Nitrogen Deficiency in Cannabis and How to Fix It

When it comes to marijuana, cannabis deficiencies are a key concern in the growing process, whether it’s part of a commercial operation or a DIY project. Whether you’re new to the growing game or a seasoned veteran, nutrient deficiencies are often an all-too-common problem for many growers. The most common deficiencies include:

  • Boron deficiencies
  • Calcium deficiencies
  • Copper deficiencies
  • Magnesium deficiencies
  • Nitrogen deficiencies

The nitrogen deficiency is our focus in this particular blog. In many instances, the solution for these deficiencies is relatively simple. However, sometimes, keeping your plants happy and healthy requires a little more effort.

Warning Signs of a Nitrogen Deficiency

If you notice any or a combination of the 10 following signs, there’s a high probability that your cannabis plants are nitrogen deficient:


  • large leaves turn from a pale-green color to white and yellow
  • leaves begin to curl and drop off
  • petioles and veins turn reddish
  • plant tissue develops necrosis
  • plants begin flowering
  • plants prematurely fade and die
  • smaller leaves and stems turn purplish or reddish
  • stems acquire purplish, vertical stripes
  • yellowing (Chlorosis) spreads from lower parts of the plant to the top
  • yield volumes decrease noticeably

In the earlier signs of the deficiency, you’ll begin to see a slight discoloration in the more mature leaves of the plant. As growth continues, it takes on a paler, thinner appearance due to insufficient branching. It eventually, it will fade and die. That is why it needs proper maintenance and care.

How to correct Nitrogen Deficiencies

Nitrogen deficiencies in the soil are a very common occurrence. On a positive note, it’s fairly easy to put this nutrient back into the soil so your plants can take advantage of the benefits it provides. If you want to keep your plants going strong, work organic matter into the soil. This is not only beneficial to your plants; it helps the soil retain moisture and improves its overall structure. Sources of organic matter containing nitrogen are:

  • animal manure
  • blood meal
  • bone meal
  • coco peat (coir pith)
  • compost
  • fish meal
  • groundnut husks
  • horn meal
  • nettle slag
  • nitrogen-fixing plants such as alfalfa, beans, clover, peas, and peanuts

If you’re planning to add animal manure, keep in mind every type of this fertilizer has different concentrations of nitrogen. For instance, poultry manure contains the highest concentration of nitrogen whereas horse manure has a much lower concentration. The best advice we can give is to purchase high-quality cannabis, if you want to avoid any deficiencies.

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