When cannabis plants don’t get the correct amounts of nutrients, they become stressed and more susceptible to bugs, mold, and other pathogens. Their growth may also be stunted, resulting in reduced yields.
Identifying cannabis nutrient deficiencies
If pH is off, you can raise or lower it with pH Up or pH Down.
How to identify nutrient lockout in cannabis plants
Symptoms of nutrient deficiency often present as discoloration in leaves, so learning how to identify and treat these cannabis leaf problems and deficiencies can help your plants thrive.
Nutrients are essential for survival! Just like humans need vital nutrients to survive, so do cannabis plants. There are several kinds of important nutrients that the cannabis plant needs, including macronutrients and micronutrients. The pH-levels of your nutrient-water solution play an important role in keeping your cannabis plant healthy. There are some significant signs that the cannabis plant is deficient in nutrients such as boron, copper, calcium, iron, magnesium, nitrogen, and zinc. If these things are happening to you, don’t fret, we have the answers!
Photo courtesy of Royal Queen Seeds
Cannabis requires three primary, or macro-nutrients, for optimal health. These are Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P), and Potassium (K), or N-P-K. All plant-food labels include the percentage of these three elements in numerical form, and are presented as N-P-K levels.
If you have mitigated issues regarding the previously mentioned types of nutrient deficiencies, you should be fine in your garden pursuits. However, there are a handful of other deficiencies that can occur and that cultivators should be aware of:
However, first we will discuss some very important factors to keep in mind when it comes to cannabis plant nutrient deficiencies.
Make it a point to start every garden day with a thorough visual inspection of every part of every cannabis plant in the garden. Pay close attention to the bottoms of every leaf, and pay special attention to the older leaves. Obviously, you want to keep green leaves in place, however, if you see leaves that look like they are dying or look noticeably unhealthy, remove them immediately.
Arguably the most common type of nutrient deficiency during the vegetative phase is nitrogen deficiency. The cannabis plant certainly needs more nitrogen during the flowering phase compared to the vegetative phase, however, some growers make the mistake of not giving their plants enough nitrogen during the vegetative phase. A nitrogen deficiency comes in the form of leaves that turn yellow progressively, starting from the bottom of the plant and moving its way upward to the top of the plant.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies During The Flowering Stage
The amount of water that the plants are being fed is another factor that can affect nutrient uptake. If a cannabis plant is not being fed enough water, it won’t be able to absorb enough nutrients. Conversely, if a cannabis plant is being watered too often, it won’t be able to absorb enough nutrients.
Combining certain nutrients and using them at the same time to feed plants can lead to nutrient uptake deficiencies in cannabis plants as well. Some nutrients effectively cancel each other out when mixed together, and that’s a common issue that arises when inexperienced cultivators make their own nutrient mixes.
It is very common for a cannabis cultivator to see a cannabis plant that looks unhealthy and assume that cannabis nutrient deficiencies are to blame. That is especially true for beginner cannabis cultivators who are seeing a struggling cannabis plant for the first time.
Is It Really A Nutrient Deficiency?
In any of the above scenarios the cultivator will have seemingly fed their cannabis plant(s) the right amount of nutrients, yet their plants will appear to be experiencing cannabis nutrient deficiencies and limited plant growth. The ancillary factors will need to be addressed first, otherwise no change in nutrient feeding levels will fix the actual underlying problem(s).
When a cannabis plant is fed, the plant’s roots absorb nutrients from the moisture and grow medium, or in cases of hydroponics, the water that the roots are suspended in. In layman’s terms, the roots eat the nutrients and get them to where they need to go throughout the plant via a process known as nutrient uptake.