Growing your own feminized cannabis seeds and plant is an exciting venture to take on. The excitement of ordering seeds to germinate, the anticipation of the plant when it starts to grow, and finally the thrill of harvesting the buds. For the new grower, the idea of having your marijuana plant and growing them on your own takes him on a new adventure, However, this adventure isn’t always as exhilarating as one would imagine it to be. Along with the ride is what could be called cultivation woes. We are referring to the obstacles gardeners face when growing a plant. It could be a yellowing leaf, stunted growth of the plant, or even the eventual death of a plant. These are common problems gardeners often face daily. The reality of cultivating a plant and nurturing it up to a harvestable age will all depend on how it is given the proper amount of attention and care. Otherwise, growers won’t be able to feel that thrill of harvesting those longed-for buds.
Here we will attempt to discuss each common problem gardeners face when growing their marijuana plant, and offer possible solutions to remedy an already existing bad situation. Starting to grow your weed will always be a trial and error process. As we quote a great gardening proverb:
“There are no gardening mistakes, only experiments. – Janet Kilburn Phillips”
PH AND NUTRIENT IMBALANCES
PH level refers to the acidity or alkalinity of your water, and from a gardening perspective, it also refers to the acidity or alkalinity of your soil. The optimal pH level for your cannabis plant should range between 5.5 to 6.5, anything lower or over these levels is detrimental to your plant’s growth. You can start by checking both the water you plan to use to hydrate your plant and the potting mix it will be planted in. Plants get their nutrition mainly through their roots, and improper pH levels of either water or soil or both may lead to improper root absorption. This means that nutrients from the water and soil are not adequately absorbed by their roots.
Overfertilization and below standard nutrient products are common causes of having an unbalanced pH level in your soil. Normally, the best remedy to restore the pH balance of your soil is to flush the plant with distilled water. Flushing will get rid of the excess fertilizer and substandard nutrient products. A pH meter would be advisable to keep handy at all times.
COMMON PESTS AND DISEASES
The crossbreeding of various strains nowadays have resulted in cannabis plants more resilient to pests and diseases, there are still a few great strains left that require constant monitoring of pest, mite, and mold infestation. Here are some pests that are known to invade healthy growing cannabis plants.
- Spider mites – this is an indoor growers nightmare. they are not visible to the naked eye and could only be seen up close if they are moving in bunches or they have started webbing the leaves of your plant. Leaves start to appear whitish and when rubbed, a rough weblike soft substance balls up into your fingertips. This can be removed using spider mite sprays which are easily available in any gardening store. This can only be sprayed when the cannabis plant is in its vegetative stage. If and when a spider mite infestation happens during the flowering period of your plant, it is best to immediately isolate the plant, bag it and dispose of it. It is recommended to decontaminate your intended grow space before planting so the chances of an infestation will be slimmer.
- Fungi and molds – Fungi and molds usually develop when the relative humidity of a grow room or tent is on the high side. The presence of water vapor in the air is a magnet to the development of fungus in your plant. Too much moisture in the soil also attracts the mold spores to develop. Keeping humidity levels about 40% would be perfect for growing cannabis. Having proper air circulation is a must when growing your marijuana plants, this is because it constantly provides the plant with fresh air for them to breathe. A good quality oscillating fan paired with an adequate ventilation system will flush out any unwanted stale air in your garden.
Not all fungus is bad though as there is what is called “good” fungus. There is also a need for a healthy fungal population present in your soil. The interaction of the good fungus with the plants’ roots produces a symbiotic relationship called mycorrhizae. This occurs when the fungus enhances the water and nutrient absorption of the plant roots. Sources of this fungal nutrition could be obtained through feeding your plants with kelp meal or humic acid.
- Pests and insects – these are a fairly common occurrence to have a few minor infestations from pests. Aphids, leafhoppers, and caterpillars are usually seen munching on the leaves of your plants. This is their source of sustenance thus it is but natural that if you have cannabis plants growing outdoors, it is best to keep an eye on them daily, otherwise they may end up consuming a large portion of your precious weed. Since they are part of nature, an organic pesticide would be recommended to stop them from further destroying your plant.
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When the edges of your leaves appear yellowish to brownish, this is a clear indication of Heat stress. The heat from either natural sunlight for outdoor growing or the heat emitted by the grow light in your grow room is slowly burning the leaves of your plant.
Growing indoors is pretty controllable as you could just adjust the angle of your grow lights to give it less heat emission from these lamps. A simple test would solve the problem of too much heat emission. just place your hand on top of the plants’ canopy and if you feel a burning sensation, adjust the height of the light.
Outdoors is entirely different as it would be quite difficult to control unless you are an experienced grower and have come prepared before growing. A simple shade net is the best preventive measure to decrease the intense heat supplied by the sun. Seasoned growers already know what percentage of shade applies to a certain strain and just install it before growing the plants outdoors.
OVER OR UNDER WATERING
Chlorosis is a plant condition when it does not receive the proper amount of chlorophyll. Leaves start to appear pale yellow. The lack of chlorophyll absorption could be attributed to many factors but one predominant factor could be the under or overwatering of plants they end to appear sickly and most probably the roots are not functioning as they should be.
Having a consistently soggy potting medium is an indication of overwatering and cracked dry soil is an indication that your plant needs watering. It is best to monitor these conditions as they may as well make or break your plant and harvest dreams. For soggy potting mixes, just adjust our watering schedule to give your soil time to dry up a bit. A good indicator is by sticking your finger into the potting mix and if the top 1 or 2 inches of the soil is dry, it is time to hydrate your cannabis plant.
It is best to follow a watering schedule to maintain and regular cycle. This will prevent root rot and promote the growth of a healthy and productive plant.
Same with heat stress, light emitted by either the sun or grow lamps tend to burn the leaves of the plant when exposed for a prolonged period or when the temperature of the light emitted is too much for the plant to handle. A common occurrence for indoor growing, light burn happens when the planted cannabis is too close to the LED or HPS lights. The plants get stressed and the yellowing or browning of the leaf’s edges occurs. The top portion of the plant gets affected first as they are closest to the heat emitted by the light. For outdoor growth conditions, light burn does not occur. moving the light further away from the plants is a quick fix solution. Another alternative is to replace the lights with a weaker one. The indoor temperature of the grow room should ideally be at 25 C. Proper air circulation also helps in reducing the heat emitted by these lights.
Strong winds usually stress a plant out. Plants are not used to having strong winds plastering them all the time. This happens most of the time in indoor environments when the fan placed to promote air circulation is either too strong or placed in an awkward place where the plants receive a generous amount of wind. In outdoor environments, winds do not usually blow away 24 hours a day. But in an indoor setting, if left uncontrolled, wind from the fans may continuously howl 24 hours daily. The only remedy to combat windburn is to place the fans farther away from the plant and control the settings of wind flow.
NUTRIENT BURN AND LOCKOUT
Overfeeding is the main cause of the nutrient burn. Too much fertilizer is not good for any plant. Cannabis plants only require a certain amount of nutrients for them to fully grow into healthy productive plants. The notion of excessively feeding them is not a good idea at all. Overfeeding will only stress the plant more. Overfeeding is usually a beginner’s mistake. When tips of the leaves start to turn brown, this is a clear indication of nutrient burn. The leaf tips will start to turn brown and slowly work its way up to the whole leaf making it crispy. Early detection is key to prevent this from happening and flushing this with pure water will rid the soil of excess nutrients present in the media. In severe cases, it is recommended to change the entire potting medium and make a fresh start.
Nutrient lockout happens when the plants are not absorbing the available nutrients present in both the soil and water. This happens when pH levels are not in the optimal range and there is the presence of too many salts in the soil. The presence of excess salts could be a result of over-fertilizing and the retention of needed nutrients in the soil. If not flushed immediately, the plant would eventually die. Maintaining the correct pH levels is very vital in the plants’ ability to absorb the proper nutrients needed to thrive and produce optimal yields.