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How to Identify a Nutrient Deficiency in Cannabis Plants

Whether you're growing your first marijuana plant or you've been planting crops for years, it's important that you learn how to identify a nutrient deficiency in cannabis plants. Like most commercial crops, marijuana draws macro- and micro-nutrients from the soil (or other growing medium) through their roots and disperse them throughout the rest of the plant, but sometimes a plant doesn't get enough of these essential elements, and it will display a range of symptoms depending on which nutrients are lacking. To help give you an idea of what to watch for in your crop, here we talk about how to identify a nutrient deficiency in cannabis plants.

  1. Rule out that your cannabis plants aren't suffering damage from insects, disease, or an environmental factor (like poor water drainage, extreme temperatures, or over-fertilization) before blaming symptoms on a nutrient deficiency.

  2. Inspect your plants daily and look for signs of stunted or deformed growth, wilting or sagging vegetation, and foliage or stems that change color. Also, check the pH balance of the soil to make sure it's neither too acidic or alkaline for the roots to absorb nutrients properly.

  3. Determine where on your cannabis plant the symptoms first appeared. Different nutrient deficiencies express themselves either on the older leaves at the base, the new growth at the top, or throughout the entire plant, so knowing where the symptoms start is key to figuring out which nutrient the plant is lacking.

  4. Consult a plant nutrient deficiency key to narrow down which macro- or micro-nutrient deficiency your cannabis plant is experiencing. However, be aware that it's not uncommon for plants to be deficient of multiple nutrients, so narrowing down a single element can be challenging.

  5. Ask a professional; if you're lucky enough to live in a state where cannabis is legal, reach out to master growers in your area for a consultation. He or she may charge a fee and may not let you visit his or her greenhouse, but the knowledge you get from speaking to an expert will be well worth it if you're able to correctly identify which nutrient deficiencies your cannabis plants are suffering from and remedy the situation.


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