Reasons Why Cannabis Have Nutrient Deficiencies? 

Nutrient deficiencies can be a challenge for cannabis growers. Cannabis plants lacking nutrients tend to express low yield and potency, thus reducing their value. But in several cases, nutrient deficiency occurs due to different reasons that might not be directly related to how much nutrients you feed. So, what exactly are these reasons, and what are the symptoms that indicate deficiencies? Let us find out about them in detail here.  

Is It Even A Deficiency? 

Well, honestly, the first thought a cultivator gets when they spot a dull, unhealthy, droopy plant is that the lack of nutrients is to blame for this problem. But even before you set out to learn more about cannabis deficiencies in detail, it is critical to understand if the problem is even related to lack of nutrients in the first place.  

Several factors could induce similar symptoms as deficiencies. For example, temperature or humidity variations beyond the optimal range or bug infestations could make the plant tired or express symptoms like yellowing. So, the first step to assess the problem is to rule out these challenges to confidently move on to the next step.  

Nutrient Uptake 

One of the most common causes for lack of nutrients to support plant health is not because you are not feeding it enough. Instead, it is possible that different organs of the plant are not able to absorb these nutrients efficiently from the medium. Given plant roots play a critical role in nutrient uptake or moving nutrients from the medium to the parts of the plant, analyzing what causes trouble in transporting these nutrients is important.  

pH Imbalance  

The pH of the soil or the water in the case of hydroponics directly impacts the efficiency of nutrient uptake. Cannabis plant mediums like soil require an optimal pH of 5.8 – 6.8 to deliver the best benefits to the plant. Similarly, in the case of hydroponics, the range should be between 5.5 – 6.5. Even a slight deviation from this level can intensely impact the overall nutrient delivery capability.  

Water Level  

Water is essential for nutrient uptake. Ensuring your plant has the correct water levels at any point in time is critical. If the cannabis plant has less water, the nutrients may not travel from the medium to the entire plant. The same issue happens if there is too much water as well. Additionally, too much water can attract pests and insects, which can induce similar symptoms as deficiencies.  

The source of water is also essential. Some local sources naturally carry nutrients. Knowing these nutrients is necessary to balance them out while feeding the plant. Several professional growers take this ambiguity out of the equation and use only fully deionized water. It will give more control over the minerals you feed to the plant and help you protect it completely.  

Nutrient Cancellations  

Typically, growers provide supplements containing a mixture of different minerals or elements necessary for the plant. In most cases, this mixture works its magic. But some nutrients tend to cancel out the effect of other nutrients or restrict the uptake in the system. It could also lead to a deficiency situation in the plant. Therefore, be careful while buying and applying the nutrient mixtures, especially if you are new to cannabis cultivation, to achieve the best results.  

Lack Of Nutrients  

Once you eliminate the possibility of these issues, you can move on to inspect the plant for nutrient deficiencies that require a spectrum of different supplements for treatment. Various deficiencies occur during varying stages of growth.  

Vegetative Stage  

Nitrogen is the most crucial macronutrient during the early stages of the plant. Deficiency in this stage could cause yellowing of leaves starting from the base of the plant. Adding NPK supplements with a higher Nitrogen ratio can come in handy during this time. 

Magnesium and sulfur are the two most common micronutrient deficiencies at this stage. They also lead to yellowing of leaves or challenges in flowering as the plant progresses. Adding Epsom salt to the medium can help effectively cope with both nutrient deficiencies.  

Flowering Stage  

As the plant moves into the flowering stage, it requires different nutrients in a different ratio for the best growth. At this stage, potassium and phosphorus are the two macronutrients that support a healthy flowering and heavy yield from the plants. Lack of potassium induces yellowing of leaves and burnt spots on the surface. Phosphorus also causes this type of browning on old leaves while leaving the new leaves small and not fully grown. Therefore, adjusting the NPK supplement to carry a dominant ratio of these two nutrients can be useful.  

Iron is the major micronutrient deficient at this point. It can lead to low absorption of calcium, zinc, and manganese. Add iron supplements with the presence of nitrogen to achieve the best results. It is also best to introduce some iron while providing copper, manganese, or zinc supplement to support optimal absorption.   


Nutrient deficiencies can affect the quality of the buds and the quantity of harvest in cannabis plants. Understanding what could be causing this problem is essential to make sure you support your plant in its recovery and growth. Keep these crucial facts in mind while accessing the situation to ensure you take the proper steps.  


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