high quality organic cannabis
July 7th, 2019
The life of every home grower involves combating some common cannabis problems. There is no way to avoid this inevitability, so it’s best to educate yourself as much as possible so you can face these ailments head on.
Fortunately, as you become more adept at growing, you can take active steps to minimize the most common issues. Not only that, the cannabis plant is resilient and can endure some pests and less-than-optimal conditions long enough for you to properly diagnose them. This means you will have to don your detective hat to see if you can determine what is the best course of action.
To help you, we have compiled this list of the most common cannabis ailments and how you can diagnose them.
This is probably the most common problem new home growers face. Fortunately, this is an easy fix: adjust your watering schedule!
An underwatered cannabis plant has droopy leaves that just hang there. You will also notice that your plant is growing slower than it was before. If this is the issue you’re experiencing with your plants, it’s time to both water them more abundantly and frequently. If this is true the issue, giving your cannabis plant the water it craves will typically have them standing back upright and looking perkier within the hour.
Overwatering the cannabis plant, in contrast, causes the leaves to curl downwards and appear very rigid. This is because they are full of water. You will also notice growth slowing in this scenario. You’ll want to address overwatering quickly, as it can lead to root rot.
The solution to overwatering is just as simple: water less frequently. You can determine how often you should water your plants by checking the soil. Stick your finger in, and if it is dry an inch deep, this indicates that your cannabis is thirsty. If it’s not, then wait and let it dry out for a couple of days before you resume a normal watering schedule. You can read more about this topic in our previous article.
It’s also very typical for new home growers to overfeed their plants, leading to nutrient burn. There can be too much of a good thing, and this is certainly true of nutrients for your cannabis plant — less is more!
Nutrient burn occurs when the nutrient mix is either too strong or is being used too frequently. You can identify nutrient burn by the brown edges on the plant’s leaves and crispy-looking quality. Unsurprisingly, their growth will also slow down considerably.
You can identify nutrient burn early on by making sure to check the very tip of the leaves, which is where it starts. If your plants begin to show signs of nutrient burn, take a week or two off from feeding them the nutrient mix. This gives the cannabis time to flush out the excess nutrients.
Light burn occurs when the plant is too close to the grow lights. You can identify light burn by the leaves turning yellow and appearing burnt. Check the top of the plant closest to the light first; these are the leaves that will begin to yellow first, eventually spreading to the rest of the plant.
If you notice this issue, start by raising your grow lamp by six inches. You should dictate how close your lights are by the stage of growth and how strong the plants are.
One of the biggest challenges for new growers is ensuring the nutrient mix and water are at the correct pH level. The pH level affects how the plant absorbs what you are giving them. If your nutrient mix is in the wrong pH range, for example, your plants might go into nutrient lockout, which means that they stop absorbing nutrients for a period of time. This will result in wilted plants that stop growing.
Before jumping to the conclusion that your plant has a nutrient deficiency, always check the pH first. Chances are, you need to adjust this.
The three main macronutrients that cannabis needs are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. A tell-tale sign that your plant is not getting enough nitrogen is if its leaves begin to turn yellow and wilt. If you are using the right pH, then you’ll want to add a nitrogen-rich mix.
Keep in mind that as you get closer to harvest, your fan leaves will turn yellow as the buds pull the nitrogen from them to help with growth. This is a normal part of the process that you don’t need to worry about, so keep the growth cycle of your plant in mind before panicking.
On the other side of the coin, too much nitrogen is also a concern. This is referred to as nitrogen toxicity, and is often called “The Claw.” This is because one symptom is your leaves curling downwards, mimicking the appearance of a claw. The leaves also turn dark green. To address this problem, simply feed your plant less nitrogen.
Spider mites can be quite challenging to cope with, so you’ll want to be proactive about looking for them. Without early intervention, it’s nearly impossible to get rid of them. Make sure to comb through each plant every few days so you can spot them ASAP.
Spider mites hide on the under sides of your fan leaves. Spider mites are very difficult to see, so it may behoove you to use a magnifying glass when you study your plants. These mites look similar to spiders (hence the name) and you will see them crawling around and nibbling on the leaves. You may see small, light-colored plants on your leaves.
If you don’t address them properly, you will then find webs that are similar to spider webs all over your plants. This generally means it’s too late for your plants. But early on, you have some options. For example, you could invest in some ladybugs, a natural predator to spider mites. The main struggle is that you need to make sure every single mite is removed, or they will continue to come back again and again.
White powdery mildew is the most common fungus that cannabis growers deal with, and is most often caused by a too-humid grow space paired with little to no airflow. You can spot it by a powdery white substance appearing on the leaves of your plants, which will only continue to spread and eat your plants.
You can address powdery mildew with a special spray. You should also improve the environment by lowering the humidity and increasing airflow to your grow space to prevent it from coming back.
High humidity and low airflow also come together to cause bud rot. This can also be the result of overwatering. Essentially, bud rot is when your cannabis buds begin to rot. It begins on the inside and slowly spreads out, turning them brown and moldy until the bud is unusable.
The first step is to lower humidity and increase airflow. After that, stop the spread by cutting off the infected buds. This is important, even if it’s difficult to see all your hard work go to waste, because consuming rotted bud will make you ill.
Heat stress occurs when the temperature in your grow space is too high. When the temperature is too high, meaning in the 80s or above, your plants will begin to grow slower, and the leaves begin to curl inward, folding longways. Lower the temperature to as close to 75 degrees as possible.
These are only some of the most common cannabis ailments. If you’re in need of more guidance about home growing, check out our other articles, such as our grow tent checklist. If you need more personalized assistance, feel free to reach out to us.