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Stop Overwatering Cannabis Plants Now! Find out How to Treat Overwatered Cannabis

Overwatered cannabis

When growing cannabis plants, you must consider numerous factors, including growth lights, temperature, relative humidity, growth media, nutrients, fertilizers, supplements, and helpful bacteria. Many growers sometimes ignore the most vital part of cultivating a healthy cannabis plant in an array of varied things: water. Many producers do not properly water their cannabis plants, either due to human error or a lack of understanding, frequently overwatering the plants. Too much water may be equally deadly as not enough. Continue reading to learn all about overwatering cannabis plants and how to avoid them.

Understanding the Impact of Overwatering on Cannabis Plants

Overwatering happens when plants receive more water than they require or when the growth media remains moist for a long time. Overwatering cannabis has the following consequences:

  1. Root rot: Excess moisture around the roots can cause root rot, which is caused by fungi that thrive in damp settings. Root rot reduces nutrient absorption and can eventually cause plant death.
  2. Nutrient deficiencies: Overwatering can drain important nutrients from the soil, making them less accessible to the plant’s roots. This can cause nutrient deficiencies, which can have a harmful influence on plant growth and development.
  3. Stunted growth: Overwatering causes root systems to become weak and shallow, resulting in stunted growth. This can make it difficult for the plant to create a stable foundation, resulting in stunted growth and decreased overall vitality.
  4. Susceptibility to disease and pests: Excessive wetness can foster the development of fungal infections and attract pests such as fungus gnats. These problems can jeopardize the health and output of cannabis plants.

Signs and Symptoms of Overwatered Cannabis Plants

Overwatering is a common error made by inexperienced gardeners who are concerned that their weed shrubs require constant watering. Examine your plant first to see whether it has received too much water. The general look of the cannabis plant indicates a concern. These are the signs that your weed plants are overwatered:

  1. The leaves curl inward: The leaves stay solid yet curl inward from the stem to the leaf; however, nitrogen deficit is present if only the leaf tip bends inward.
  2. Leaves that have drooped: The leaves appear drooping but not withered. They get rather hefty due to the water weight.
  3. The leaves are yellowing or bleaching. Apart from water, plant roots require oxygen to breathe. The roots suffocate because of a shortage of air and a fault in soil aeration. This occurs because the air spaces in the soil are filled with water.
  4. Slow development: Plants require oxygen to metabolize nutrients. Overwatering robs cannabis of enough airflow, resulting in stunted development.
  5. Mold and mildew: Overwatering generates a moist atmosphere that promotes fungal growth. These disorders typically manifest in humid environments.
  6. Damping off: Because the damping-off fungus thrives in cold, wet settings, overwatering can cause damping off in cannabis plants.

Moreover, a few gardeners may be confused about overwatering vs. underwatering cannabis signs. The leaves of underwatered plants are slender and curved at the tips. They are sagging and hanging down, not as stiff as in overwatered cannabis. Plants can also get dry and discolored leaf margins. Give them a quick watering, and they’ll be straight back up.

Watering cannabis correctly
Watering cannabis correctly.

The Importance of Proper Drainage for Healthy Cannabis

It is critical to have proper drainage to avoid overwatering and promote healthy cannabis development. It allows excess water to drain, eliminates nutrition loss, and inhibits mold and fungal growth. Growers may offer a healthy and ideal growth environment for their cannabis plants by ensuring sufficient drainage. The following are some of the most prevalent reasons why proper drainage reduces overwatering:

  1. Drains excess water: Excess water collects around the roots when it cannot drain out of the container or soil, making it harder for plants to absorb oxygen. Oxygen is required for root growth, and overwatering can cause root suffocation, which can be lethal to the plant.
  2. Prevents nutrient loss: When the soil is consistently saturated, important nutrients might drain away. When nutrients are unavailable for the roots to absorb, a nutritional shortage occurs, resulting in yellow leaves, stunted development, and poor yield.
  3. Prevents mold and fungus development: Overwatering can produce a wet atmosphere, which may contribute to mold and fungal growth. This can eventually cause root rot and kill the cannabis plant.

Choosing the Right Soil and Pot for Optimal Drainage

Selecting the ideal soil and pot for optimal drainage is important for growing healthy cannabis plants.

  1. Soil: Cannabis prefers light and airy soil, allowing water to drain easily and preventing root rot. Growers can use commercial potting soil designed for cannabis, or you can make your soil mix by combining organic materials (peat moss, coco coir, perlite, vermiculite, worm castings, compost).
  2. Pot: Cannabis pots should have adequate drainage holes at the bottom and sides to enable excess water to escape. You can use plastic, fabric, or ceramic pots to accommodate your plants’ root system if large enough. A general rule of thumb is to use a pot of at least 2 gallons (7.5 liters) for every foot (30 cm) of plant height. You can also use air pots or smart pots specially designed to improve aeration and drainage for cannabis plants.

How to Diagnose Overwatered Cannabis Plants

Here’s what you can do if your cannabis plants exhibit indications of overwatering:

  1. Reduce watering frequency: Make changes to your watering plan to let the soil dry between waterings.
  2. Improve drainage: Ensure that your pots have adequate drainage holes. If they don’t, consider repotting your plants in better-draining pots.
  3. Use a soil combination with good drainage properties: Consider using a soil mixture with perlite, vermiculite, or sand to increase drainage.
  4. Reduce humidity: Cannabis plants that have been overwatered might benefit from reduced humidity. If required, consider using a dehumidifier.
  5. Address root rot: If your cannabis plants have acquired root rot, consider applying a fungicide or a helpful fungus such as Trichoderma to combat the condition.

Common Mistakes That Lead to Overwatering

Overwatering is a typical error made by many cannabis gardeners. Here are some of the most prevalent overwatering causes to be aware of:

  1. Excessive watering: Weed plants can only take a certain amount of water at a time. If you irrigate them in excessive amounts, it may result in overwatered cannabis plants.
  2. Watering your cannabis seedlings too frequently: While watering them causes the roots to absorb oxygen, they quickly deplete it if they sit in water. As a result of the lack of oxygen, the seeds begin to drown.
  3. Excessive nutrient provision: Cannabis plants require extremely modest feeding to flourish. Excessive nitrogen levels can harm the fragile seedlings, causing overwatering and other issues.
  4. Feeding after the lights have gone out: It is preferable to water your cannabis plants during the first hour of light on. It is dangerous to feed the cannabis plant while the lights are turned off since they may be hibernating. If you continue to do this, weed plants may get overwatered.
  5. A poorly draining medium: Drainage is critical, and a growing container that lacks one might interfere with oxygen flow, resulting in overwatered cannabis plants. Consider adding perlite to the soil to improve aeration and drainage.
  6. An overly large pot: Small pots train the root system before it seeks water and penetrates deep into the soil. You can fill the gap in the pot with root material if you start with a smaller pot.

Essential Tips for Preventing Overwatering

You can do the following to avoid overwatering cannabis:

  1. Stop watering and let your plant dry out. Not entirely (this will damage the cannabis roots), but close to it.
  2. Go longer in between watering your plants.
  3. Check the drainage system in the pots.
  4. Place a towel, newspaper, or flyers under the pots’ drain holes to soak up excess water after all the runoff finishes.
  5. Drill more drain holes in your pots.
  6. Create air holes in the soil using chopsticks.
  7. Provide your weed plants with extra light.
  8. Ensure that water can drain easily out the bottom of potted cannabis plants.
  9. Be extra careful with small plants in big containers.

The Dangers of Overwatering: Root Rot and Mold

Overwatering cannabis plants can cause molds and root rot by creating a favorable fungal and bacterial growth environment. Excess water in the soil displaces oxygen and suffocates the roots, making them unable to absorb nutrients and water properly. This leads to nutrient deficiencies, yellowing and curling leaves, drooping and falling, and stunted growth.

Reviving Overwatered Cannabis: Step-by-Step Guide

When your plants are overwatered, addressing the issue as quickly as possible is critical to avoid further harm. Here’s a step-by-step method for correcting overwatering:

Step 1: Immediately stop watering

The first and most important step in resolving overwatering is to cease watering your cannabis plants since leaving your plants in damp soil for a lengthy period will cause root rot.

Step 2: Evaluate the damage

After discontinuing watering, you must analyze the degree of your plant’s harm. Examine the plant’s leaves and stems for signs of damage or root rot. If you see any indications of root rot, such as moldy, damp roots or a bad odor, you must act quickly to save your plant.

Step 3: Get rid of waterlogged soil

Waterlogged soil is one of the leading reasons for overwatering; thus, it must be removed from the plant’s surface. Gently scrape away the moist earth using a garden trowel. If you have potted plants, move them to a dry pot with fresh soil.

Step 4: Improve the drainage

To avoid overwatering, cannabis plants require good drainage. If you put your cannabis plants in the ground, make sure the soil drains effectively. If you’re growing cannabis in a container, add some perlite or vermiculite to help with drainage.

Step 5: Boost air circulation

Aeration can help the soil dry out faster and avoid future waterlogging. Consider relocating your plants to a well-ventilated area or using a small fan to increase air circulation.

Step 6: Wait and observe

Allow your plants to recuperate once you’ve completed these detailed steps. Continue to monitor your weed plants for overwatering or other symptoms, and water them only when the soil’s top layer feels dry to the touch.

Implementing Proper Watering Techniques for Cannabis

Here are some basic practices for watering cannabis plants that will help you avoid overwatering while keeping them healthy.

  1. Check the soil moisture level: Growers are urged to insert their fingers approximately an inch into the soil before watering to check the soil moisture level. It’s time to water if it seems dry. Wait another day or two if it still feels damp.
  2. Water deeply: Instead of a gentle sprinkling, give your weed plants a deep, thorough soaking when you water them. This will encourage deeper root development and make your plants more drought-resistant.
  3. Water weed plants when the weather is cooler: Growers should water their cannabis plants in the morning or early afternoon when the temps are lower. This will keep the water from evaporating too rapidly and allow your weed plants time to dry off before the lower nighttime temps arrive.
  4. Slowly water your plants: Take your time with watering them. Water carefully so the soil may absorb it without being washed away or leaving dry places.
  5. Minimize watering during the flowering phase: Your plants may require less water during the blossoming stage. Reduce the watering frequency and only water when the soil is dry to the touch.
  6. Use proper drainage: Place your plants in pots or containers with adequate drainage. This will keep water from accumulating at the pot’s bottom and drowning the roots.
  7. Avoid watering your cannabis: Water the soil rather than the foliage. Wet leaves might cause mold and fungal development in your plants.
  8. Use the correct quantity of water: You should use the proper amount to avoid overwatering your cannabis plants. Experts recommend watering your plants until you see water flowing out of the drainage holes at the container’s bottom.

Essential Tools for Monitoring Soil Moisture Levels

Some of the essential tools for monitoring soil moisture levels in cannabis are:

  1. Soil moisture meters: These devices directly measure the growing environment’s soil water content or tension. They have a probe you insert into the soil and a meter displaying the moisture level.
  2. Weighing the pot: This simple method involves lifting the pot to feel its weight. Growers can also use a scale to measure the pot’s weight and compare it with a reference weight.
  3. Observation: This is a method that relies on your experience and intuition. You can observe for signs of over-watering on the soil’s color, texture, and smell to determine its moisture level. You can also look at the plant’s leaves, stems, and buds, such as yellowing, drooping, wilting, or browning.

How to Create a Watering Schedule for Cannabis

Create a watering schedule to help you optimize the plants’ growth and health. Here are some general tips to create a watering schedule for cannabis:

  1. Check the weight and moisture of the soil before watering.
  2. Water slowly and evenly until you see some runoff from the drainage holes.
  3. Collect the runoff water and measure its pH and EC (electrical conductivity).
  4. Keep track of your watering schedule and the response of your plants.

The Role of Light Exposure in Overwatered Cannabis Plants

Poor lighting is one aspect that might contribute to overwatering. Lighting influences the rate of evaporation and transpiration, which are the processes by which plants lose water via their leaves and stems. If lighting is too low, the weed plants won’t eliminate enough water, resulting in excess moisture in the soil and plant tissues. However, if the light is excessively bright, the cannabis plants will lose too much water, resulting in dehydration and stress.

Rebuilding the Root System: Transplanting Overwatered Cannabis

Transplanting overwatered cannabis plants can help them recover from the stress and damage caused by excess water. Here are some steps to transplant overwatered cannabis plants:

  1. Prepare a new pot containing fresh, well-draining soil.
  2. Carefully remove the overwatered plant from its current pot.
  3. Examine the plant’s roots for indicators of rot (brown, slimy, or mushy texture). Cut off any rotten weed roots using a clean pair of scissors or a knife.
  4. Place the cannabis plant in the new pot and fill the gaps with soil.
  5. Water the plant lightly with plain water or a mild nutrient solution.
  6. Monitor the plant’s recovery and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

Identifying Nutrient Deficiencies Caused by Overwatering

Overwatering is a common problem that can cause nutrient deficiencies in plants. Some of the common nutrient deficiencies caused by overwatering are:

  1. Nitrogen deficiency: The leaves may turn pale green or yellow, starting from the older leaves and moving to the younger ones. The plant may also have stunted growth and reduced yield due to nitrogen deficiency.
  2. Phosphorus deficiency: The leaves may develop purple or reddish spots or edges, especially on the lower leaves. The plant may also have poor flowering and a weak root system.
  3. Potassium deficiency: The leaves may have brown or yellow tips or margins and curl or droop. The plant may also have reduced resistance to pests and diseases and poor-quality buds or flowers.
  4. Magnesium deficiency: The leaves may have yellow or white spots between the veins, starting from the lower leaves and moving to the upper ones. The plant may also have reduced photosynthesis and chlorophyll production.
  5. Calcium deficiency: The leaves may have distorted or necrotic tips, especially on the new growth. The plant may also have blossom end rot, where the fruits develop black or brown spots at the bottom.
  6. Iron deficiency: The cannabis leaves may have yellow or white veins, while the remaining remain green. This is more common in young leaves and shoots. The plant may also have reduced growth and yield.

The Importance of Observing and Adjusting Watering Practices

Overwatering can occur in any growing method, including container and in-ground gardening. If a moist growth media problem is not addressed, it can have serious repercussions, including disease outbreaks, root damage, and insect attraction. If you suspect this problem, search for overwatering weed plant indications that will let you know for sure.

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Picture of Janice Bernstein

Janice Bernstein

Janice has been on the cannabis scene for many years now, though she tends to keep to herself and might fly under the radar for many, even those well-versed in cannabis growing. Her writings on different methods of watering cannabis helped bring the use of reverse osmosis water to the forefront of cannabis gardening. About this Author

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