Nutrient Deficiencies in Cannabis: How to Identify and Treat Them

Nutrient Deficiencies in Cannabis: How to Identify and Treat Them

Nutrient Deficiencies in Cannabis: How to Identify and Treat Them

Like a human body, plants also require nutrients for energy, growth, reproduction, and survival. Every need of the plant comes from the soil, and therefore providing the optimal concentration of nutrients through this medium is reasonably necessary. But what exactly happens if these nutrients are absent?

Well, just like in our bodies, nutrient deficiencies can have an intense impact on the overall health and wellness of the plant. It could affect its ability to grow, reproduce and also influence strength. In the case of herbs like cannabis, nutrient deficiencies can also impact the quality of buds or other valuable organs of the plant. While growing cannabis can be a joyous adventure, keeping these deficiencies in mind while feeding them is critical. More important is learning about the indicators for each fault that reflect on the plant`s yearning for supplements. So here, we will discuss the different ways to identify nutrient deficiencies in cannabis plants and treat the problem efficiently.

Always Start With The pH

Before you begin looking for symptoms, the first step to solving cannabis deficiencies is to test the soil pH. The soil serves as the medium that connects the nutrients to the plant body. The pH of the soil influences the efficiency of absorption of these nutrients in the system. More often, improper pH levels result in plant deficiency that cannot be solved by overloading the soil with supplements. Not just soil, maintaining the optimal pH in every medium for your cannabis plant is crucial.

Cannabis plants survive in a slightly acidic environment. Typically, soil pH between 5.8-6.8 works best for the herb. In the case of hydroponics, the range shifts somewhat to 5.5 -6.6. Before you begin relating the symptoms of the plant with deficiencies or feeding supplements, check the medium pH to create the right course of action.

Discoloration or Lightening

Yellowing or fading of color from leaves, especially starting from the base of the plant, can be a symptom of nutrient deficiency. All the primary nutrients, potassium, phosphorus, and nitrogen, that are crucial for the health of the plant can trigger this issue if present in low concentrations.

Nutrient Deficiencies in Cannabis: How to Identify and Treat Them

The deficiency of nitrogen, an essential macronutrient, can also cause scant buds and the curling of leaves that look dull and limp. Low potassium levels can induce other signs such as brown spots and a burnt appearance on the leaves. Phosphorus, a natural pest resilience, also causes purple or black spots on the discolored leaves when in low concentration.

Iron is a micronutrient for cannabis but is critical for its growth. Yellowing of leaves could also indicate a deficiency in this element, mainly between the veins located on the leaf. Iron deficiency requires immediate attention as it could induce a domino effect, causing low absorption of manganeses, copper, and zinc. It could collectively leave the plant looking flushed and dull.

Low Bud Yield

Lack of nitrogen in the initial stages can cause discoloration of the leaf. Over time the yellowing can spread throughout the plant and lead to very low yield. Since it is a macronutrient, restoring the original levels is crucial to harvest.

Micronutrients sulfur and copper also influence the final yield. Although copper is only required in trace levels, the element can cause slow development of the buds that may not ripen. You may also notice a metallic sheen on the leaves that reflects the low availability of the element.

Nutrient Deficiencies in Cannabis: How to Identify and Treat Them

Similarly, sulfur is responsible for producing terpenes and oils in the buds that have impeccable medicinal value. Lack of sulfur, especially towards the flowering stage, can intensely impact the quantity and quality of buds appearing.


Droopy or tired leaves indicate that the plant is not having enough energy produced regularly. Deficiency in calcium and magnesium could be the primary reason behind this problem.

Low magnesium levels can reduce light absorption efficiency that will cause rusty spots on the leaves and a droopy appearance. Lack of calcium can restrict the transportation of nitrogen and sugar within the plant that could cause curled leaves and withered tips during later stages of growth.

Coping With Deficiencies


Adding supplements with the right balance of NPK to the medium can be an efficient way to cope with deficiencies. Remember to check which nutrient is lacking and manage the ratio of the nutrients respectively for the best results. Also, NPK ratios for different stages of growth are important to support the best yield and plant health.

Nutrient Deficiencies in Cannabis: How to Identify and Treat Them


In case of iron deficiencies, start by flushing the medium thoroughly. Add iron supplement in combination with nitrogen-rich fertilizer to support better uptake. Manganese and zinc can be compensated using seaweed solution or emulsions after adjusting the pH of the medium. For calcium and sulfur deficiencies, adding hydrated lime or dissolving Epsom salt in the water before offering it to the medium can be helpful.

Remember, too many nutrients are also a problem. Some signs of nutrient burns include browning of leaf tips or curling. So carefully access the situation before adding more supplements.


Understanding the presence of a nutrient deficiency early is essential as timely action can help the plant grow back stronger. Use these facts to check for deficiencies in your cannabis plant and fee them the right supplements that will help cope with the problem effortlessly for the best benefits.

By Admin

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