Cannabis plants are known to be resilient. However, growing high-quality cannabis is no easy feat, and many mistakes can be made along the way.
According to an article on Leafly.com, a leading online cannabis resource, here are five of the most common pitfalls you can avoid with some preparation and careful monitoring.
Overfeeding your plants is a classic mistake made by new growers. Nutrients come in two forms: non-organic and organic. Organic nutrients come from compost, manure, and other refined minerals in the ground. They release slowly into the soil when applied and are not readily available for the plant to take up in excess, which means organic nutrients are your safest bet to try and avoid overfeeding.
However, you might not get the immediate boost you want from organics, so you might use non-organic nutrients. Or, if growing hydroponically, you may be using liquid non-organics, which are readily available for the plant to uptake. Using too much will cause the plant to overfeed and “burn” itself, resulting in death or loss of yields.
When it comes to feeding, start low and slow. Follow the instructions and start with what is recommended.
Like overfeeding, giving your plants too much water can harm or even kill them. Overwatering will cause your roots to suffocate and die. Once root rot sets in, it’s nearly impossible to remove and you will have to start over. To avoid this setback, make sure the top inch of the soil is bone dry, or even lift your pots to get a feel for their weight. If you’re truly unsure, you can wait to see a little wilting in your plants to be sure they are ready for water.
Measure how much water your plants receive and develop a schedule. As they grow, you can increase the water quantity — but do so with caution.
3. Poor Climate Control
Temperature and humidity are crucial to the development of quality cannabis. Cold temperatures can stunt plant growth, and even colder temperatures will kill plants. On the contrary, if your plants are too hot they will develop heat stress. The leaves curl in as if hiding from the light or sun, and the plants become weak and tired. If the hot climate continues, you will constantly battle this heat stress and the plant will eventually die or produce very unhealthy buds. You want to keep your plants happy at around 75°F when possible.
Make sure you also keep the humidity level low. Humidity provides a breeding ground for mold. Seedlings like a higher humidity content, but as the plant develops, humidity should decrease. Starting around 60% and reducing to around 40% is generally considered good practice. To control humidity, use intake and outtake fans, open walls in greenhouses to push the humid air out, and use dehumidifiers.
4. Wrong Water pH
If the water you’re using is too acidic or basic, you can run into some real problems. Ideally, you want to use water that is between a pH of 6.0 to 7.0. This pH level allows your plants to absorb the full range of nutrients it desires. Fall outside of this range and you will start to see nutrient deficiencies because the water is lacking in acidity or is too acidic for that nutrient to become available.
Check the pH level of your water source routinely. You can buy filters to maintain a specific pH level and/or put additives in your water to raise or lower the acidity.
5. Poorly Installed Electrical Systems
Whatever electrical system you’re installing, make sure it is done properly. Because of security and legality, many growers have done their own electrical work, but it’s important to find someone with a background as a licensed electrician to help you. Though costly up front, a dependable system will save you time and headaches.