Cannabis Deficiencies Chart

By: Kevin

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Imagine this: You’ve meticulously cared for your cannabis plants, ensuring they get the right amount of light, water, and love. But one day, you notice something off. The leaves are starting to yellow, the growth seems stunted, and overall, your plants just don’t look as vibrant as they used to. You’re facing a common issue many growers encounter – nutrient deficiencies.

Understanding the nutritional needs of cannabis plants is a crucial part of successful cultivation. Like humans, these plants require a balanced diet of macro and micronutrients to thrive. But what happens when they don’t get what they need? The answer lies in a handy tool every grower should have – a cannabis deficiencies chart.

In this article, we’ll delve into nutrition, exploring the essential nutrients required for healthy growth, and the consequences when these nutrients are lacking. We’ll present a comprehensive cannabis deficiencies chart, a visual guide to help you identify and rectify nutrient deficiencies, ensuring your plants remain healthy and productive. So, let’s embark on this journey together, and turn those yellowing leaves back to a vibrant green!

Essential Nutrients for Cannabis Growth

Let’s start our journey at the roots (pun intended) of cannabis cultivation – understanding the essential nutrients our green friends need to grow and thrive. Like us, cannabis plants require a balanced diet of nutrients, each playing a unique role in the plant’s overall health and development. These nutrients are typically divided into two categories: macronutrients and micronutrients.


First up, we have the macronutrients. These are the nutrients that cannabis plants need in large quantities. Think of them as the main course of a plant’s meal.

  • Nitrogen (N): This is the main component of amino acids, proteins, and chlorophyll in cannabis plants. It’s like the protein in our diet, essential for growth and development.
  • Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus plays a crucial role in energy transfer and storage in the plant. It’s also vital for root development and flowering. You could compare it to the carbohydrates in our diet, providing energy for all the plant’s activities.
  • Potassium (K): Potassium is involved in various plant processes, including photosynthesis, nutrient uptake, and disease resistance. It’s like the vitamins in our diet, boosting the plant’s overall health and immunity.

Secondary Nutrients

Next, we have the secondary nutrients. While needed in smaller quantities than macronutrients, they are still vital for the plant’s health.

  • Calcium (Ca): Calcium is essential for cell wall structure and stability. It’s like the calcium in our bones, providing structure and strength.
  • Magnesium (Mg): Magnesium is a key component of chlorophyll, playing a crucial role in photosynthesis. It’s like the iron in our blood, enabling the plant to convert sunlight into energy.
  • Sulfur (S): Sulfur is a key player in the formation of certain amino acids and vitamins. It’s like the minerals in our diet, supporting various metabolic processes.


Finally, we have the micronutrients. These are needed in trace amounts but are still essential for the plant’s health and development.

  • Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Boron, Molybdenum, Chlorine, Nickel, Cobalt, and Sodium: Each of these micronutrients play a unique role in the plant’s health, from aiding in enzyme function to supporting protein synthesis.

Cannabis Deficiencies Chart

The Cannabies Deficiencies Chart above is adopted from Dutch Passion, retrieved on August 7, 2023, via

This chart is a visual guide that helps growers identify nutrient deficiencies based on the symptoms exhibited by the plants.

The chart is divided into sections, each representing a specific nutrient. Within each section, you’ll find images of cannabis leaves showing the symptoms of deficiency for that particular nutrient. Alongside the images, you’ll find descriptions of the symptoms and recommended treatments.

Here’s a tabular guide for the cannabies deficiences chart above.

NutrientSymptoms of DeficiencyRecommended Treatment
Nitrogen (N)Yellowing of leaves starting from the older, lower leaves and progressing upwards (chlorosis).Add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to your feeding regimen.
Phosphorus (P)Leaves develop a dark, bluish-green hue or red stems.Add bone meal or rock phosphate to your soil.
Potassium (K)Yellowing of leaf edges, brown spots, and curling of leaf tips.Use a potassium-rich fertilizer or add wood ash to your soil.
Calcium (Ca)New growth is distorted or stunted, and leaves may curl or show spots.Add lime to your soil to increase calcium availability.
Magnesium (Mg)Older leaves turn yellow between the veins, which remain green.Add Epsom salts to your soil or watering regimen.
Sulfur (S)New growth turns pale yellow, while older leaves remain green.Add a sulfur-containing fertilizer to your soil.
Iron (Fe)Younger, upper leaves turn yellow, but the veins remain green.Use iron chelates in your feeding regimen.
Manganese (Mn)Younger leaves develop yellow or white areas between the veins.Use a manganese-containing fertilizer.
Zinc (Zn)Leaves may become yellow and show spots, and leaf tips may become distorted.Use a zinc-containing fertilizer.
Copper (Cu)Growth is stunted, and leaves may become dark green.Use a copper-containing fertilizer.
Boron (B)New growth is distorted, and leaves may curl or become brittle.Use a boron-containing fertilizer.
Molybdenum (Mo)Leaves may become twisted, and older leaves may develop a pink or purple hue.Use a molybdenum-containing fertilizer.
Chlorine (Cl)Leaves become wilted, bronzed, or bleached.Use a chlorine-containing fertilizer.
Nickel (Ni)Leaves may become chlorotic and curl upwards.Use a nickel-containing fertilizer.
Cobalt (Co)Growth is stunted, and leaves may become dark green.Use a cobalt-containing fertilizer.
Sodium (Na)Growth is stunted, and leaves may become yellow or show necrosis.Use a sodium-containing fertilizer.
Tabular Guide for Cannabis Deficiencies Chart

Identifying and Treating Nutrient Deficiencies

With our cannabis deficiencies chart at hand, we’re now better equipped to identify and treat nutrient deficiencies in our cannabis plants. But before we dive into the specifics, let’s take a moment to understand why this is so important.

Identifying nutrient deficiencies early is crucial in cannabis cultivation. The longer a deficiency goes untreated, the more damage it can cause, potentially stunting growth, reducing yield, and even killing the plant. But with timely identification and treatment, we can minimize these risks and ensure our plants remain healthy and productive.

Common Symptoms and Solutions

Nutrient deficiencies often manifest as visible changes in the plant’s appearance. These can include yellowing or browning of leaves, stunted growth, and reduced flowering. By comparing these symptoms with our cannabis deficiencies chart, we can identify the likely nutrient deficiency and take appropriate action.

For instance, if we notice that the older, lower leaves of our plant are turning yellow, we might suspect a nitrogen deficiency. To confirm this, we could check our cannabis deficiencies chart, which would show similar symptoms for nitrogen deficiency. The recommended treatment would be to add a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to our feeding regimen.

Strategies for Identification and Correction

While our cannabis deficiencies chart is a valuable tool, it’s not the only resource at our disposal. Other strategies for identifying and correcting nutrient deficiencies include:

  • Soil testing: This can provide valuable information about the nutrient content of your soil, helping you identify any deficiencies or imbalances.
  • pH testing: The pH level of your soil or growing medium can affect nutrient availability. Regular pH testing can help ensure your plants are able to absorb the nutrients they need.
  • Expert advice: If you’re unsure about a potential nutrient deficiency, don’t hesitate to seek advice from a cannabis cultivation expert or a trusted resource.

Recovery and Importance of Timely Intervention

Once you’ve identified and corrected a nutrient deficiency, it’s important to monitor your plants closely to ensure they recover. This might involve adjusting your feeding regimen, modifying your watering schedule, or making changes to your growing environment.

Remember, the key to managing nutrient deficiencies is timely intervention. The sooner you can identify and correct a deficiency, the less damage it will cause, and the more likely your plants are to recover. So keep a close eye on your plants, refer to your cannabis deficiencies chart regularly, and don’t hesitate to take action at the first sign of trouble. Your plants will thank you for it!

Nutrient Interactions and Their Effects

As we delve deeper into the world of cannabis cultivation, it’s important to understand that nutrients don’t work in isolation. They interact with each other in complex ways, and these interactions can have significant effects on your plants’ health and growth.

For instance, some nutrients can enhance the absorption of others. A prime example is the relationship between iron, manganese, and zinc. These three micronutrients work in harmony, with balanced levels enhancing the absorption and effectiveness of each other. However, an excess of one can lead to a deficiency of the others, as they compete for absorption sites in the plant’s roots.

On the other hand, some nutrients can inhibit the absorption of others when present in high amounts. A classic example is the interaction between potassium, calcium, and magnesium. High levels of potassium can inhibit the absorption of calcium and magnesium, leading to deficiencies even if these nutrients are present in sufficient quantities in the soil.

Understanding these nutrient interactions is crucial for maintaining a balanced nutrient regimen for your cannabis plants. It’s not just about providing all the necessary nutrients, but also about ensuring they’re in the right ratios.

This is where our cannabis deficiencies chart comes in handy again. By identifying symptoms of nutrient deficiencies or excesses, we can adjust our feeding regimen to correct these imbalances, taking into account the complex interactions between different nutrients.

Organic vs. Synthetic Fertilizers

When it comes to feeding your cannabis plants, one of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make is whether to use organic or synthetic fertilizers. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best choice depends on your specific needs and circumstances.

Organic Fertilizers

Organic fertilizers are derived from natural sources, such as compost, manure, bone meal, or seaweed. They are typically slow-releasing, providing nutrients over a longer period and improving the overall health and structure of the soil.


  • They improve soil structure and fertility over time.
  • They are less likely to cause a nutrient burn or other damage to your plants.
  • They can be more environmentally friendly, as they are derived from renewable resources and do not contribute to chemical runoff.


  • They are typically slower to release nutrients, which can be a disadvantage if your plants have an immediate nutrient deficiency.
  • They can be more expensive and harder to find than synthetic fertilizers.
  • The nutrient content can vary, making it harder to provide precise nutrient ratios.

Synthetic Fertilizers

Synthetic fertilizers are manufactured chemically and contain specific ratios of nutrients. They are typically fast-acting, providing an immediate boost of nutrients to your plants.


  • They provide nutrients quickly, which can be beneficial if your plants have an immediate deficiency.
  • They are typically cheaper and more readily available than organic fertilizers.
  • They contain precise nutrient ratios, allowing for more accurate feeding.


  • They do not improve soil structure or long-term fertility.
  • They can cause nutrient burn or other damage if not used correctly.
  • They can contribute to chemical runoff, which can harm the environment.

When choosing between organic and synthetic fertilizers, consider your specific needs and circumstances.

If you’re growing cannabis in a soil-based medium and want to improve long-term soil health, choosing an organic marijuana fertilizer can enhance soil structure and fertility over time.

On the other hand, if you’re growing in a hydroponic system or need to correct a nutrient deficiency quickly, synthetic fertilizers might be more suitable.

In the end, the best fertilizer is the one that meets your plants’ needs and aligns with your cultivation philosophy. Whether you choose organic or synthetic, remember to refer to your cannabis deficiencies chart regularly to ensure your plants are getting the nutrients they need.

The Role of Plant Genetics in Nutrient Uptake

As we continue our journey into the world of cannabis cultivation, it’s time to explore a factor that often gets overlooked – the role of plant genetics in nutrient uptake. Just as humans have genetic variations that affect how we metabolize different nutrients, cannabis plants have genetic variations that affect how they absorb and utilize nutrients.

Different strains of cannabis have evolved in different environments, each with its unique soil composition and nutrient availability. As a result, these strains have developed genetic adaptations that affect their nutrient requirements and how they respond to nutrient deficiencies.

For example, a strain that evolved in a region with nutrient-rich soil might have a higher nutrient requirement than a strain that evolved in a region with poor soil. If you were to grow these two strains under the same conditions, you might find that the first strain shows signs of nutrient deficiency sooner than the second strain, even though they’re receiving the same nutrient regimen.

Similarly, some strains might be more resistant to certain nutrient deficiencies than others. For instance, a strain that evolved in a region with low levels of a particular nutrient might have developed mechanisms to cope with this deficiency, such as more efficient nutrient uptake or utilization.

Understanding the genetic background of your cannabis strains can help you tailor your nutrient regimen to their specific needs, improving their health and productivity. It can also help you select strains that are well-suited to your growing conditions and nutrient availability.

Preventative Measures and Best Practices

As the old saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” This is particularly true in cannabis cultivation, where preventing nutrient deficiencies is often easier and more effective than treating them. Here are some preventative measures and best practices to help keep your cannabis plants healthy and productive.

Monitoring pH Levels

The pH level of your soil or growing medium can significantly affect nutrient availability. Most nutrients are optimally available to cannabis plants in slightly acidic conditions, with a pH of around 6.0 to 7.0. Regularly monitoring and adjusting your pH levels can help ensure your plants are able to absorb the nutrients they need.

Proper Watering Techniques

Overwatering or underwatering can lead to a variety of problems, including nutrient deficiencies. Overwatering can leach nutrients from the soil, while underwatering can prevent the plants from taking up nutrients. Water your plants thoroughly but infrequently, allowing the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings.

Using Proper Growing Medium

Different growing mediums have different nutrient contents. For instance, soil contains more nutrients than hydroponic mediums, but it also holds onto nutrients more tightly, making them less available to plants. Choose a growing medium that suits your nutrient regimen and growing conditions.

Implementing an Integrated Pest Management Plan

Pests can damage your plants and make them more susceptible to nutrient deficiencies. Implement an integrated pest management plan that includes regular inspections, natural pest deterrents, and targeted treatments as needed.

Support with Beneficial Microorganisms

Beneficial microorganisms, such as mycorrhizal fungi and nitrogen-fixing bacteria, can enhance nutrient uptake and improve plant health. Consider adding these microorganisms to your soil or growing medium.

Environmental Monitoring

Factors like temperature, humidity, and light levels can affect plant health and nutrient uptake. Monitor these factors and adjust as necessary to provide optimal growing conditions.

By following these preventative measures and best practices, you can reduce the risk of nutrient deficiencies and ensure your cannabis plants have the nutrients they need to thrive. Remember, prevention is the best cure, so stay proactive and keep your plants happy and healthy!

Troubleshooting Nutrient Deficiencies

Despite our best efforts, nutrient deficiencies can still occur. When they do, it’s important to act quickly to identify and correct the problem. Here are some steps to consider when troubleshooting nutrient deficiencies in your cannabis plants.

Step 1: Identify the Symptoms

The first step in troubleshooting nutrient deficiencies is to identify the symptoms. Are the leaves turning yellow or brown? Is growth stunted? Are the flowers underdeveloped? Compare the symptoms with your cannabis deficiencies chart to get an idea of which nutrient might be deficient.

Step 2: Confirm the Deficiency

Once you’ve identified the potential deficiency, the next step is to confirm it. This might involve testing the soil or growing medium, checking the pH level, or consulting with a cannabis cultivation expert. Remember, symptoms can sometimes be misleading, so it’s important to confirm the deficiency before taking action.

Step 3: Correct the Deficiency

After confirming the deficiency, the next step is to correct it. This might involve adjusting your feeding regimen, adding a specific fertilizer, or modifying your growing conditions. Refer to your cannabis deficiencies chart for recommended treatments.

Step 4: Monitor the Recovery

Once you’ve corrected the deficiency, monitor your plants closely to ensure they recover. Look for improvements in the symptoms and overall plant health. If the plants don’t improve or the symptoms worsen, you may need to reevaluate your diagnosis and treatment.

Importance of Soil pH in Nutrient Availability

Throughout this process, keep in mind the importance of soil pH in nutrient availability. If the pH is too high or too low, it can affect the availability of nutrients, leading to deficiencies even if the nutrients are present in the soil. Regularly monitor and adjust your pH levels to ensure optimal nutrient availability.

By following these steps, you can effectively troubleshoot nutrient deficiencies in your cannabis plants. Remember, the key is to act quickly and decisively, as the longer a deficiency goes untreated, the more damage it can cause. So stay vigilant, trust your cannabis deficiencies chart, and don’t hesitate to seek help if needed.

The Impact of Nutrient Deficiencies on Yield and Quality

As we near the end of our journey into the world of cannabis cultivation, it’s time to discuss the impact of nutrient deficiencies on yield and quality. After all, the ultimate goal of any cannabis grower is to produce a high-quality, high-yielding crop. But how do nutrient deficiencies affect this goal?

Effects on Growth

Nutrient deficiencies can significantly impact the growth of your cannabis plants. Depending on the nutrient in question, a deficiency can lead to stunted growth, reduced branching, or smaller leaves. This can result in a smaller plant overall, which typically means a lower yield.

Effects on Flower Production

Nutrient deficiencies can also affect flower production. For instance, a deficiency in phosphorus, which plays a crucial role in energy transfer and flowering, can lead to fewer, smaller flowers. Similarly, a deficiency in potassium, which is involved in nutrient uptake and disease resistance, can lead to weak flowers that are susceptible to disease.

Effects on Potency

Perhaps most importantly for many growers, nutrient deficiencies can affect the potency of your cannabis. Cannabis potency is largely determined by the concentration of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, which are produced in the plant’s trichomes. Nutrient deficiencies can reduce the production of these trichomes, leading to less potent cannabis.

Strategies to Minimize Impact

While nutrient deficiencies can have significant impacts on yield and quality, there are strategies to minimize these impacts. These include:

  • Regularly monitoring your plants and soil to catch deficiencies early.
  • Using a cannabis deficiencies chart to identify and correct deficiencies.
  • Implementing a balanced nutrient regimen that takes into account the complex interactions between different nutrients.
  • Choosing cannabis strains that are well-suited to your growing conditions and nutrient availability.

By understanding the impact of nutrient deficiencies on yield and quality, and implementing strategies to minimize these impacts, you can ensure your cannabis grow is as successful as possible.

Closing Thoughts

We’ve journeyed through the complex world of cannabis cultivation, exploring the essential nutrients required for healthy growth, the consequences of nutrient deficiencies, and the tools and strategies to identify and correct these deficiencies. We’ve delved into the interactions between different nutrients, the debate between organic and synthetic fertilizers, and the role of plant genetics in nutrient uptake.

Through it all, we’ve seen the importance of a balanced nutrient regimen and the value of a handy tool like the cannabis deficiencies chart. We’ve learned that preventing nutrient deficiencies is often easier and more effective than treating them, and that timely intervention is key to minimizing damage and ensuring a healthy, productive grow.

But perhaps the most important lesson is this: cannabis cultivation is as much an art as it is a science. It requires patience, vigilance, and a willingness to learn from both successes and failures. It’s a journey of discovery, where each grow is an opportunity to learn more about this remarkable plant and its needs.

So, as you continue your journey, remember to keep an eye on your plants, refer to your cannabis deficiencies chart regularly, and don’t hesitate to seek help if needed. Happy growing, and may your cannabis plants be healthy and bountiful!

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