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Nitrogen Deficiency:

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

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.

Sings of nitrogen deficiency weed
Sings of nitrogen deficiency

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.

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.

Tip: make sure to download my free Grow Bible for more information about how to fix Nitrogen Deficiency

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.

Nitrogen deficiency vegetative state
Nitrogen deficiency vegetative state

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.

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.

nitrogen deficiency harvest
Nitrogen deficiency right before harvest time

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

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.

Grow booster to fix a nitrogen deficiency
Grow booster to fix a nitrogen deficiency

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.

Nitrogen Deficiency leafs
Nitrogen Deficiency leafs explenation

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

Robert

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]

44 Comments

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  1. By Kyle Sacker

    ,24 Jun 2015
    Clean your room with Grow Clean!!
  2. By dutch

    ,18 Jul 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 […]Read More
  3. By Symptom Checker – Identify Marijuana Plant Problems

    ,20 Jul 2015
    […] Nitrogen deficiency […]
  4. By latewood

    ,21 Jul 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 […]Read More
  5. By Best Soil Mixture For Outdoor Marijuana Plants

    ,03 Aug 2015
    […] else its yield will not be optimum. Three foundational nutrients that you will need to focus on are nitrogen (N), potassium (P), and phosphorus (K). The fewer these nutrients, the less weed you will […]
  6. By Stop Cats And Dogs Harming Your Marijuana Plants Now!

    ,03 Aug 2015
    […] is especially damaging to your plants because cat urine contains large amounts of ammonia and nitrogen – this will burn your plants. If you ever see your cat (or the neighbor cat) peeing on your plants, […]
  7. By Stop Molybdenum Deficiencies In Marijuana Plants Now!

    ,03 Aug 2015
    […] people mistake a molybdenum deficiency for a nitrogen deficiency. The key to distinguishing between the two is noticing where the condition starts. With a nitrogen […]
  8. By Marijuana Seedling Problems

    ,03 Aug 2015
    […] will probably look pale or yellowing, and you might also see signs of other leaf discoloration. A nitrogen deficiency is almost always at fault, and this will make the leaves include brown with the yellow, and will go […]
  9. By Jasper

    ,10 Dec 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 […]Read More
  10. By latewood.ILGM

    ,12 Dec 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. […]Read More
  11. By eagles

    ,19 Dec 2015
    when repotting would it be best to have fertilizers mixed into the soil rather than to start pumping nutes after the transplant
  12. By latewood.ILGM

    ,22 Dec 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.
  13. By Jprez

    ,10 Jun 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 […]Read More
  14. By latewood.ILGM

    ,12 Jun 2016
    Jperz, 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 […]Read More
  15. By dickiefickle

    ,07 Jul 2016
    picture with caption Nitrogen Toxicity , but when clicked it talks about Nitrogen deficiency
  16. By Neil scaife

    ,20 Jul 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)
    1. By Roy ILGM

      ,20 Jul 2016
      Hey Neil, there was some trouble with the mailserver but you should’ve received it by now. Enjoy!
    2. By Sheila

      ,14 Jul 2017
      May be a dumb question to you, but did you down load ? My download took almost 2 hours to completely show up on my computer. May be this may help, if not , just trying to help
  17. By W

    ,02 Aug 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. […]Read More
    1. By latewood.ILGM

      ,04 Aug 2016
      W, 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 […]Read More
  18. By Keith Murdock

    ,16 Aug 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 […]Read More
    1. By latewood.ILGM

      ,18 Aug 2016
      Keith, 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 […]Read More
  19. By Pat Lyn

    ,10 Sep 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 […]Read More
    1. By KidGreenThumb

      ,11 Sep 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 […]Read More
  20. By Douglas Allen

    ,30 Jan 2017
    Just started my first plants but stock is very week just got their first leaves is this a sign of not enough nitrogen have them supported up with Bobby pins lol
    1. By latewood_ILGM

      ,01 Feb 2017
      Douglas, Seedlings do not need Nitrogen until they have 4-5 true sets of leaves. I strongly advise you to read our free grow bible, and to join our support forum. We have many helpful members and expert alike that would […]Read More
  21. By Joe Green

    ,24 Oct 2017
    Wow, talk about an article that sends you off on a terrible path! lol. Not one of those images is a nitrogen deficiency!!! Then on one you put ‘nitrogen deficiency before harvest’??? LOL..plants don’t use nitrogen just before harvest anymore! […]Read More
    1. By latewood_ILGM

      ,30 Oct 2017
      Joe, You are just so full of yourself. actually; It is a Nitrogen deficiency. We know this because we starved the plant of Nitrogen in order to create the issue for the article. 2ndly, The plant will uptake Nitrogen as […]Read More
  22. By CBDiva

    ,29 May 2018
    Thank you for including “urine” in your list of nitrogen solutions. People need to get over their aversion to this because it’s an excellent (and free) organic fertilizer. I dilute mine at a 12:1 ratio & it perks my plant […]Read More
  23. By Fred Pen

    ,15 Jun 2018
    How much N should you feed and how often? 1/16th of a pound of actual Nitrogen per plant every 2 weeks ??? Is urea the best source?
    1. By latewood_ILGM

      ,19 Jun 2018
      Fred, There is no magic amount of fertilizer (nitrogen) to add. First of all, it depends on the size of your grow. If you are taking a measured asmount of Nitrogen and adding it to an acre; You would have […]Read More
  24. By Anna

    ,27 Aug 2018
    I have plenty of good horse manure, how can I add it to my plants growing outside in pots in southern Spain. Thank you.
    1. By latewood_ILGM

      ,28 Aug 2018
      Anna, You should mix up manure with soil and other amendments prior to adding to a pot. Another thing to know is that the manure needs to be cured for 6-12 months before adding it to your soil Manure os […]Read More
  25. By curt

    ,11 Sep 2018
    my plants are flowering and on week 4. for about the last 3 weeks the growth has slowed and the leaves are droopy, very dark green, and some have a glossy, waxy look on the top surface. I haven’t fertilized […]Read More
    1. By latewood_ILGM

      ,12 Sep 2018
      curt, I advise you to go to: support.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com and allow us to help you. We are not set up here to have continued discussions and I have a feeling this will be more of a Q and A, than a […]Read More
  26. By CBDiva

    ,31 Oct 2018
    My entire plant keeps going yellow on Week 7! Both are autoflowers; one grown in a Solo cup & the other in a 3-gallon fabric pot. I thought the first one did that because it was confined to the small […]Read More
    1. By latewood_ILGM

      ,04 Nov 2018
      CBDIVA, You really should join our support forum. I think you would enjoy the friendly sharing atmoshere and learn a bunch. 🙂 Well, yellowing that fast can be because the plant media got too dry, and the leaves gave up […]Read More
  27. By william lebron

    ,14 Nov 2018
    Hello Robert, I was wondering if you still happened to carry the flower power start, bloom and grow and the thc boost for $39.00 if so please email me back with an address.
    1. By Stacy ILGM

      ,14 Nov 2018
      We still sell them William! Feel free to place your order here: https://shop.ilovegrowingmarijuana.com/collections/nutrients-additives

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