Cannabis deficiencies are a very real part of raising weed — whether you do it on your own or as part of a commercial grow operation.
Whether you’re a brand new gardener, or you’ve been digging in the dirt for a long time, nutrient deficiencies are one of the most common problems you’ll encounter on the way to homegrown bud.
Often, the solution is fairly simple. But, sometimes, keeping your pot plants happy and healthy takes a bit more effort.
We’re here to help!
In this article, the experts at Honest Marijuana discuss how to recognize and fix cannabis deficiencies for a perfect crop of Mary Jane every time.
Common Cannabis Deficiencies
1) Boron Deficiency
Signs Of Boron Deficiency
Here are the major signs of boron deficiency to look for in your plants:
- Abnormal leaf tips
- Thick leaf tips
- Rough stems
- Hollow stems
- Chlorosis (yellowing) of new leaves
Boron plays a significant role in cell growth, so you’ll see this cannabis deficiency express itself at the growing tip of both roots and shoots.
General symptoms of this nutrient deficit include stunting and distortion of the growing tip that can lead to tip death, brittle foliage, and yellowing of lower leaf tips.
How To Fix Boron Deficiency
For best results, start your seeds in a high-quality soil that already contains boron.
If you begin to see symptoms of this cannabis deficiency, try these easy treatments:
- Stop using reverse osmosis (RO) or heavily-filtered water
- Adjust the pH of your soil
- Use a humidifier in your grow room
- Ensure the plants have adequate moisture
In most cases, the number one cause of boron deficiency in cannabis plants is a soil pH above 6.5. Adjust the pH to between 6.0 and 6.5 for best results and then continue watering with tap water instead of filtered water.
2) Calcium Deficiency
Signs Of Calcium Deficiency
Here are the major signs of calcium deficiency to look for in your plants:
- Parachute-shaped leaves
- Malformed leaf tips
- Dying leaf tips
- Death of root tips
- Yellowing at the leaf edges
- Yellow or brown spots
- Dark veins
Calcium is an essential component of both cell walls and cell membranes. If your plant suffers from this cannabis deficiency, new leaves and root tips will show unusual growth, discoloration, and curling.
How To Fix Calcium Deficiency
Unlike some nutrient issues, the remedy for calcium deficiency isn’t to add more calcium to the mix.
Instead, focus on these four fixes first:
- Irrigation — increase the amount of water you give to your plant
- Temperature — increase the temperature in your grow room
- pH — raise the pH of the soil to between 6.0 and 6.5
- Humidity and airflow — add fans to your grow environment to prevent stagnant air
If all of these factors seem to be at optimum levels, you can try adding calcium to your soil with products such as lime (for low-pH soils), gypsum, or bone meal.
Keep in mind when adding products to your soil that they may also contain other nutrients besides just calcium.
3) Copper Deficiency
Signs Of Copper Deficiency
Here are the major signs of copper deficiency to look for in your plants:
- Leaves turn dark with blue or purple undertones
- Tips and edges of leaves turn bright yellow or white
- Leaves develop a shiny or metallic sheen
- Leaves may feel stiff and start turning under
- Buds do not ripen or grow very slowly
In most cases, leaves directly under the light will show signs of copper deficiency first. In other cases, some strains develop copper deficiency during the flowering stage when their leaves will develop a dark purple or reddish hue.
How To Fix Copper Deficiency
Like most of the other cannabis deficiencies on this list, the first steps you should take to fix a lack of copper isn’t to add this nutrient to the soil.
Instead, focus on correcting these issues first:
- Adjust soil pH to the correct range (around 6.5)
- Keep plants hydrated with tap water (filtered water has very low levels of copper)
- Don’t overwater (doing so can lead to root problems)
If you’re unsure where to start with these fixes, we recommend adjusting the pH before the other two. Copper tends to get locked into the soil at certain pH levels, and this will prevent your pot plants from absorbing the nutrient properly
4) Magnesium Deficiency
Signs Of Magnesium Deficiency
Here are the major signs of magnesium deficiency to look for in your plants:
- Leaf tips and edges look brown or burnt
- Leaf tips die
- Leaves turn a pale color
- Lower leaves and older leaves appear damaged
- Leaves develop a yellow color between the veins
- Veins stay green
- Old leaves drop off
- Leaves develop spotty, speckled, or patchy patterns
- Plant or leaves develop twisted growth
- Leaves curl under
- Leaves curl up
- Leaves wither or droop
- Plant withers or sags
These symptoms will start in the lower leaves and eventually work their way up to the middle and upper part of the plant. If left untreated, the growing shoots of the plant will go from pale green to white, and the petioles and stems will turn purple.
How To Fix Magnesium Deficiency
To fix magnesium deficiency in your cannabis plant(s), you’ll need to add nutrients to the soil. Take a trip to your local garden center and purchase one of the following:
- Garden lime
- Worm castings
- Dolomite lime
- Magnesium sulfate
- Epsom salts
Then, follow the instructions on the package to get started. We recommend trying Epsom salts first because it’s relatively cheap, easy to find, water-soluble, and super easy to work with.
Here’s how to fix your soil, cure magnesium deficiency, and put your pot plants back on track.
- Add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water.
- Hydrate your plant as usual.
- When that gallon runs out, add ¾ teaspoon to 1 gallon of water.
- Hydrate as usual.
- When that gallon runs out, add ½ teaspoon to 1 gallon of water.
- Hydrate as usual.
- Continue to reduce the amount of Epsom salts by ¼ teaspoon per 1 gallon of water.
It’s also essential to continue monitoring the pH of the soil throughout this process. The nutrients in the soil and the pH of the soil are the two biggest culprits when it comes to magnesium deficiency.
Keep track of both and your pot plants will be fine.
5) Nitrogen Deficiency
Signs Of Nitrogen Deficiency
Here are the major signs of nitrogen deficiency to look for in your plants:
- Larger leaves turn from pale-green to yellow and white
- Leaf stems and smaller leaves turn reddish or purplish
- Veins and petioles become reddish
- Stems acquire vertical purplish stripes
- Vegetation bursts into forced flowering
- Chlorosis (yellowing) spreads from lower parts to the top of the plant
- Leaves curl and shed
- Tissue develops necrosis
- Yield volumes considerably decrease
- Plants fade prematurely and die
Early signs of this nutrient deficiency start with a slight discoloration (lighter than usual) in more mature leaves. As the plant grows, it appears pale and thin due to insufficient branching and will eventually fade and die.
How To Fix Nitrogen Deficiency
As cannabis deficiencies go, lack of nitrogen in the soil is extremely common. The nice thing is, it’s very easy to put nitrogen back where it belongs to keep your pot plants going strong.
Work organic matter into your soil to add nitrogen, to improve overall soil structure, and to help retain moisture longer.
Good sources of organic matter that contain nitrogen include:
- Animal manure
- Other nitrogen-fixing plants (e.g., legumes)
- Horn meal
- Bone meal
- Fish meal
- Blood meal
- Nettle slag
- Groundnut husks
- Coco peat (coir pith)
If you plan on adding manure to your soil, keep in mind that fertilizer from different animals contains different concentrations of nitrogen. Do a bit of research to find the best option for your plants.
Avoid Cannabis Deficiencies With High-Quality Weed
If you grow your own weed, you’re going to have to watch out for cannabis deficiencies of all kinds.
But, you can avoid this DIY pitfall completely — and experience marijuana the way it was meant to be — by buying high-quality weed at your local dispensary.
And we’re not talking just any Mary Jane. We’re talking the fresh, organically grown ganja gold from Honest Marijuana.
Sure, you could save some coin by buying regs or mids, but they may suffer from cannabis deficiencies — and, thereby, deliver a less-than-stellar experience.
Instead, whenever possible, always buy the best beasters — or headies if you can swing it — to ensure that you get what you pay for.
Plus, with a high-quality, organic strain like those grown at Honest Marijuana, you’ll need less weed to experience the effects you’re after. A toke or two from our high-quality bud goes a long way.
With Honest Marijuana, you’ll get the freshest, tastiest, highest-quality strain possible and avoid the stress of cannabis deficiencies that can harsh your buzz.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100% all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.