Ever hear the one about the slow-boiling-frog? It says that if you put a frog in a pot of room temperature water and slowly raise the temperature, he won’t notice what’s happening until it’s way too late. Until he’s already starting to boil. In today’s metaphor, you’re the frog. Cannabis plant problems can become obvious to you weeks, even months, after the cause of the problems occurred. They can also just be deviously hard to solve for other reasons.
This article is based upon all-natural and organic growing styles only.
I’m going to lay out some of these plant problems for you. I think you’ll be surprised. At the very least I think I can open up your eyes to other possibilities, when it comes to diagnosing and solving any plant problems. Things like plants coming into contact with toxins, or meters that suddenly become inaccurate, are tough ones to diagnose. You gotta kind of think— “out of the box” — to borrow an 80’s term.
By the time your plants are looking “off,” the actual problem may have occurred weeks, or even months before in some cases. Let’s have a look-see at some culprits I have encountered along these sneaky lines, during my almost half a century of cannabis growing. The sneaky shit.
Cannabis Plant Problems
Soluble Minerals in Water & Soil Recipe Additions
These issues can take months to actually cause you plant problems; that you can see. But when they do show up, it will be ugly. The real sneaky part about these things, is that at first, they show very positive results and super happy plants—yep, it’s true. At first.
I will use an example from a guy I knew that started using mineral water on his plants, and within a week they were all looking stellar. He was raving to me about it over and over, like he had discovered the secret to growing cannabis. I warned him repeatedly that mineral water is way too high in PPM values, regarding mineral salts. They will build up around the roots. This eventually results in pH changes in the rhizosphere of the roots, locking up nutrients. He learned the hard way, 20 days later.
Make any changes to your soil mix, or your water PPMs in very small increments. Wait 60 days before drawing conclusions regarding what you did differently. You’ll be alright amigos. If using soluble minerals in your water or teas, make sure to keep aware of PPM. Use super small amounts of soluble minerals in your water for months before judging, conclusively.
Real Sneaky Shit
Lighting Decay & Toxins
Your lights can be a huge source of issues, and it’s for sure the ‘slow boiling frog’ metaphor worthy. I first came across this issue—and noticed what it was—about 15 years ago. I had purchased a CMH bulb, because a couple of my grower friends told me how good they were in their gardens. It was awesome … for about 6 months. At that point I started having smallish plant problems I couldn’t find the cause of. Once the bulb was 8 months old, I could visibly tell both the spectrum, and the lumens had changed. All I had to do was replace my light and boom, all was better again. Happy plants. Know your lights.
Perhaps the sneakiest of all cannabis plant problems, arise from some kind of toxic contact.
Over a decade ago, HydroHut grow tents had an issue. Their brand-new tents would off-gas some kind of chemical and kill your plants. Things like this can be hard to diagnose, indeed. Always think backwards, about 10 to 14 days backwards, when you first see a plant issue. Ask yourself, what did I do then? Or, is there anything new to my grow in that time?
The toxic tents were just straight-up sneaky. The light bulb anecdote is one example of several, and is sneaky in the slowly becoming worse and worse way (boiling frog). Some LED lights that start out with a full spectrum, will lose parts of their spectrum within a couple of years. This can have negative effects on yields and resin production/potency. As well as plant health and happiness.
Always try and put your plants under the exact same lighting (wattage/spectrum/kelvins) that they will be flowering under. At least 2 weeks before starting them up flowering. Plants take that long to adapt to a new light spectrum and color temperature (kelvins). Otherwise, you basically have your plants underperforming for two weeks at the start of flowering. It matters!
Environmentally Related Plant Problems
Fresh/Moving Air Decay & Temperature Extremes
Exhaust fans can get all boogered up over time, along with ducting. As your air exchange slowly decreases your cannabis plant problems slowly increase. Check them out once a year or so. Super slow boiling frog example there.
In my gardens, if I see a major spike in temperature, for a day, or several days. The minor plant problems will show up days later; like a week or 10 days later. So, don’t confuse this one, thinking your cannabis plant problems were caused by something else. Very high heat, and especially in uber low humidity, will normally cause some minor plant damage. Days later—😉
Cannabis Plant Problems Check List
There are two sneaky ways you can have plant problems. Like the ‘slow boiling frog’ and have it sneak up on you very slowly, over time, getting slowly worse and worse. The other sneaky way, is something out of left field. Like a toxin. Or like a meter failing. Make sure your growing containers, catch trays, and water containers, are all food grade plastic. Especially something you make a living tea in. These can leach toxins into your grow. Let’s check out the fast checklist…
- Meters: Regarding pH and TDS meters, I have always found it handy to have 2 less expensive meters rather than 1 expensive meter. You can check them off of each other, once a week or whatever. Believing an inaccurate meter can kill all your plants, easily. Guess how I know?
- Filters: Water filters, and any air carbon filters. These both become very slowly clogged up with material. You won’t notice what the real problem is by the time it becomes apparent. Check ‘em on a schedule baybee. If you filter chlorine/chloramine from your water, as your filter fades, plant problems build … very slowly. Sneaky AF!
- Ventilation: Fans become quite impacted by built up crap, over time. As does ducting. Inline fans can fail slowly. Circulation fans as well. Once a year is good to check these in my gardens.
- Lighting: Is lighting decay your problem? This could be a quick fix. Also, to avoid hermaphrodites from showing up, just check your flowering room every crop for light leaks. It’s really easy. Use patience, sit in your flowering room in the dark as if plants were there, for about 5 minutes. You will easily see any light leaks. 5 minutes, no less.
Genetics I think need a mention here. I mean, if you are growing 10 plants. Let’s say 8 of them look great but 2 of them are experiencing plant problems. That is likely just a couple of weaker plants. Genetically, it happens. Grab yourself some killer genetics over at Kingdom Organic Seeds. Also, here’s another article by yours truly to check out if ya wanna: Everyone Has Problems.
Finally, a real tip here from me to you. When your only cannabis plant problems happen during the second half of flowering, it’s (very) likely, a you-problem. Try slowly giving the plants their phosphorus (P) over their whole lives rather than try cramming them with P at the end. Anything more than a little bit of P available at any given time is fairly toxic to your living soil. Okay, good talk, heh heh.
Well, that’s it for today my esteemed homeskillets. I’ll be back here next week, so check it out. Wishing all of you well in these weird times. L8r G8rs.
- REvski 😊
I'm The Rev, and I have been with SKUNK for about a decade now. I hail from Southern California, spent mucho time in Northern California, and now reside in Southern Oregon; always coastal. I am an all natural style cannabis grower and I have written a couple books on the subject - check out True Living Organics 2nd Edition on Amazon - I have been growing for over 45 years, and I have been breeding cannabis for over 30 years. Check out kingdomorganicseeds.com to see some exotic selections. Growing connoisseur cannabis is what I teach mostly, growing it in living soil without using liquid organic nutrients to feed the plant. I am also a highly skilled synthetics grower, hydroponics, aeroponics, DWC/SWC/NFT, Ebb and Flow, and soilless, but I cringe when smoking synthetic grown herbs, so for the last 15 years or so I preach the artisan style of all natural growing, specializing in container growing. Cheers and welcome aboard.