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Signs of Cannabis Plant Stress & What They Mean

April 21, 2022 April 28th, 2022 No Comments

Drooping Leaves

  • Downward curling, sagging leaves are a sign of overwatering. Overwatering can be detrimental to plant growth because it suffocates the plants, not allowing them to get oxygen and nutrients from the soil. When deprived of essential nutrients, the leaves turn yellowish. Additionally, stagnant water can also attract pests.
  • Overwatering does not always mean you are giving the plants too much water, but it could be that you are watering them too frequently. Another factor could be that there is no drainage in your pots, and the water is stagnant.
  • Frequently check the moisture level of the soil to ensure it is light and airy. After watering the plant, the soil should not stay wet for more than a few days. If it does, consider better drainage for the soil.
Cannabis Plants From Overwatering

Dry, Brittle Leaves

  • Hard and wilted leaves that start to cup at the ends are a sign of dehydration. When the leaves do not receive enough water, they feel hard and crispy to the touch. The soil will also feel very dry. Dehydration affects the metabolic development of the plant, which is why it is important to ensure the plants are receiving enough water.
  • It is a sign that it is time to water your plants when the top 1-2 inches of the soil is dry.
Cannabis Plants with Dehydration

Yellow, Brown Leaves

  • Leaves will start to turn brown or yellow when they are experiencing light burn from too much light or heat. Light burn can make the leaves hard and crisp and gives them a burnt appearance. Overexposure can happen if the lights are too close to the canopy and the temperature is too high. This stress on the plant alters its growth and negatively affects yield and cannabinoid content.
  • Prevention is possible by mounting the lights at suggested hanging heights. Also, ensure that you have proper circulation with fans and ventilation.
Cannabis Plant with Light Burn

Wilting, Off-Color Leaves

  • Leaves that are discolored and sickly looking are signs  of a nutrient deficiency. A lack of macronutrients (nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium) causes the leaves that are towards the base of the plant to droop and become discolored, eventually dying. A lack of micronutrients (calcium, zinc, manganese, iron, etc.) causes the new leaves to curl and become off-color.
  • Avoid nutrient deficiency by giving your plants a combination of the essential macro and micronutrients. Additionally, use a root wash to ensure the roots can absorb the nutrients properly. Also, make sure there are proper pH levels in your nutrient-water solution.
Cannabis Plant with Nutrient Deficiency


  • Bud rot is mold that develops in the core of the buds from too much moisture and not enough air circulation. The buds are no longer consumable after any mold forms, so it is important to avoid this. Mold thrives in warm, damp, and humid conditions. Therefore, it is crucial to keep humidity levels down and have adequate air circulation.
Cannabis Plant with Mold

Slimy, Brown, and Twisted Roots

  • Roots that are slimy, brown, and smell bad are signs of root rot. Root rot is from overwatering, which results in the plant not getting enough oxygen and leaving the leaves to look droopy. If you discover root rot, transplant your plant to new soil with proper aeration.
Cannabis Plants with Root Rot

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