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Potassium Deficiency in Cannabis

potassium deficiency cannabis

Table of Contents

Potassium deficiency in cannabis can cause serious problems if you are not careful. Find out everything you need to know when it comes to spotting the symptoms, the potential impact of a cannabis potassium deficiency, and how to prevent it.

What does Potassium do for cannabis plants?

Potassium deficiency cannabis can quickly kill your vision of fast harvests and high yields. Potassium is one of the 3 critical elements for flowering plants, and cannabis plants are not an exception. The nutrient’s primary purpose is to help plants with the uptake of other nutrients from the roots. It also regulates the photosynthesis process.

Potassium plays a huge role in the opening and closing of the stomata. This only means that it is essential for CO2 uptake by cannabis plants.

Potassium is a macronutrient, so potassium deficiency will be as detrimental as phosphorus and nitrogen deficiency in cannabis.

Furthermore, Potassium triggers enzyme activation, which is liable for the production of Adenosine Triphosphate.

Potassium is critical, both in the vegetative and flowering stages. In the vegetative stage, the nutrient facilitates water uptake, increases the plants’ resistance to diseases and boosts the plants’ ability to use light and air for photosynthesis and respiration.

On the other hand, during the flowering stage, Potassium facilitates water intake, is critical for the flowering process, increases the plants’ resistance to diseases and helps with respiration and photosynthesis.

Based on these roles of Potassium for cannabis plants, it is safe to say that if you plants suffer from potassium deficiency cannabis, cannot take up enough nutrients, cannot regulate CO2 intake and will have a hard time during photosynthesis.

How to identify potassium deficiency in cannabis plants?

Potassium deficiency cannabis plant means that your plants don’t have enough Potassium in their systems to help with photosynthesis and other critical processes. In some cases, cultivators cannot tell if it is nutrient burn or potassium deficiency. The signs are almost similar to other nutrient deficiencies, but to help you identify potassium deficiency fast, here are the signs to look out for.

Common symptoms of potassium deficiency

  • Brown spots on the leaves
  • The leaves may turn yellow with time
  •  If the issue is not solved on time, the leaves become curled and dead

Leaves

With cannabis potassium deficiency, you are more likely to see the signs in older leaves, but that does not mean that the issue cannot get to young leaves. At times potassium deficiency cannabis manifests itself at the top of the plant.

Potassium deficient cannabis plants
Potassium deficient cannabis plants with yellow-brown leaves

The leaves of your plants start turning brown. At first, you will notice the changes towards the center of the leaves. With time, the brown spots spread all over the leaves.

Potassium deficiency in cannabis plants may appear like a nutrient burn. The only difference is that with time, the leaves’ margins start to turn yellow.

Roots

Potassium deficiency is one of the leading causes of slowed root development. It also compromises root branching, root size and root area.

Research also showed that potassium deficiency delays the emergence of seminal roots.

If your plants suffer from potassium deficiency cannabis at an early age, you may not notice the effects until a late stage.

Abnormal plant growth

Potassium deficiency has adverse effects on the overall plants’ growth. For starters, this nutrient plays a critical rôle in water and nutrient uptake from the roots. Therefore, if your cannabis plants lack adequate Potassium, it means they cannot absorb enough water and nutrients for growth, thus retarded growth.

Furthermore, Potassium plays a critical role in photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is everything the plants need for healthy development. If cannabis plants cannot manufacture food, they are bound to die in the long run.

Last but not least, Potassium in cannabis plants is involved in enzyme activation, which affects protein, starch and adenosine, all of which are critical for plant growth.

All these effects of potassium deficiency result in abnormal plant growth and if the issue is not rectified on time, the plants are bound to die.

What causes potassium deficiency in cannabis plants?

The main culprit for potassium deficiency cannabis is the lack of Potassium in the plant’s system. You can avoid this by feeding your cannabis plants with nutrients from the word go, enough to support the plants as they grow.

If you notice the signs of potassium deficiency, your plants are straining and need more food, especially in the flowering state. Perhaps you are certain that you fed the plants enough Potassium, but they still showcase the highlighted symptoms. In that case, the possible causes of potassium deficiency include;

Stress: Cannabis plants are susceptible to stress that hinders their development. This could be a result of incorrectly done pruning, transplants or too much heat.

Light burn: Light burn causes similar spots as potassium deficiency. Check if the plants are too close to the lights in case of indoor cultivation or are getting too much direct sunlight before you conclude that they have potassium deficiency.

Excess salt: If lights are not the issue, cannabis potassium deficiency could result from excess nutrients. Ironically, feeding your plants with too much fertilizer does not boost their nutrients. On the contrary, it hinders the nutrients from doing their intended job. Ideally, the mistake causes excess salt buildup in the growing medium, thus hindering Potassium.

Low pH levels: When the pH levels of the soil are too low, the consequence is a nutrient lockout. The reason being, the growing medium becomes too acidic and causes stress in the root zone, thus blocking potassium uptake.

How do you solve cannabis potassium deficiency?

Like other deficiencies, k deficiency cannabis can result from stressful conditions such as transplant, overfeeding, overwatering and heat. In this case, the deficiency may clear up on its own once the stress triggers are over.

However, if the deficiency is caused by something else, this is how to fix potassium deficiency in cannabis plants.

  • Use quality sources of nutrients end don’t over-feed the plants
  • Ensure the plants are not too close to the sources of light
  • Adjust the pH levels of the growing medium

Plant problems with similar symptoms to potassium deficiency

Brown or yellow leaves are not always an indicator of cannabis potassium deficiency. The symptoms could be a result of;

  • Nutrient burn
  • Light burn
  • Stress due to poor pruning

Final Word on Potassium Deficiency

Now that you understand the causes, symptoms, and remedies of potassium deficiency cannabis, you can easily protect your plants to ensure high yields within a short period. Be keen not to confuse other plants problems such as light burn with potassium deficiency. If you are unsure if the brown or yellow patches on your plants result from potassium deficiency, seek advice from experts.

If you encounter any cannabis deficiencies – we are here to help with our amazing series of guides.

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Ed Rushford
Ed Rushford
Ed Rushford’s impact on cannabis growing is undeniable. Though he tends to focus primarily on 2 areas, plant training techniques and dealing with disease, pests, and other problems, he has offered many insights into how cannabis plants live and grow. That’s not to say that Ed is unfamiliar with the complete life cycle of cannabis, from seed to harvest, but he uses his widespread knowledge to hone in on the minutia and niche areas of growing cannabis. Ed’s goal is to spread knowledge and allow for everyone to become better growers. While Ed has a particular penchant for the SCROG, Schwazzing and Mainlining techniques in his own garden, he has basically mastered every growing technique which has allowed him to choose the ones he personally favors. When it comes to pests and diseases, Ed draws on his own experiences as a novice grower way back in the day and builds upon his own learning curves to provide comprehensive guidance on dealing with plant problems in a pinch.
Ed Rushford
Ed Rushford
Ed Rushford’s impact on cannabis growing is undeniable. Though he tends to focus primarily on 2 areas, plant training techniques and dealing with disease, pests, and other problems, he has offered many insights into how cannabis plants live and grow. That’s not to say that Ed is unfamiliar with the complete life cycle of cannabis, from seed to harvest, but he uses his widespread knowledge to hone in on the minutia and niche areas of growing cannabis. Ed’s goal is to spread knowledge and allow for everyone to become better growers. While Ed has a particular penchant for the SCROG, Schwazzing and Mainlining techniques in his own garden, he has basically mastered every growing technique which has allowed him to choose the ones he personally favors. When it comes to pests and diseases, Ed draws on his own experiences as a novice grower way back in the day and builds upon his own learning curves to provide comprehensive guidance on dealing with plant problems in a pinch.

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