. However, the leaf itself won’t have enough chlorophyll. Iron holds a vital role in the production of chlorophyll in cannabis plants.

Beware: an iron deficiency and a magnesium deficiency can look very similar. What’s the main difference? An iron deficiency will primarily affect new growth on the plant. That means the top leaves will be affected far more than those at the bottom and middle of the plant.

In general, iron deficiencies often occur alongside improper pH levels, so keep that in mind. This type of deficiency also often partners with manganese and zinc deficiencies. Think your plant is low on iron? Read how to treat iron deficiencies in marijuana plants.

Manganese

Manganese
Manganese

Manganese deficiencies are also relatively uncommon in cannabis cultivation. These deficiencies tend to happen in tandem with zinc and iron deficiencies. If you notice this deficiency, remember to carefully test and analyze your plant’s environment so that you don’t miss others.

This type of deficiency will display symptoms in new growth, primarily in the leaves. The leaves will develop dead spots and begin to yellow. On the other hand, too much manganese can inhibit nutrient absorption and cause iron deficiencies.

Manganese is vital for the creation of chlorophyll and the production of nitrates. Make sure you have plenty of manganese in your nutrient solution or plant substrate. Purchasing this nutrient in a water-soluble form is always a good idea since it simplifies the application process. Many growers also prefer compost or greensand. Read more about manganese deficiencies in marijuana plants.

Molybdenum

Molybdenum
Molybdenum

Molybdenum deficiencies are very uncommon. If they do occur, they will cause unpredictable, and likely, negative effects on your cannabis plant. Without enough of this nutrient, the plant’s middle leaves will begin to yellow. Also, any new foliage will grow out warped or stop growing entirely.

The shoots will begin to curl, and the leaves can develop a strange crimson hue at the tips. Molybdenum aids primarily in the development and production of ammonia for the plant.

One of the main reasons why molybdenum deficiencies are so uncommon in cannabis plants is the tiny amount required. Plants don’t need very much of it. That also means you should show restraint when treating this type of deficiency. Growers often favor sprays and infused solutions to treat the plant. Read more about molybdenum deficiencies in marijuana plants.

Silicon

Silicon
Silicon

Silicon deficiencies almost never occur when growing outdoors, but they are possible in controlled indoor environments. This nutrient is highly abundant in nature. It’s also well represented in fertilizers and nutrient solutions.

Silicon is necessary for plant production in general. A deficiency weakens the branches and stems and inhibits the photosynthesis process. This nutrient also deters insects and pests. That’s why you might notice an increase in insects if your plant is deficient.

To treat a silicon deficiency, growers have a number of different options. Many growers favor diatomaceous earth or liquid silicon. Just remember that silicon deficiencies are rare, and it’s always a good idea to check other causes before trying to add more silicon. Read more about silicon deficiencies in marijuana plants.

Sulfur

Sulfur
Sulfur

Sulfur deficiencies don’t occur too often since most fertilizers include enough of this nutrient. Symptoms of a deficiency include yellowing of new and developing foliage, as well as stunted growth.

The new leaves may also be narrower and more brittle than they should be. Sulfur plays an essential role in a number of different vital processes, including chlorophyll development and root system growth.

If your plants develop sulfur deficiencies, treat them with an application of potassium sulfate or Epsom salts. Read more about sulfur deficiencies in marijuana plants.

Zinc

Zinc
Zinc

Despite the moderately small amount of zinc required in the cannabis plant, zinc deficiencies occur fairly regularly. Symptoms of a zinc deficiency include twisted foliage growth and yellowing of the veins of the older leaves.

It’s also possible for the plant to begin to lose color and grow paler. During the flowering phase, you may notice the same issue in the buds. They may even curl or become deformed. Zinc deficiencies often occur in tandem with iron or manganese deficiencies.

Zinc plays an essential role in many different plant processes, including plant development and the production of vital enzymes. Severe deficiencies can cause the plant to wilt or even break the stem. Because of the linkage between zinc, manganese, and iron, it’s important to exercise caution when treating a zinc deficiency. Read more about zinc deficiencies in marijuana plants.

Getting your plants back to health

If you properly resolve a deficiency issue, the yellowing and discoloration of the leaves should cease almost instantly. Damaged leaves can bounce back to a certain extent. What matters most is that you ensure the issue is not still spreading to the other leaves on the plant.

Don’t remove any discolored leaves until you are confident the issue is resolved. The goal is not to spread the condition to the newer leaves. It is better if any continued discoloration occurs on the leaves that were already damaged.

Once the issue is resolved, then you can remove the damaged leaves. They should be almost completely discolored. Prune lightly when you do so that you do not stress the plant any further. If your leaves aren’t discolored, make sure to leave your fan leaves intact. They are absolutely crucial to the health of your plants.

TIP: Looking to buy seeds? Visit the ILGM marijuana seed shop

Remember, pay close attention to the growth of your plant. If you suspect any issues, use the list of symptoms to determine if there is a deficiency. No matter what type of deficiency your plants had, the new growth will really show you whether they are improving or not. Once you have followed the proper steps to restore balance, remember that it may take a few days before the deficiency is completely cleared up.

If you are concerned about unhealthy plants, lower your risk by starting with great seeds. Plants with strong genetics have less chance of getting sick, that’s why you should always buy marijuana seeds from a trusted seed bank.

FAQ About Marijuana Deficiencies

What steps should you take for plant nutrient deficiency identification?

If your plant seems unhealthy, test the pH value of the water and the soil. Then adjust the pH levels if they’re off.

If the pH levels are balanced, check whether your plant is getting enough sunlight. Once you’ve confirmed that both the lighting and pH levels are okay, your plant likely has some nutrient problems.

How do you diagnose plant problems?

Sometimes, looking for symptoms is not enough. Help identify what is really going on by flushing the soil, and testing the pH level. Then, add whatever you think the plant needs and recheck the pH level.

How do you identify cannabis deficiencies in leaves?

Leaves display several symptoms when a plant has a deficiency. They might turn into a dark green shade, yellow, or brown around the edges. The leaves might also curl over, develop dead spots, or become dry and brittle.

The founder of I Love Growing Marijuana, Robert Bergman, is a marijuana growing expert that enjoys sharing his knowledge with the world. He combines years of experience, ranging from small-scale grows to massive operations, with a passion for growing. His articles include tutorials on growing... [read more]

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  1. By robert morgan ,18 Apr 2015
    I have your grow bible but I don't have the plant care book can you help. thanks I love your site
  2. By isotonix ,22 Apr 2015
    It's appropriate tjme to make some plans for the long run and it is time to be happy. I havve read this put up and if I may just I want to recommend you few attention-grabbing issuss or advice. Perhaps […]Read More
  3. By Mike ,29 Apr 2015
    Finally a website with related pictures for growers. I was able to pin point exactly my issue and ways to help fix the issue. Thanks
  4. By mike ,30 Apr 2015
    I have a huge problem as soon as I'm in flowering my leaves start to get brown spotting or necrosis spots then they turn brown with the fan leaves curling up then some twist til the infected leaves becomes brittle […]Read More
    1. By CuriousJane ,29 Sep 2016
      How did u get this resolved?
    2. By Ben frank ,08 Dec 2017
      By mike April 30 2015 did you ever figure out what was going on?
    3. By k ride Kush ,07 Feb 2018
      Do you hand water? check run-off, you probably have high PPM or PH with salt build up. Water more often until 15% run-off if in Rockwool. Had deficiency in RW all the time when I hand watered.
  5. By Dane Bowen ,18 May 2015
    I think you made a mistake in " The best pH levels for marijuana plants". You say "The scale ranges from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral pH. 14 is the most acidic while 1 is the most basic […]Read More
    1. By Jennifer ILGM ,20 May 2015
      Dane thanks for noticing, you are right. I will correct it right away!
      1. By Elisabeth ,20 Jan 2017
        Seriously ! Reading and depending on this article and the one of most important pieces of information is incorrect . Correct the mistakes already it's 2017 .
        1. By Roy ILGM ,23 Jan 2017
          Hi Elisabeth, this was rectified in 2015 :)
        2. By Pnizzle ,28 Oct 2017
          Who cares what more acidic or not. Ph is 5.8-6.3. Period
    2. By Andrew McDonnell ,13 May 2016
      Its worth noting the scale is logarithmic, this means 7 is 10 X more alkaline that 6
    3. By versant ,31 Jul 2018
      think you got that backwards...0 is most acidic 14 most alkaline
  6. By Stop Root Rot On Marijuana Plants Now! ,16 Jul 2015
    […] a hydroponic system, which will help with any root-based diseases or conditions, as well as making nutrients more available for absorption by the […]
  7. By Increase Your Marijuana Yield – 5 Tips ,20 Jul 2015
    […] Nutrient deficiencies are also detrimental to the health of your plants, so you need to find the balance between the two extremes. It is actually generally the safer option to err on the side of too little nutrients. If […]Read More
  8. By Why Are My Marijuana Plant Stems Purple? ,20 Jul 2015
    […] you suspect that your marijuana plant may have a nutrient deficiency, maybe because the plant growth has slowed down or the color of the leaves is fading, then your […]
  9. By Stop Copper Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,24 Jul 2015
    […] sure if your plants have a copper deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  10. By Symptom Checker – Identify Marijuana Plant Problems ,24 Jul 2015
    […] pH Fluctuations […]
    1. By Peggy ,01 Aug 2020
      Still after l have read through nutrient deficiency,i can't pipoint what is wrong with my plants i have sent email and pictures will someone help before its to late
      1. By Dawn ,02 Aug 2020
        Can you post the pics here ? Or you can email them to me & I will help you figure out what is the most likely problem.
  11. By Seedling Stage For Marijuana Plants ,28 Jul 2015
    […] For a list with all nutrient deficiencies check the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants […]
  12. By Stop Leaf Problems With Marijuana Plants Now! ,03 Aug 2015
    […] the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all possible nutrient […]
  13. By Stop Manganese Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,03 Aug 2015
    […] getting closer to the tips. Not sure if your plants have a manganese deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  14. By Stop Sulfur Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,03 Aug 2015
    […] sure if your plants have a sulfur deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  15. By Stop Phosphorus Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,03 Aug 2015
    […] sure if your plants have a phosphorus deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  16. By Stop Calcium Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,03 Aug 2015
    […] to it will not be a bad idea. Not sure if your plants have a calcium deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  17. By Best Compost and Fertilizers for Outdoor Marijuana Plants ,24 Aug 2015
    […] your plant deficient and dying: When fed organic substances, marijuana plants will only take in the nutrients they need, leaving the rest in the soil. The remaining nutrients are broken down slowly, which […]
  18. By The Cannabis Nutrient Guide to Grow Healthy Plants – ,24 Aug 2015
    […] Click here for a list with all Marijuana Nutrient Deficiencies […]
  19. By Jeff Phinney ,05 Sep 2015
    I cannot find feeding schedule for the three bottles of of nutrients,grow ,flower, and mass.All other information that I have read is great. Please send feeding schedule Thanks, Jeff
  20. By Marijuana Seedling Problems ,23 Oct 2015
    […] your plant has a nutrient deficiency, then its leaves will probably look pale or yellowing, and you might also see signs of other leaf […]
  21. By Stop Magnesium Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,09 Nov 2015
    […] detail about this below. Not sure if your plants have a magnesium deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  22. By Stop Molybdenum Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,10 Nov 2015
    […] a lack of iron or copper. Not sure if your plants have a molybdenum deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  23. By Stop Potassium Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,10 Nov 2015
    […] sure if your plants have a potassium deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  24. By Stop Iron Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,13 Nov 2015
    […] sure if your plants have an iron deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  25. By Stop Nitrogen Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,24 Nov 2015
    […] sure if your plants have a nitrogen deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  26. By Stop Zinc Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,18 Feb 2016
    […] and possibly kill the plant. Not sure if your plants have a zinc deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  27. By Stop Boron Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now! ,24 Mar 2016
    […] sure if your plants have a boron deficiency? Read the article Nutrient deficiencies in marijuana plants for a list with pictures of all […]
  28. By Controls and Treatments – An Overview – ,24 Mar 2016
    […] Now that we have covered the basics regarding creating optimal growing conditions for your cannabis garden, we will address control options, beginning with correcting nutritional deficiencies. […]
  29. By Scott ,31 Mar 2016
    I have rust color on leaves in middle an going up to top of plant not sure what it is could use some advice. Hole leaves are turning rust color looks like they are dying off. Please help
  30. By Scott ,31 Mar 2016
    Don't see any resent post all from 2015
    1. By Jennifer ILGM ,01 Apr 2016
      Hi Scott, the post date is when the post was published, but the articles are updated often if not weekly, so you will always get the latest information.
  31. By latewood.ILGM ,01 Apr 2016
    Scott, We post here all the time. I see a bunch of posts above your 2 posts and many from 2015. All topics do not have activity unless someone has, or believes they have that issue. Most of the support […]Read More
  32. By Joe Gandolfo ,12 May 2016
    couple of my plants have white spots on leaves. the rest of them are perfect. my ph levels are 6.5 any idea?
  33. By Cody Martin ,12 May 2016
    Thanks Robert awesome information, your a true inspiration. Thanks for all valuable information
  34. By latewood.ILGM ,15 May 2016
    Joe Gandolfo, It could be many things. Young plants can get white spots from you misting plants and light bveing amplified through the moisture and resulting in spots. It could be spider Mites which will present itself on more leaves […]Read More
  35. By latewood.ILGM ,15 May 2016
    Cody Martin, On behalf of Robert me say; "Thanks for your kind words. We try to heelp all aspiring Medical Marijuana growers" Perhaps you would enjoy the fellowship of our support forum.
  36. By Stoney Burke ,18 May 2016
    Alaska Hemp has been promoting ilovegrowingmarijuana.com for years, I know several growers that have your Grow Bible and this article is just one more example of why you are Alaska Hemp™ Approved.
  37. By thomas brown ,09 Jun 2016
    Silicon will not cause a deficiency in a cannabis plant. yes it is very beneficial if u do provide it,but the info u posted is 100% false.
  38. By latewood.ILGM ,12 Jun 2016
    thomas, I do not believe anyone siad that Silicon caused a deficiency. I rerad the post and it states that raily is there a Silicon deficiency. Thanks for your input. :)
  39. By Andre ,08 Aug 2016
    the leaf pic that made me research your add what is that defic? manganese? calcium? this is what i have
  40. By Court ,05 Dec 2016
    The picture above the title (Nutrient Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants) looks exactly like my leaf! What is its diagnosis?
    1. By Merry Skankster ,06 Jul 2017
      What did you do....was it successful?
  41. By latewood.ILGM ,06 Dec 2016
    Court, I suggest you go to our support forum. At our support forum, you can post a picture, and give details in order to help us give you a more informed answer. I cannot in good faith diagnose a plant […]Read More
  42. By thedude ,01 Jan 2017
    I have a young femonized, autoflower blueberry plant. It is 2 weeks old. They younger leaves look a bit yellow. Temp is going between 70-80, watering with ph of 6, fan is on. I am using miracle gro perilite with […]Read More
    1. By Roy ILGM ,02 Jan 2017
      Hey dude, the experts on our support forum can help you crunch the numbers and figure out if you have an issue. Have a look!
  43. By Merry Skankster ,06 Jul 2017
    What's going on in the top picture? I couldn't find that exact leaf with a diagnosis. Thanks!
  44. By Merry Skankster ,12 Jul 2017
    Checking it out now. Thanks for the info and link. I have rallied through it...I think. Colorado sun and burning through the soil's nutrients faster than I have seen. Ready to learn! :) Thanks!
  45. By Dave ,01 Sep 2018
    I think you should mention the product called hydroguard in your article. Many hydro growers including myself have found that using this product when you have high water temps will prevent and eliminate root rot altogether. This isn't an end […]Read More
  46. By James ,24 Feb 2019
    Good stuff. Thanks for sharing your observations.
  47. By Isaac ,09 Mar 2019
    I am having a hard time determining if plants are having nutrient burn or some nutrient deficiencies. Maybe you guys can help?
    1. By Isaac ,09 Mar 2019
      I think the most notable thing is that the new growth seems most affected. Turning brown from edges inward. point first then back. No nutrients have been given in more than a week, and I'm just concerned of giving too […]Read More
      1. By latewood ILGM ,20 Mar 2019
        Isaac, Most nutrient companies have a feeding schedule on their website. I would advise you to check that out. If you need grow support, go here: support.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com where we are set up to help you grow successfully.
  48. By Renato Motta ,16 Mar 2019
    I would like to ask you to take of this picture of me holding the pH metter... I posted this photo on Growroom almost 10 years ago and i didn't gave you the permission to use it... Thanks!
    1. By Stacy ILGM ,19 Mar 2019
      This is our own photo. The complete picture shows the pH meter dipped in a cup with an I Love Growing Marijuana sticker on it. :)
  49. By Barry ,02 May 2019
    I’ve developed a problem in half my plants that see to mirror the calcium phot in your post. They’re about 3 months old and up until now were doing great. I’ve always tested then balanced The ph so the water […]Read More
  50. By Derrick Bryant ,29 May 2019
    My girls are dying the tips and flowers are turning brown... Turned watts on metal halide down to 500 and have fan blowing on plants stopped feeding them nitrogen and flushed for three days p. H I water is good???!!
  51. By Sunny ,01 Jul 2019
    Some of my plants have darker green outer leaf and yellowing close to the stem how to resolve
  52. By joseph ,04 Mar 2020
    thanks eric for all your help are plants are thriving we had to add magnesium they are healthy under 400 hps bulbs we love black berry well be back for girl scout cookies in near future
  53. By Shelby ,14 Mar 2020
    I have bought the five nuturants from Burgman the directions say mix half ts spoon per gallon for most of them but no where can i find how much or how often to use im in the veg stage now […]Read More
  54. By Paul ,01 Apr 2020
    People overfeed too. You should list and show info about nutrient overkill. Too much of something can be as bad as or worse than a deficiency
  55. By scott ,02 May 2020
    What a Wonderful site the Pics and the information is the best, If you follow the tips you can not fail, Thanks
  56. By Chris ,14 Jun 2020
    Can I give my plants Phosphorous without it being in the flowering phase? I have 12 plants and 1 is showing signs of flowering( Outdoor grow) if that helps
  57. By J ,30 Jun 2020
    I am a first time grower trying my best. I cannot figure out the issue I am having. I thought it may have been a deficiency but cannot figure out the deficiency. Can anyone help?
    1. By J ,30 Jun 2020
      I wanted to post a pic but it isn’t letting me or I’m not sure how.
  58. By Grant ,18 Jul 2020
    This seamd to help me when others seam to just driball shit
  59. By Stuart ,21 Aug 2020
    Why is my plant light yellow in color? It is 10 weeks old and ready to harvest.
  60. By Mango ,17 Sep 2020
    I'm growing in the tropics and having troubles with getting my soils right. While my seedlings look healthy,the lower part of the stems are thinner and not as healthy as the upper half,any ideas?
  61. By Mayor ,11 Oct 2020
    Hi guys, I have a question about my plants leaves are red. Will they be safe to smoke?
  62. By James ,22 Oct 2020
    My plants have yellow and brown tips on leaves and some are clawing under, I'm using advanced nutrients ph perfect grow micro boom as well as b-52 and voodoo juice, im mixing pretty weak my ppm is 520 and ph […]Read More

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