If you’ve ever done any kind of gardening—any kind at all—chances are you’ve said these words at least once: “What the deuce is wrong with these plants?!” All right, maybe not those exact words, but something to that effect. This sentiment is usually followed by some level of panic because there’s now a very real possibility that you could lose the plant completely (i.e., it dies).
This is especially true when you’re growing cannabis because the end result is a homegrown psychedelic trip or some much-needed medication. So there’s real value waiting for you at the end of this particular rainbow.
One of the more common “What the…” problems is magnesium deficiency in cannabis. It can affect any strain at any time and eventually leads to the complete failure of your crop (again, that’s DEATH, boys and girls). So what’s a concerned cannasseur to do if magnesium deficiency rears its ugly head? Treat the problem and prevent it from happening again, that’s what.
But how exactly can you tell if it’s magnesium deficiency or something else entirely? The experts at Honest Marijuana are here to help. We’ll be your superhero!
In this article, we’ll tell you how to diagnose, treat, and prevent magnesium deficiency in your cannabis plants. Along the way, we’ll also answer some other important questions, such as:
- What is magnesium?
- What does magnesium do in cannabis?
- Can pH levels affect magnesium absorption?
- How long after diagnosis until your plants look better?
That’s a lot to get to, and we realize the life of your precious pot plants is on the line. Time is of the essence, so let’s get started saving the day. Cue Mighty Mouse theme song.
What Is Magnesium?
Magnesium (Mg) is a chemical element on the periodic table (number 12 for those of you who were curious). It was “discovered” in 1618 by Henry Wicker’s cows (seriously, look it up). One hundred and thirty-seven years later (in 1755), Joseph Black bowed to the genius of farmer Wicker’s cows and recognized magnesium as a basic element.
Then, in 1808, Sir Humphry Davy finally separated (isolated) the element from the “plants and birds and rocks and things” (said to the tune of America’s A Horse With No Name), and presented the scientific community with its very first pile of pure magnesium (Huzzah!).
Since then, we’ve learned that neither plants nor animals produce magnesium on their own, but that it’s essential for life. That means it has to be absorbed from Mother Nature.
So we know that magnesium is vital for life, but what does it do in the cannabis plant? We’re glad you asked.
What Does Magnesium Do In Cannabis?
All terrestrial plants use chlorophyll to absorb light from the sun. That light is transformed through dark magic into food that helps the plant grow (just kidding, it’s not magic; it’s photosynthesis). What does that have to do with magnesium? Well, magnesium is literally the heart of the chlorophyll molecule.
See it there on the right surrounded by Ns and stuff? The entire molecule is built around the magnesium atom. Without magnesium, chlorophyll can’t form. Without chlorophyll, your cannabis plant can’t make food. Without food, your cannabis plant goes to sleep and never wakes up.
Are you starting to see the importance of magnesium to the life of your pot? Good. That means we can start talking about magnesium deficiency more specifically.
What Are The Signs Of Magnesium Deficiency In Cannabis?
The Five Man Electrical Band said it best in 1971: “Signs, signs, everywhere signs.” And they were right. Even your cannabis plant will give you signs that something is wrong—particularly when it comes to magnesium deficiency. Here are the major signs to look for in your cannabis plant:
- Leaf tips and edges look brown or burnt
- Leaf tips die
- Leaves turn a pale color
- Lower leaves and older leaves appear damaged
- Leaves develop a yellow color between the veins
- Veins stay green
- Old leaves drop off
- Leaves develop spotty, speckled, or patchy patterns
- Plant or leaves develop twisted growth
- Leaves curl under
- Leaves curl up
- Leaves wither or droop
- Plant withers or sags
These symptoms will start in the lower leaves and eventually work their way up to the middle and upper part of the plant. If left untreated, the growing shoots of the plant will go from pale green to white, and the petioles and stems will turn purple.
Are Your Cannabis Plants At Risk?
All cannabis plants can suffer from magnesium deficiency if you don’t monitor the soil in which you plant them. Growing your pot plants outdoors usually circumvents the problem altogether, but even Mother Nature’s own mix can sometimes have low levels of magnesium.
Cannabis plants grown indoors are especially susceptible to magnesium deficiency. Why? Because the soil you use may not have enough magnesium in it to support the growing plant. We’ll show you how to fix this problem later on in the article.
But first, it’s crucial to understand that your plant showing signs of magnesium deficiency might not be a lack of magnesium in the soil at all. It might be the pH.
Can pH Levels Affect Magnesium Absorption?
Absolutely. That’s why we brought it up. Your soil’s pH is an indicator of the amount of acid or base that’s present. Cannabis prefers a slightly acidic environment (between 6.0 and 7.0 on the pH scale), so anything above or below that range will cause problems.
If the pH of your soil is too low or too high, the roots won’t absorb the nutrients even if there are plenty available. All the magnesium is there waiting to be used, but it can’t get into the plant to do its job.
Thankfully, there’s a simple fix for this issue:
- Purchase a pH increaser or decreaser at your local garden center.
- Follow the instructions on the box, bag, or bottle.
- Rejoice that your pot plant no longer shows the signs of magnesium deficiency!
Sometimes, though, your pH is perfect but your cannabis still suffers from magnesium deficiency. What can you do? Read on to find out.
How Can You Fix Magnesium Deficiency?
To fix magnesium deficiency in your cannabis plant(s), you’ll need to add nutrients to the soil. Take a trip to your local garden center and purchase one of the following:
- Garden lime
- Worm castings
- Dolomite lime
- Magnesium sulfate
- Epsom salts
Then, follow the instructions on the package to get started. We recommend trying Epsom salts first because it’s relatively cheap, easy to find, water soluble, and super easy to work with. Here’s how to fix your soil, cure magnesium deficiency, and put your pot plants back on track.
- Add 1 teaspoon of Epsom salts to 1 gallon of water.
- Hydrate your plant as usual.
- When that gallon runs out, add ¾ teaspoon to 1 gallon of water.
- Hydrate as usual.
- When that gallon runs out, add ½ teaspoon to 1 gallon of water.
- Hydrate as usual.
- Continue to reduce the amount of Epsom salts by ¼ teaspoon per 1 gallon of water.
It’s also essential to continue monitoring the pH of the soil throughout this process. The nutrients in the soil and the pH of the soil are the two biggest culprits when it comes to magnesium deficiency. Keep track of both and your pot plants will be fine.
How Long Until Your Plant Looks Better?
If you fix the root of the problem (no pun intended), most of the leaves will return to their proper green color fairly quickly. It’s not something you can sit and watch happen like some time-lapse video. But if you water your plants before bed, chances are you’ll see marked improvement when you get up in the morning.
Some of the leaves may not recover, but that’s okay. What’s most important is that the discoloration and withering doesn’t continue to spread. If only one or two of the bottom-most leaves still show signs of magnesium deficiency but the rest of the plant looks healthy, you’ve fixed the problem.
How Can You Prevent Magnesium Deficiency?
Want to prevent magnesium deficiency in your cannabis plants? Give your leafy friend some love and attention. The best prevention for magnesium deficiency is to monitor your plants closely. Inspect the leaves, stalk, and stems at least once a day. If you see anything weird going on (you’ll know it when you see it), do some research and take steps right away to fix the problem.
Another sure-fire way to prevent magnesium deficiency is to start with a high-quality growing medium (a “pinky up” term for dirt) and seeds with good genes. You can purchase good ganja dirt online, or if you’re lucky enough to live in a state that is hip to the revolution, you can pick some up at your local garden center.
To get seeds with good genes, purchase from a trusted and reputable seed bank. If you’re having trouble finding good dirt and seeds, talk to the budtenders at your local dispensary and they can point you in the right direction.
For more information on all things marijuana and to check out our 100-percent all-natural cannabis products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.