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The Different Nutrient Deficiency Problems to Look Out For

Nutrient Deficiency Problems

Nurturing your cannabis plants and making sure that they stay healthy is a key factor. It will determine a positive output from your eventual harvests. However, you cannot avoid the fact that, sometime during one of your growing experiences, your cannabis plants are going to run into some nutrient deficiency problems. As many growers would tell you, the giving of nutrients to your marijuana crop is an essential element to keep the systems of the cannabis plants from breaking down and dying. Additionally, other types of nutrients boost the performance of your gardens.

Nutrient deficiency in the cannabis plants can be quite difficult to distinguish if your untrained eye has never encountered them before. Because they will typically display symptoms that might indicate another entirely different problem, it is crucial  to familiarize yourself with what to look for and how to look for it! We have here a guide that will briefly explain all the things that you will need to know about nutrient deficiency in cannabis plants.

Different Types of Cannabis Nutrients

The nutrients and minerals that you will more than likely provide to your marijuana crops will come in different compounds and structures. Additionally, they will practically serve different purposes for the plants! Knowing what to give them at the right stages of the cannabis plant’s life is crucial in making sure that they don’t receive too much or too little.

As the main ingredient that comprises a weed plant’s diet, feeding nutrients to your plants is something that every grower should know regardless of the experience that they have with growing. Here are the different classifications of cannabis nutrients and what they essentially have to offer to your plants: 


Macronutrients are those which are required by the cannabis plants in order to grow and develop. They are essential for the plants’ health as they strengthen the core and rooting systems that the seeds produce. They should be given to your plants in large doses, depending on what phase of the life cycle they are in. The three (3) macronutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. Macronutrient solutions will usually come with various NPK ratios to determine how much of each is present.

Micronutrients, on the other hand, are given in much smaller doses as compared to the primary ones. They are not required by the cannabis plant in order to properly thrive and develop, which means that your plants can live with little to no amounts of them. However, growers still use them to generally boost the performance of the plants’ systems. In addition, it will give a much better result in your cultivation schemes! These micronutrients include Calcium, Boron, Sulfur, Iron, and Magnesium, among others. 


Another way to classify nutrients is by recognizing whether they are mobile or immobile. This way of distinguishing them makes it much easier to understand the effects and symptoms of nutrient deficiency in your gardens. Mobile nutrients, as the name suggests, are capable of traveling through the different parts of your plants in the event that these other parts will require them more. Put simply, if one fan leaf seems to be lacking in nitrogen, then the present nitrogen scattered around the plant sends the ample amount needed by the deficient fan leaf. The list includes all three macronutrients along with Magnesium

On the other hand, we have immobile nutrients. These types of nutrients stay locked into one place of the cannabis plant. The passiveness of these immobile nutrients means that you will need to manually provide for the deficiencies in the case that they run low on them! Immobile nutrients include Calcium, Boron, Sulfur, and Iron.  

How Does the pH Level Affect Nutrient Deficiency?

The pH levels of your soil, that of which should be around 6.0 in order to stay neutral, is the main factor that either causes or prevents nutrient deficiency! Anything above the neutral level will indicate that there is too much alkaline content in your soil. On the other hand, pH levels below the average amount indicates that the acidity in your soil is excessive?

So how does this translate to nutrient deficiency? Well, both the excess of alkalinity and acidity affects the way that your soils (which, in turn, affects the roots) will be able to absorb the nutrients given to the roots. This will lead to what is known as nutrient lockout, a phase in which your roots will not be able to take in the nutrients given to it! 

You can keep track of the pH levels using a pH meter, which can be bought from gardening shops or hardware stores. Agri limestones are great for increasing pH levels while flushing out your soils with water can reduce it. 

Types of Nutrient Deficiencies and Their Symptoms

Now, let us further discuss the different nutrient deficiencies that can occur in your plants:

Nitrogen Deficiency

Nitrogen is use by the cannabis plant for developing the needed proteins and other amino acids. It also allows the plants to gather up enough energy to be used for photosynthesis

A deficiency in nitrogen is indicated by the discoloration and drying up of fan leaves. Moreover, lesser amounts of nitrogen can lead to smaller yields and miniature buds developing due to the lack of energy absorption.

Manure and fish meal are two great sources of nitrogen that will balance out the pH levels as well.

Phosphorus Deficiency

Phosphorus plays the part of developing the genetic structure and chemical makeup of a cannabis plant. With phosphorus, plants are able to start producing the building blocks of the overall structure of the stems, leaves, branches, and other parts.

A lack of phosphorus can lead to the wilting and browning of the stems and branches. Furthermore, you may begin to notice some dark spots forming in the leaves, a clear sign of phosphorus deficiency. 

The addition of more fish meal and/or worm castings can help boost the phosphorus content in your soils. Also, properly tilling your soils make for a much better air flow, which can lead to better prevention of phosphorus deficiency. One other possibility is giving excessive amounts of water to your plants. It is much easier for plants to absorb phosphorus under hot and warm conditions. 

Potassium Deficiency

The function of potassium in us human beings works in generally the same sense as it does in cannabis plants. Amounts of it will help the plants’ mobility and proceed with any needed function that they go through. Without the needed potassium levels, brown and yellow markings will begin to form around the edges of your leaves. They will also start drying up and curling into themselves.

Potassium is present in many other products and solutions. Because of this, you will want to try flushing out your plants to get them back to normal. However, be careful of overwatering! Kelp meal and hardwood ash can also boost the potassium levels, as well as banana peels

 Calcium Deficiency

Calcium for people strengthens our bones. As for cannabis plants, it helps strengthen the stems and overall structure of the plant! A nutrient deficiency in calcium is evident by the wilting of stems and leaves. They will also begin to look a lot more fragile and sloppy. For younger plants, calcium deficiency may lead to new parts of the plants turning out deformed or out of sorts.

Lime-based amendments are strong sources of calcium that keeps the roots well intact. Eggshells and worm castings, as they come from the calcium-based products of animals, are great sources for the nutrient. 

Boron Deficiency

Like calcium, Boron enhances the durability and strength of the plants. A lack thereof will lead to various problems such as improper leaf development, slow vegetative growth, the lack of flexibility which can lead to breaking, and poorly fertilized soils

Boron can be provided to your soils using what we call boric acids. These are used specifically to increase the amount of boron in your soils. Overfeeding is also one of the main causes of nutrient lockout. 

Sulfur Deficiency

Your plants will not need much sulfur contents in the roots. However, missing out on giving them ample amounts can lead to an unhealthy development. Sulfur generally improves the production of the needed minerals and enzymes in the cannabis plants. Yellowing and discoloration of the leaves and stems are the main symptoms of sulfur nutrient deficiency. 

Try out providing your soli solutions with more amounts of epsom salts and manure. This is regularly the remedy for sulfur deficiency. Also, prevent the constant disturbance of the growing medium in order to allow more minerals and enzymes to naturally develop in the potting mix!

Iron Deficiency

Chlorophyll in your cannabis plants are generally boost by the presence of iron in them. As such, you will notice a heavy iron nutrient deficiency if the color of your cannabis leaves start turning bright yellow and/or pale instead of the usual dark green.

Mycorrhizae is a source abundant with iron compounds that dig deep into the roots of your plants. Buying solutions filled with this substance will give your plants enough iron to properly develop chlorophyll. Many other iron-based supplements are available in-stores.

Magnesium Deficiency

Without the only mobile micronutrient that is Magnesium, your cannabis plants will not be able to properly go through photosynthesis. This nutrient is one of the main ingredients that allows light to flow into the cannabis plant’s systems and keep it stored for energy supplies! Magnesium deficiency tends to target the lower portions of your plants, due to the nutrient not being able to make its way all the way down to the base. This results in dried up fan leaves and wilting, weak branches that fall off.

Manure, limestone substances, as well as epsom salts, will need to be scattered onto your soils in order to boost the magnesium contents of your plants. This gives them energy to get back into absorbing more light for photosynthesis.

Nutrient deficiency is certainly a scary thing to experience. Because it is not so easy to spot, you may find it complicated to pinpoint what your plants need! The most important thing to remember is to always keep the pH levels at a neutral level!

Doing so will decrease the chances of a nutrient lockout. In addition, your roots will fully be able to absorb all the nutrients that they demand!

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