Nutrient Deficiencies in Marijuana Plants

Just like human beings, cannabis plants require varied and healthy diets to survive, thrive, and put out high yields. They need the appropriate host of nutrients, essential ones being nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. If they miss one of these, their growth will deteriorate, and yields will be negatively affected or what’s called cannabis nutrient deficiencies.

As a marijuana cultivator, you need to grow the healthiest marijuana plants that produce high yields. Nothing slows down this goal much faster than nutrient deficiencies. Ultimately, the most severe nutrient deficiencies can result in the death of the plant.

In severe cases, these deficiencies may make the plant vulnerable to attacks from pests. Luckily, there are ways to treat these nutrient deficiencies and encourage rapid growth.


Marijuana plants require macronutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium in large amounts. Just like carbs, fats, and proteins form the keystone of the human diet, marijuana seeds require these vital nutrients in adequate amounts to survive.


Nitrogen plays a significant role in the growth of marijuana plants. It’s used for various plant processes, from the production of essential amino acids and chlorophyll to photosynthesis. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, while chlorophyll helps in the photosynthesis process. So, you can clearly understand why nitrogen is essential for a healthy plant.

Nitrogen deficiency can cause yellowing and dropping off of older leaves. It can eventually lead to discoloration of the whole plant plus low yields. The best way you can sort out this deficiency is by using a foliar spray rich in nitrogen so that your plant can begin the repairing process as soon as possible.


Phosphorus, a mobile nutrient, is one of the significant nutrients that marijuana plants need the most. Just like nitrogen, phosphorus plays a vital role in protein synthesis and photosynthesis. It’s also an essential component of DNA. Phosphorus deficiency can appear as purple or red stems, dry leaves, and brown spots on leaves.

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Even though it’s not as common as nitrogen deficiency, phosphorus deficiency is a definite possibility, specifically in hydroponic systems. It’s primarily responsible for helping your marijuana plant grow roots and increase the strength of its stem and leaves too.

It also helps in seedling germination, making it a vital nutrient during the plant’s flowering phase. If your plant lacks sufficient phosphorus during the flowering stage, you’ll limit the potential high yield. When providing your marijuana plant with phosphorus, you shouldn’t be dainty, for it needs them in large quantities.


Potassium helps to control CO2 uptake and also plays a significant role in the photosynthesis and conversion process. This mobile nutrient aids in ATP production; a cellular unit of energy. You’ll detect potassium deficiency in your marijuana plant by brown and yellow leaf edges and tips, stretching, and curled-up leaves.

In the world of marijuana growing, potassium deficiency is relatively standard. This is because potassium occurs in the lowest ratios with most fertilizers. As opposed to other macronutrients, your marijuana plant requires less potassium.

However, it would help if you still had it for your plant to function correctly. It’s primarily responsible for the plant’s water respiration. Potassium assists in the water circulation through the fundamental parts of your plants. This makes it essential for vegetative and flowering phases. All in all, the best way of solving this is by using an efficient fattening fertilizer such as Monster Bloom.




Marijuana plants only need small amounts of micronutrients. However, they’re still as important to their health as the macronutrients. These include sulfur, zinc, and boron. Here, you can think of them like vitamins and minerals in your diet. You don’t need much of them, although, without them, you might easily fall ill.


Photosynthesis in your marijuana plant can’t occur without the presence of magnesium. This mineral sits at the center of the chlorophyll fragment and allows it to absorb light. Magnesium deficiency will generally result in lower growth rates of your plant.

Leaves will turn yellow, dry out, and ultimately turn brown. You can sort this out by including dolomitic limestone in your growing medium and using compost rich in manure.


Even though manganese doesn’t receive a lot of attention in the world of marijuana growing, it plays a significant role in marijuana physiology. It assists in respiration, nitrogen assimilation, photosynthesis, and root cell elongation. It protects the roots from harmful microbes too.

Manganese deficiency shows up as light green discoloration at the base of new growth. Eventually, this extends to the tips and later brown spots begin to appear. You can fix this by adding tomatoes, carrots, and pineapples to your pile.





Although marijuana plants don’t need much zinc, they’ll become ill if this mineral misses out. Zinc is part of the growth of hormones, proteins, and membranes. This immobile micronutrient stabilizes DNA and RNA and regulates enzyme function as well.

What happens if your plant lacks zinc? You’ll start noticing deficiency symptoms and slowed new growth. The distance between the nodes will lessen, and the plant leaves wrinkles and becomes yellowish. You can increase levels of zinc levels by using squash scraps and pumpkin. Using seaweed or fish foliar spray can as well increase zinc levels.

Mobile and immobile nutrients

Knowing the difference between immobile and mobile nutrients can help you diagnose nutrient deficiencies effectively. Mobile nutrients can be transported all over the plant to parts that require it the most.

For instance, phosphorus located in the older leaves can move towards new growing leaves when a deficiency occurs. That’s why you’ll first notice the lack of a mobile nutrient in older growth.

However, immobile nutrients stay impenetrable in one place, and plants can’t reallocate them. For example, say a zinc deficit occurs, you’ll first notice the signs in the newer growth because the plant can’t relocate its mineral supply.


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Finally, even though marijuana plants need sulfur in small amounts, it contributes to forming key proteins and also enzymes. A deficiency in sulfur leads to discoloration underneath the leaves and yellowing of new growth. Since fungi and manure are essential for releasing sulfur in the soil, using compost manure can boost sulfur concentration.

Are your marijuana plants not growing to your expectations, and you’re wondering why? Contact us today, and we’ll help get the high yields and healthy marijuana plants you crave for.

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