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under watering cannabis symptoms

How To Fix Overwatered and Underwatered Cannabis Plants

There is a balancing act to how much water a Cannabis plant uses, and if it is absorbed by the roots, or through the foliage via transpiration. For a beginner grower, attempting to find the balance can result in either over-saturating your growing medium or under watering the plants. In this article, we explain how to diagnose the problem, the ways to restore, and our top tips.

1. Overwatering Cannabis Plants

There are many valid reasons why a Cannabis plant that is being grown indoors or outdoors, can become overwatered. The main one is down to inexperience combined with the illusion that the more water and nutrient solution is given, the faster the plants will grow.

Reasons for overwatering

• A poor-draining growing medium.

• An overzealous beginner grower.

• The pot size is too small.

• The growing medium is cold.

• Feeding when lights are off.

What Are The Signs Of Overwatering?

A Cannabis plant may not show signs immediately that it is unhappy and has become oversaturated. The leaves will begin to droop in a downwards fashion as if they have chosen not to photosynthesis as once before.

Due to the excess amount of water in the growing medium, the plants will struggle to offload the water through transpiration. This will completely disrupt the growth, nutrient uptake, and cause a grower to abandon their vapor pressure deficit chart. Depending on how thick and dense the growing medium is, can also determine how little the amount of dissolved oxygen present will be.

How To Restore

The easiest thing to do is simply to allow the growing medium to completely dry out, before considering watering again. By giving your plants 2-3 days to dry out and fill the roots with oxygen and fresh air, the roots will be encouraged to search out for new air pockets.

The dry conditions will also prevent bad bacteria thriving and limit the development of pathogens that depend on high moisture and low-oxygen environments.

What To Remember

• Allow your pots to completely dry out until they are very lightweight.

• Check on the growth structure and vigor of the plants as they begin to respond.

• Pathogens prefer low oxygen and wet conditions to live.

Top Tips

1. It is better to feed smaller amounts of water or nutrient solution, on a more frequent basis. Younger plants prefer this method as it encourages maximum root growth potential and allows Cannabis plants to break down the food easier.

2. Avoid feeding late at night close to lights out, and especially when plants are asleep during the darkness period. It is best to water them after the first hour when lights have turned on.

3. Using a pump and dripper lines connected to a plug timer will be your best bet at timing the watering times every day, without compromising the routine. An excellent way of reducing the physical work involved when watering.

4. The best way to judge how happy your plants are is to access them by appearance. Ideally, the fan leaves should be angled at 45 degrees facing towards the sky. When the leaves begin to droop this is a sign of over or underwatering.

5. Be vigilant of foul-smelling odors developing inside the grow room. When using organic growing mediums and liquid feeds, it is very easy for the lowest parts of the pots to become a breeding ground for unwanted bacteria.

2. Underwatering Cannabis Plants

There can be several reasons where a Cannabis plant is neglected and underwater. Sometimes it may not be practical to water your plants every day at the same time. However, once a growing medium has become totally dry, depending on how dry the air is it can lead to the plants becoming stressed, tired, and deficient of nutrients.

What Are The Signs Of Underwatering?

The plants will look lifeless and close to death, with their fan leaves facing down. The root hairs will also begin to dry out, become thin and crisp at the tips, and the way the plants transpire will be severely affected.

The leaves will become dry, crispy, and depleted, and the foliage will lose its shine and soft, waxy characteristic. The aroma of the plants will become reduced and begin to smell like dried fan leaves.

How To Restore

The key thing is not to overwater your plants but to feed them enough until you see the liquid run off at the base of your pots. It should take 30-60 seconds before there is a slow rate of water or nutrient solution forming at the bottoms.

Keep the nutrient solution the same as before and do not attempt to increase the E.C level to try and make up for the lost time.

What To Remember

• You should aim to saturate the growing medium until the signs of runoff.

• The growing medium that is being used will have an effect on how much water is retained and how much is drained away.

• Keep the temperature of your water around 15-22 degrees Celsius and avoid cold water.

Top Tips

1. Any foliage that has become lifeless and crisp it should be removed from the plant. Dead leaves will attract insects and unwanted guests.

2. After you have watered your growing medium correctly, wait until the containers are light enough to pick up before watering again.

3. Outdoor growers who may not always be able to water their plants on time can benefit from using a pump and drip lines.

4. Foliar feeding Cannabis plants is an excellent way to revitalize them, as well as saturating the growing medium. This will help restore the amount of moisture they can transpire.

5. Cannabis plants grown in smaller pots will always dry out quicker, so it is a good idea to plant into a larger pot that can hold much more moisture.

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