Nitrogen Deficiency: How To Recognise And Prevent It
3 min

Nitrogen Deficiency: How To Recognise And Prevent It

3 min

Here we explore the critical role of nitrogen in cannabis, as well as how to identify, prevent, and treat nitrogen deficiencies. We'll even recommend the perfect products to do so. Whether you're new to cannabis cultivation or have vast expertise, this article summarises everything you need to know about cannabis plants and nitrogen.

It's not unusual for plants to face some problems during their life cycle. While some are serious and hard to rectify, others can be dealt with reasonably easily. Fortunately, a nitrogen deficiency generally falls into the latter category. In this article, we delve into the importance of nitrogen for cannabis plants, how a deficiency can arise, and most importantly, what you can do about it.

What is nitrogen, and why does a plant need it?

Nitrogen Deficiency: How To Recognise And Prevent It

So, what is nitrogen, and why is it so crucial to plants? Nitrogen is essential not just to cannabis, but to all plant life. The element is a significant component of chlorophyll, allowing the plant to photosynthesise and take on a healthy green colour. It’s also a major component of amino acids, and it plays numerous other roles in plant growth and development. For these reasons, it’s crucial to ensure your plants are uptaking the correct amount of nitrogen. But what happens if a deficiency is present?

How is a nitrogen deficiency recognised?

How Is A Nitrogen Deficiency Recognised?

Fortunately, due to nitrogen's role in chlorophyll production, the signs of a deficiency are pretty obvious, even for novice cannabis growers. A lack of nitrogen will cause plants to yellow and lose their healthy green colour—a symptom known as chlorosis. Other symptoms include reduced leaf size, delayed flowering, and lower branches dying off. The plant will also eventually stop growing. So if you notice one or more of these indicators, chances are you have a nitrogen deficiency on your hands.

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Nitrogen Deficiency In Cannabis Plants

What are the causes of a nitrogen deficiency?

What Are The Causes Of A Nitrogen Deficiency?

It might seem obvious, but what are some of the causes of nitrogen deficiency? It can boil down to a few different issues. A common cause is pH imbalance. Soil with a pH level that's too low can impact the plant's ability to uptake nitrogen. Also, if there is a lack of microbial life in the soil, this can lead to a deficiency, as can poor cation exchange capacity. Cation exchange capacity (or CEC) refers to the ability of the soil to hold onto positively charged ions called cations. We won't get too in-depth with the science here, but an appropriate CEC means that your plant's roots have access to the ionic forms of nitrogen in the soil. Lastly, nitrogen deficiency can occur in plants growing in nutrient-deficient soil.

What can you do to prevent a nitrogen deficiency?

What Can You Do To Prevent A Nitrogen Deficiency?

As you can likely tell by this point, an appropriate substrate is paramount to preventing nitrogen deficiency. So, maintaining this factor will allow your plants to flourish. There are many ways to do this, such as by utilising a nitrogen-rich fertiliser throughout the growing cycle. Even some tricks, such as adjusting the pH level of your soil, can be enough to get your plants back on track.

However, if you're looking for a surefire way to prevent a nitrogen deficiency, consider checking out Terra Grow from Plagron. This product contains everything your beloved plants need to exhibit vigorous, healthy growth from an early age. The essential molecules in this product are absorbed directly into the roots and may help to prevent symptoms of deficiency as well as stimulate soil life.

How can you cure a nitrogen deficiency?

How Can You Cure A Nitrogen Deficiency?

If you've noticed that your plant is looking a little sorry for itself and showcasing deficiency symptoms, now is the time to act. So, how do you get your plant back to 100%? Nutrient-rich plant foods will be your best option here, regardless of whether your plants are in the vegetative or flowering stage. As we know, the dreaded nitrogen deficiency can strike at any time if no preventative preparations are in place.

Here's where Plagron can help once again. This time, we're talking about Sugar Royal. This invaluable liquid fertiliser is primed for the plant's vegetative stage, supporting a healthy root system and boosting growth. With a nitrogen-rich formula, Sugar Royal is ideal for nursing your plants back to their bright green and, most importantly, healthy state.

If your plant is a little further down the track, nearing harvest, and begins to exhibit deficiency symptoms, don't worry! There are still actions you can take here at this crucial stage. Be sure to give your plants the appropriate level of Sugar Royal, and wait to see improvement.

What about excess nitrogen?

What About Excess Nitrogen?

Too much of a good thing can also be bad. While nitrogen is extremely important and beneficial to cannabis, it's possible to give your plant a little too much, resulting in nitrogen toxicity. This can manifest as very dark green leaves that have a soft, almost leathery texture, complete with curled ends. The difference between a healthy leaf and one that's suffering from an excess of nitrogen is night and day, so be wary.

What can you do?

Sometimes, the cause of nitrogen excess is as simple as giving your plants too much fertiliser, so be sure to carefully read the instructions of any product you're using, and go easy. Consider using slow-release fertilisers as a means of reducing the risk of overfeeding. Moreover, reduce the amount of nitrogen you give to your plants in the final weeks of flowering, as they won't need much.

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How do you ensure the right amount of nitrogen?

When looking to provide your plants with the right amount of nitrogen, it really comes down to which growth stage they're in (seedling, vegetative, or flowering). This will dictate exactly how much you should administer. As mentioned, when using nitrogen-rich plant food and fertilisers, thoroughly read the instructions to ensure you're giving them the correct amount from the get-go.

Planning, prevention & Plagron

Planning, Prevention & Plagron

There you have it, our breakdown of nitrogen deficiency and excess, and what you can do to prevent and cure these troublesome ailments. If you see that your plant has been afflicted, there's no need to freak out and start throwing your carefully curated cultivars into the bin. Simply take stock, assess the issue at hand, and act on it. Of course, keep Plagron's products on standby, and you'll be prepared to deal with any plant problems that may arise.

Adam Parsons
Adam Parsons
Professional cannabis journalist, copywriter, and author Adam Parsons is a long-time staff member of Zamnesia. Tasked with covering a wide range of topics from CBD to psychedelics and everything in between, Adam creates blog posts, guides, and explores an ever-growing range of products.
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