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How To Deal With Slow Cannabis Growth

If you feel like your plants are not growing as fast as they should then it’s most likely there’s something wrong, slow growth can be a result of a number of things. If your plants are suffering from slow root growth, or you’re asking yourself why your plants are growing so slow, here’s a couple of tips to help you fix your problem, remember these problems can affect cannabis in all stages of plant growth.

When growing cannabis there are a lot of variables that can affect the growth and final result of your harvest. From genetics, possible nutrient deficiencies, root system and pests problems to the environment, you need to make sure everything is okay if you want to have a smooth growth cycle. Providing your plants with a warm slightly humid climate will not only help you to deal with their slow growth but can result in a bigger and better harvest.

1. Lights

Not enough light is one of the main problems associated with slow growth. Not providing enough light will cause your plants to take way longer to develop because they don’t have a good amount of light to photosynthesize.

When your plants are still young you can see this, for example, when your seedling is stretching too much, this is a sign that your plant is not getting enough light and is trying to get closer to it.

Now, have in mind that you can also give your plants too much light (if the environment is not appropriate for the amount of light you’re providing).

This happens because most high-intensity lights have to be used in combination with higher CO2 levels so your plant can absorb the light properly, if the CO2 level is too low your plant can get stressed and show heat stress signs, resulting in slow growth.

How to deal with it

If you’re experiencing light-related problems (like heat stress symptoms), you should try to adjust the intensity (with a dimmer) or the height your light fixture is at.

A good way to test this is to keep your hands under the light for around 30 seconds, if it’s too hot for you, it definitely is too hot for your plants.

As a general guide, LEDs should be kept in between 60-100 cm from your plants (depending on the model) while light bulb fixtures should be around 30cm from your canopy.

2. Environment

Even though some plants can withstand harsh environments, most cannabis plants enjoy a warm slightly humid climate, it’s essential you have a thermo hygrometer to measure this and adjust when necessary.

If the temperature in your grow room is below 15°C or above 30°C for too long, you will start to see slower growth and if left like that for too long, you’ll see signs of unhappy plants like droopy leaves or the leaves starting to yellow, crisp and die.

This also applies to humidity. Humidity levels below 35% can stunt growth and if they’re even lower than that (around 25%), you’ll start to see signs of deficiency on your plant.

A humidity level higher than 70% can also have a toll on your cannabis plant, slowing your plant’s growth, making them droopy because it makes it harder for the plant to move water internally.

How to deal with it

If your seedlings are not growing or you’re wondering why your seedlings are growing so slow, this could be the problem.

To avoid environment-related problems you have to ensure your growing environment is optimal for your plants.

For your cannabis plants to thrive you need to provide a temperature of around 22-25 celsius and a humidity level of 60% for seedling, 50% in the vegetative stage, and 40% in the flowering stage.

Stage Humidity Level
Seedling 60%
Vegetative 50%
Flowering 40%

These numbers are just a guideline, you should always look for the signs your plants give you and adjust the environment accordingly.

3. Root problems

Unless you’re growing in a hydroponic (or aeroponic) setup you won’t be able to see your plant’s roots.

Keeping a good environment for your plants also includes maintaining the medium oxygenated and with the right amount of water. Root problems are the main cause of slow growth with new growers, adjusting and maintaining a good growing medium for the roots is the best way to fix stunted growth in plants.

The lack of appropriate care with the roots can cause the following problems:

Overwatering

Overwatering is a common occurrence with new growers, excessive watering inhibits oxygen from reaching the roots and can result in the drowning of your plant.

Overwatered plants will start to droop, show slower growth, start yellowing, and show signs of deficiencies because they can’t absorb nutrients properly.

Underwatering

Underwatering isn’t as common as overwatering but can also affect your plant in a bad way.

If there’s a lack of water in the medium, your plant will show signs similar to the signs of overwatering but instead of the leaves looking “fat” because of the excess of water, they will look thin and fragile because there’s no water (or a tiny amount) in them.

Rootbound

Rootbound happens when you plant your seeds in a small pot or container and the roots don’t have any more room to grow.

When this happens, your plant will start to show different symptoms than can confuse you, when you see your plant getting much wider than the pot you should start thinking about transplanting it, failing to give the roots the space they need to grow will result in droopy leaves and other signs associated with overwatering of nutrient deficiencies.

How to deal with it

To avoid root problems you have to make sure you’re giving the roots enough oxygen, room to grow, and water only when needed.

You should water only when at least 60% of the medium is dry and transplant your cannabis when she’s growing out the pot she’s in.

If you’re having problems with this we recommend you try different mixes of soil, perlite, and coco fiber, this will help you provide the right amount of oxygen and water to the roots.

4. Nutrient deficiencies

Plants need nutrients to grow, depending on the medium you’re growing in, you’ll need to not only provide all the macronutrients but also a good amount of micronutrients.

You also have to remember that nutrient absorption is directly related to the pH level.

If you don’t provide the amount of nutrients your plant needs or if you fail to adjust the pH level your plant won’t be able to grow properly and will result in nutrient deficiencies, stunting growth and damaging the leaves.

How to deal with it

To fix this you need to adjust the amount of nutrients you’re giving your plant and check the pH level every day.

If you’re giving the right amount of nutrients then the problem will most likely be the pH level, remember the pH level changes according to the medium you’re growing in and you should always check it and adjust it if you want your plants to grow healthy.

It is crucial you keep your plant well fed and with the correct pH levels, if you see even the slightest yellowing on the leaves then your plant is most likely not growing properly.

5. Bugs or pests

Bugs and pests feed on your plant, they can feed on the sugars or on the plant matter, either way, they will damage your plant and slow its growth.

Some bugs like Spider mites can also rot the buds, making them unhealthy to smoke so it’s crucial you keep your plant healthy and check on them every day to spot bugs early.

How to deal with it

There are different ways to deal with bugs but the best way is to prevent them.

By checking on your plants every day you avoid bugs, you can also spread yellow sticky traps so you can spot them early.

You can also spray your plants with a mix of water and a small dose of organic insecticide to prevent them although this is not recommended, insecticides should only be used when you already have bugs and are used to eliminate and not to prevent them.

6. Genetics

Slow plant growth can also be the result of bad genetics, even though you cannot change this once you’ve already started to grow your plant, you should always start with good genetics. This will save you time and money and can result in a bigger and better harvest.

How to deal with it

If you’re dealing with slow plant growth and can’t seem to get to the root of it, the cause of your problems can be bad genetics.

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If you feel like your plants are not growing as fast as they should then it’s most likely there’s something wrong, slow growth can be a result of a

Top 10 Reasons For Slow Cannabis Growth

Published : Sep 29, 2018
Categories : Top 10

There can be many reasons why your cannabis plant is growing slow or has stopped growing altogether. It could be a factor in your growing environment such as temperature being off, a problem with nutrients, or something else. Let’s look at the top 10 reasons behind slow and stunted cannabis growth.

When you are growing cannabis, you may sometimes think that you have taken care of everything. Then, seemingly out of the blue, you notice that your plant has stopped growing or is only growing slowly. This can happen during all stages of your cannabis plant’s growth—early in the seedling stage or later in the vegetative growing phase. Why won’t your seedling grow? What could be the reason for your cannabis plant developing slower than it should? Here are some of the most common reasons for slow and stunted growth.

TOP REASONS FOR SLOW AND STUNTED CANNABIS GROWTH

1. OVERWATERING

Many cannabis growers, especially those new to cultivation, tend to overwater their plants. Overwatering is indeed one of the most common (and lethal) mistakes when it comes to growing weed, and can cause many growing problems as a result. Slow and stunted growth of your plant can be due to nutrient deficiencies, root rot, or infestation, all of which can be catalysed by excess water in the substrate. If you want to water your plant right, don’t do so on a schedule—just when your plant needs it. It is always better to water less often so that the soil can dry out. A good test of whether you should water your plants is to lift the pot. If the pot is heavy and damp, it’s not time; if the pot is light and dry, you’ll know it’s time to water.

2. NOT ENOUGH NUTRIENTS

Some cannabis growers have a tendency to overfeed their plants, but not giving plants enough nutrients is another culprit of slow growth. If you’re growing with a pre-fertilised potting mix, know that the nutrients in these will normally only last some weeks to a month. After that time, you need to administer your cannabis with phase-specific nutrients to support healthy development, and eventually, robust flowering. However, know that nutrient requirements for your plant can vary. This will depend on the strain that you’re growing, as well as other factors such as temperature and how much light your plant is getting. If you’re growing under intensive grow lights, your plant will need more nutrients than if it were growing under less light.

3. SEEDS ARE LOW IN QUALITY OR OLD

Low-quality or old cannabis seeds are a common reason for all sorts of growing problems. If you use low-quality seeds, your plant may grow slow and stunted, or your seed may not even germinate at all. For best results, choose only quality seeds like those you can get at Zambeza and other reputable seed banks. With Zambeza Seeds, you will receive the best genetics so your cannabis plant will have a great start to its life, and a much better chance of healthy growth throughout all stages.

4. YOUR PLANT IS NOT GETTING ENOUGH LIGHT

Cannabis needs a lot of light, especially in the flowering phase. But your plants will also need sufficient light to support their vegetative growth. Although light requirements may vary between strains, all plants need a baseline amount of light exposure to prosper. If you grow indoors and feel that your plants are not getting enough light, you should be able to simply lower your lights, decreasing the distance between the lamp and the canopy. If you’re growing outdoors, make sure you plant in a spot with a lot of direct sun, or move your pots around throughout the day to maximise sun exposure.

5. YOUR PLANT IS GETTING TOO MUCH LIGHT

Again, cannabis plants love and require a lot of light; but too much is not a good thing either. Constant direct exposure to intensive sunlight or high-intensity indoor grow lights can stress your plants, which can lead to slow growth and other problems. If you think that too much light is behind the issue and you are growing indoors, move your plants further away from your lights to decrease the intensity. If you’re growing outdoors in pots, move your plants to a location with diffused or partial sunlight if possible.

6. WRONG TYPE OF LIGHT

In addition to the amount of light, the spectrum of light plays an equally important role. Some types of grow lights, those with a warmer, more reddish light spectrum, are more suited for flowering, while other lights can emit a colder, blueish light that is better for the vegetative phase. Make sure that you use a light in the right spectrum, otherwise your plant may grow slower than normal. Many common grow lights today are suitable for both your plant’s vegetative and flowering phases. However, if you are not sure, make sure you read the description for the light or ask the vendor before you purchase.

7. CALCIUM DEFICIENCY

Cannabis requires many vital elements for healthy growth, and calcium is one of them. If your plant is experiencing a calcium deficiency, it will mostly affect new growth on top of your plant. You may observe symptoms such as slow or twisted new growth, or the leaves turning purple or yellow. In time, your whole plant will take on a sickly appearance.

Although most cannabis nutrients should contain adequate amounts of calcium for healthy growth, a deficiency can still occur. Some growing media such as coco increase the risk for a calcium deficiency. This is also why coco growers normally use special coco nutrients or add Cal-Mag products to their nutrient regimen. You can also add dolomitic lime to your soil to avoid a calcium deficiency.

8. PH PROBLEMS

Along with overwatering or overfeeding, problems with the pH value of the water or nutrient solution are a common reason for slowed growth. Cannabis is rather picky when it comes to correct pH value, and if your plant is not within a healthy pH window, it cannot take up nutrients—even if they are present.

If you grow your cannabis plant in soil, ensure that your water or nutrient solution has a pH value of 6.5–7.0. For hydro, the optimal pH for cannabis is 5.6–5.8. If you grow soilless, including in coco, make sure the pH value for your water sits at 6.0–6.3.

9. YOUR POTS ARE TOO BIG

Have you ever wondered why you should start your plant in a small pot and only later repot into a bigger container? The answer is that a tiny seedling cannot absorb all the moisture present in a large pot, which can lead to all sorts of troubles. Mature plants with a large root system won’t have this problem as they can drink much more. One other issue with large pots is that they will take much longer to dry out. And just as with overwatering, the large pot and the stagnant moisture can incite slowed growth and a host of other problems.

Always start your seed in a small container such as a cup or jiffy pot, then transfer it into a larger pot once your plant has a set of 5–6 leaves. If you have already planted your seed in a large pot, make sure that you water only in a small area around the seedling.

THE OPTIMAL POT SIZE FOR CANNABIS PLANTS

Plant height 30cm: 7.5–11l container
Plant height 60cm: 11–19l container
Plant height 90cm: 18–26l container
Plant height 120cm: 22–37l container
Plant height 150cm: 30–37l+ container

10. TEMPERATURES TOO LOW OR TOO HIGH

Cannabis, like many other plants, grows best at moderately warm temperatures. The optimal temperature range for growing weed is between 25 and 30°C, although nighttime temperatures should be a few degrees lower. If it is too cold, this will slow down your plant’s growth. Likewise, you want to avoid exposing your plants to excessive heat. Temperatures that are too high can also lead to slow growth or halt plant development altogether. If you are growing indoors, make sure that the temperatures are at a comfortable level for your plants and that your grow room is well-ventilated. Sometimes a simple fan can be all that’s needed to get grow room temperatures under control.

No reason to panic if your cannabis plant is growing slow! With our guide, you should be able to identify and address the most common reasons for slow and stunted growth.

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When your cannabis plants are growing slow or not at all, there is a reason for it. Find out about the top 10 reasons for slow cannabis growth.