Nutrient Deficiency in Marijuana Plants(Guide)- Here is what you need to know...Part - 1

Nutrient Deficiency in Marijuana Plants(Guide)- Here is what you need to know...Part - 1

August 15, 2017

Like in the case of any other plants, nutrient disorders are very bad for Marijuana plants too, as nutrient disorders affect the bud size, bud quality, bud taste, etc. Fortunately, addressing these nutrition deficiency conditions, is less daunting as there are different ways to address the deficiencies.

The three macronutrients that must be given utmost importance when growing marijuana, are Nitrogen(N), Phosphorous(P), and Potassium(K). These macronutrients are required by the plants throughout the growth phase, in different concentrations. For instance, the vegetative phase, usually needs high nitrogen content and low phosphorous content, and for the flowering phase, the phosphorous content needs to be high, and nitrogen content needs to be low. However, this article will be talking only about micronutrient deficiencies.

There are many micronutrients that are required by the Marijuana plants; most of the times the organic compost will have all the nutrients required by the plants, in them. Deficiency of these imperative micronutrients can lead to stunted growth, leaf discoloration, leaf curls, leaf patches, sometimes death, etc.

Basic things to know about Marijuana deficiency treatment are-

- Correct pH range - The pH levels play a crucial role in nutrient absorption, in Marijuana plants, or any plants, for that matter. When the pH is out of balance, in spite of the nutrient being present in the soil, the plants, will not be able to absorb them. Thus, if you witness any nutrient deficiency symptoms in your plants, you should make sure to adjust the pH levels, before moving into other forms of treatment.

- Right Nutrients in Right Concentration - With quality soil, you need not worry much about the nutrients. However, when cannabis plants are overfed with a particular nutrient, it will result in the plants' inability to take up other essential micronutrients.

- Roots are where you need to focus - If the plants are overwatered or underwatered, the roots lose their capacity to absorb the nutrient content, from the soil.

If you are good with these parameters, your marijuana strains, will hardly suffer from any nutritional deficiency conditions.

Further, let us look into how each micronutrient affects the growth of marijuana plants, common symptoms of their deficiency, and lastly, the means to treat these deficiency conditions.


Iron deficiency is be observed in all conditions like outdoors, indoors, and even in hydroponic systems; however, addressing the same, is pretty simple. Iron is important for younger tissues in the marijuana plants. Iron acts as a cofactor in various enzymatic reactions within the plants and is also important for the chlorophyll synthesis. The most common reasons for iron deficiencies are the improper pH levels and excess levels of other micronutrients such as manganese, zinc, and copper.

Common Symptoms-

The symptoms first appear on the newly growing shoots, and one can observe the leaves turning white, in between the veins, which remain dark green. Slow and twisted growth is another common symptom.

Solution For Cannabis Iron Deficiency-

The addition of commercial iron preparation or rusty water may partly help. If the soil is too acidic, chelated iron can be used.


The micronutrient Boron has an active role in the important process of the development of pollen grains, cell-division, and the formation of various protein molecules in the plant. Boron is also important for Marijuana plant’s overall health, and its vibrant green color. Many a time, boron deficiency is also accompanied by potassium or nitrogen deficiency, as these elements are important for boron absorption. This condition is normally observed in low-humidity conditions.

Common Symptoms-

Common deficiencies of Boron deficiency in Marijuana first appear on the growing shoots, which eventually die, turn brown or gray, if left, untreated. As soon as the growing tips die, growth will be observed in the lateral buds, but they die too.

Solution for Cannabis Boron Deficiency-

Boron deficiency in cannabis plants should be treated with a preparation of one-fourth boric acid per quart of water.


The micronutrient Manganese(Mn) helps Marijuana plants in utilizing nitrogen and iron in chlorophyll production and oxygen reduction. The major causes of Mn deficiency are high pH levels and excess iron quantity. Too much of potassium can also block the absorption of Magnesium(Mg).

Common Symptoms-

The tell-tale symptom of Manganese deficiency is the yellowing of interveinal areas, while the leaf margins and veins remain green. The distinguishing symptom would be the chlorosis and formation of necrotic spots, which would first appear on the young leaves first, and then on the old leaves.

Solution for Cannabis Manganese Deficiency-

Manganese absorption can be improved by applying a manganese rich fertilizer, via foliar feeding. The ideal fertilizer would be a hydro micro, a unique Fe-Zn-Mn(Iron-Zinc-Manganese) fertilizer, or even a manganese chelate. The fertilizer can simply be added to the water nutrient solution, as well; however, using the same, in the right concentration, is important.


Copper deficiency in Marijuana plants is a rare case. Copper helps Cannabis plants in nitrogen fixation, carbohydrate metabolism, and oxygen reduction. Deficiency of copper will lead to the deficiency of Nitrogen.

Common Symptoms-

First symptoms would be slow wilting, twisting and curling of new leaves. Tips of the leaves turn yellow or white. The leaves will have oss, and metallic glint to them, of a copper-gray or bluish color. These symptoms, if left, untreated, will lead to slow growth and death of the cannabis plants.

Solution for Cannabis Copper Deficiency-

One of the most common solutions for copper deficiency is the foliar feeding with copper sulfate chelates. You can use  copper rich fertilizers to treat this condition. However, too much of copper can kill the plants.


Zinc deficiency is one of the most common deficiency conditions. The micronutrient zinc, is necessary for the synthesis of various proteins and sugar, in the cannabis plants. This element is necessary for the formation of growth hormone, auxin. Zinc is also essential for chlorophyll formation, retention, and for the overall development of the plant. High alkalinity in the soil, lack of humidity, and high pH levels lead to Zinc deficiency.

Common Symptoms-

Chlorosis is the major symptom that is observed, and this condition is predominant in young leaves. Discoloration will be observed in the leaf tips, and then burns, which are followed by the brown spots. The thin leaves start to wrinkle. And lastly, the leaves turn 90 degrees, sideways.

Solution for Cannabis Zinc Deficiency-

Implementing a micro-mix compound containing zinc, iron, and manganese is the best solution. The combination of zinc sulfate, zinc oxide and chelated zinc, can also be used. As said earlier, keeping the pH at optimum levels, plays a significant role here.


Right care of your marijuana plants, is the only means to prevent the above-mentioned deficiencies. Plants with stronger genetics will have minimal chances of suffering from nutritional deficiencies. Thus, go for the seeds from the best vendor.


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