When you look at the photo for this article, you see something marijuana growers never want to see: a poorly-developed bud, with curling leaves showing discoloration, tip burn, and other symptoms of an unhealthy plant.
Marijuana plant problems come from many causes, and it’s best to block problems from ever happening than trying to fix them after they start.
Sometimes, as in the case of a massive spider mites infestation or a catastrophic nutrients burn, you may never be able to fix problems completely, thus losing the full potential of harvest weight, quality, and potency.
The first thing to remember is this: study your plants every day and keep track of their leaf condition and growth rate.
Marijuana plants tell you through their leaves and growth rate if they’re having problems. Although some growers use nutrition methods that result in leaves turning autumn colors beginning in the middle of bloom phase due to nutrients depletion, this is a mistake. You don’t want to see autumn colors on your leaves.
Instead, you want to see leaves that are uniformly green, with no tip burn, cupping, twisting or other conditions, all the way to harvest.
The old mythology that you want your plant leaves to be fading away and depleted of nutrition at the end of bloom phase doesn’t result in cleaner buds–it results in starving, stressed plants in late bloom phase.
Flushing crops grown with hydroponic nutrients is also a mistake, as was recently proven.
You want your plants to have all the nutrition they need, all the way to harvest day, and their leaves should show that.
When you see leaf tips brown or yellow, you’re seeing root zone problems. The generic explanation is often “overfeeding,” and you’re advised to flush the root zone with a root-protecting product like Root Boost, from TPS.
Flushing the root zone with Root Boost gets rid of excess nutrients salts and enhances root health too, but overfeeding nutrients might not have been the only mistake causing leaf tip burn or discoloration.
Other causes could include incorrect root zone pH, root aphids, fungus gnats, overwatering, not using reverse osmosis water, vapor pressure deficit problems, defective organic or hydroponic nutrients, root pathogens, light stress, grow room environment issues, and poorly-aerated root zone media.
Indeed, any time I see problems with leaves, growth rate, bud development, resination, terpenoid scent, and other plant performance parameters, I run through a lengthy checklist that includes the following:
- Recalibrating all pH and EC meters.
- Switching nutrients brands or at least getting fresh bottles of base nutrients.
- Ensuring grow room temperature, humidity, vapor pressure deficit, air circulation, air exchange and PPFD (photosynthetic photon flux density) are where they should be.
- Studying leaves to detect pests or disease.
- Probing the root zone looking for root aphids and other problems, such as rootbound conditions.
- Checking my reverse osmosis system to ensure it’s giving me zero parts per million pure water.
As you easily see, chasing marijuana growing problems can quickly lead you down several rabbit holes, but they’re rabbit holes you have to go down if you want to be a master of growing marijuana, getting the heaviest harvest from every plant you grow.
Growers used to go down far worse rabbit holes when they saw leaf and/or growth rate problems—they’d look at photo galleries of leaves labeled as having a solo nutrient deficiency problem, such as “this leaf has phosphorus deficiency.”
Note that in many cases, especially with online photo galleries, the photos and their captions are misleading.
Based on a leaf photo and its caption, a grower might add phosphorus, Epsom salts or some other single or multiple nutrient element additives to their feed program, not realizing nutrients elements exist in a dynamic interplay, so adding one element often causes a cascade of nutrients absorption problems.
And even if adding specific elements “works,” the grower hasn’t figured out why there was a shortage or overdose of specific elements. Eventually, the remedy fails, causing more problems than it solves.
The easiest way to fix most growing marijuana problems is as follows:
- Ensure all grow room environmental conditions, including inputs such as light intensity and carbon dioxide, are within range.
- Flush root zone using reverse osmosis water with TPS Root Boost added to it.
- Get a better feed program (we only recommend TPS and Rx Green nutrients).
- Carefully monitor plants, nutrients pH and EC, and grow room environment to ensure all are within range.
- If you’re still seeing what you believe to be nutrients problems and have switched to TPS or Rx Green hydroponic nutrients, contact them immediately, sending photos of the leaves with problems, description of problems, and steps you’ve taken to fix them.
These procedures will fix problems that can be fixed. Unfortunately, some problems can’t be completely fixed. If a plant has been provided inadequate nutrition during grow phase and the beginning of bloom phase, for example, it will never grow to its full potential.
If root aphids are having a buffet in the root zone, good luck getting rid of them.
If you’re using inferior grow lights, overdosing your plants with too much PPFD or starving them with too little, you may already have done permanent damage that negatively affects harvest weight and potency regardless of your remediations.
A problem we haven’t mentioned here yet is inferior genetics. There are many sub-standards marijuana seeds, strains, and clones on the market. These defective genetics grow out to be poorly-adapted plants that struggle, no matter how perfect your growing marijuana skills are.
Growing Marijuana Perfectly has extremely high standards for the strains and seed producers we recommend, because if you start with garbage genetics, you never get harvests worth gold.
You notice so far we have only recommended Humboldt Seed Company, New420Guy Seeds, and Serious Seeds. We’ve grown multiple strains from these companies, and networked extensively with their owners and managers, and are sure these folks are making incredible genetics for you and have stellar customer service.
We just completed interviews and testing with a marijuana seeds breeder called HazeMan. His strains are awesome, so now we have four reliable seed companies out of the hundreds who want your money.
Contrary to what some people say, growing marijuana is not like growing a weed. It’s more like growing an orchid and a bonsai plant. The more you pay attention to your growing marijuana plants, and the closer to perfection your grow room environment, root zone, nutrients, water, grow lights are, the more you’ll get heavier yields of the most potent buds possible.