Marijuana Troubleshooting

No matter what marijuana plant problems you’re having, generally, there is a solution.  Use the marijuana troubleshooting guide below and get your grow back on track.


White Seeds
White seeds are immature and tend to crush easily under very little pressure. If you’ve produced them, discard them.  If you’ve bought them, contact your seed vendor for a refund.
Green Seeds
Green seeds are immature, but if they don’t crush under pressure, they’re usable.  Germinate and plant closer to the surface as they don’t contain the stored energy of darker, more matured seeds.
Small Seeds
Some strains (mainly sativa) do not produce large seeds.  Always use the largest seeds possible, but small seeds should germinate normally.


Brown, Slimy, Smelly Roots
This condition is generally known as root rot and is caused by a lack of oxygen.  Growth will stunt and your plant will wilt.  By the time this has happened your plant may be beyond repair.  To try and save it, remove any smelly and damaged roots and rinse, allowing too dry before putting back in a clean medium and container.
Tightly packed Roots/Sprouting out the bottom of the container
The plant is root bound, which means the rooting system hasn’t enough room to grow.  Transplant your plant to a bigger container, taking care not to break any of the roots and place on top of fresh medium. This should hopefully take care of your root marijuana plant problems.
Sparse rooting system
Depending on the age of the plant, this could be a result of the roots not getting enough oxygen.  In soil, make sure you are using a well aerated medium or add air stone to your hydroponic reservoir.


Thin and frail/stretching stems
The most common cause is a lack of light.  Your lights are either too far away or you’re not supplying them with enough Kelvin in vegetative growth.  Move your lights closer and bury your plant deeper when transplanting.
Broken/Split Stem
Don’t panic, you can fix your plant. Use a piece of string to tie up and close the area, not pulling too tight so that you end up suffocating and damaging the plant.  Support the stem while it’s healing to limit the stress.
Bending Stems/Buds too heavy
Lucky you.  Make sure you support and tie up the branches to make sure they continue to flourish.
Stunted Growth
This could be down to a number of issues which include; over or under watering your plant, rotten roots, insect damage or toxic levels of nutrient build up.  You will not be able to diagnose the marijuana plant problems through stunted growth alone, however, there will be one or two other tell tale signs that you should be able to find on this page which will help you put your plants growth back on track.


The plant’s leaves are a great indicator of when you’re having marijuana plant problems. Whether it’s a pest, disease, or a problem with nutrient levels, the leaves are a great indicator of a plant’s happiness.  If you can’t see your specific marijuana plant problems here, use our more detailed pages for Pests and Diseases and Nutrient Deficiencies.

Drooping Leaves
The most common cause of drooping leaves is over or under watering.  Over watering is one of the most common marijuana plant problems for beginner growers.  Check out our section on over and under watering plants here.

Yellowing Leaves
If the leaves are yellowing with no other symptons, the plant is probably suffering from a nitrogen deficiency.  Check your pH levels* and add more nitrogen to your nutrient solution.

If the yellowing leaves are accompanied with browning tips which are dying back, then you may be over fertilizing.  Flush your plants with clean water, using three times the volume of the container you’re growing in.

Yellowing leaves also occur on plants that are approaching harvest.  This is completely natural and is your weed using up nutrients to produce resinous buds.

Pale Brown spots throughout leaves
This is either a phosphorous deficiency or a pest infestation.  Refer to our pages on pests and diseases and nutrient deficiencies for more information.

Yellowing between veins
Is evidence of a Potassium deficiency.  Check your pH balance and add to your water.*

Purple/Brown spots and/or dark green leaves
Indicates a phosphorous deficiency which will also stunt the growth of your plant.  Check your pH balance and add to your water.*

White with green veins or pale yellow leaves
Signifies an Iron deficiency which is likely to be caused by incorrect pH levels.  Check and correct your pH levels.*

Larger leaves yellow, pale new growth and brown tips on leaves
This is caused by a lack of calcium and magnesium.  As always, check your pH levels as trace nutrients are likely to be locked out if this is outside of 5.8 and 6.8.   Add a little dolomite lime (1tsp per gallon) or cal-mag to your water.

Edge of leaves brown and start to curl up with yellow or brown spots on leaves
It is likely that your plant is suffering from heat burn.  This can be caused by having your plants too close to your lights as well as the grow room temperature exceeding 85°F (30°C).  Use our guide on lighting to make sure you’re keeping your lights the right distance away from the plant and refer to our guide on Air Ventilation for tips on how to keep your grow room at optimal temperatures.


It goes without saying, that this is what we grow our weed for; the tasty, smokeable flowers of the marijuana plant.  Most issues are solvable, but prevention is the best cure.  Check out pages on Pests and diseases and nutrient deficiencies if your marijuana plant problems are not listed below.

Small flowers with Hard Bumps between pistils
Your plant is pollinated and there isn’t anything you can do.  You can smoke the buds, but they won’t be as strong or tasty as sensimilla flowers.  Check out our page on flowering on how to avoid this is the future.

Slow Growth and small buds
There are a number of things that could be going on; over-fertilizing, bad air circulation, insufficient light, poor rooting systems.  Make sure that you follow our guidelines on indoor growing to maximise your bud growing potential.

White powder/Grayish spots on buds
This is gray mold and cannot be cured.  Remove the infected bud(s), cutting them out an inch below the contaminated area.  Take out of your grow room and destroy.  This cannot be smoked as it’s very harmful.  Gray mold will spread through your grow room like wild fire, spoiling your whole crop.

Leaf discoloration and dieback
If this is late in the flowering stage, it is nothing to worry about as it is just your plant using up it’s nutrients to produce big buds.  If it is early (up to 6 weeks into flowering) check your pH and nutrient solution.*  For details, use our guide on nutrients.

Pungent Odours from Grow Room
This is to be expected and means you are growing good, potent weed.  Our page on Ventilation contains some tips on odor control.

White Pistils turning red or orange
This is nothing to worry about, and is a sign that your plants are only a few weeks away from harvesting.

Drying and Post Harvest

Once you have got to this stage, there are still things that can go wrong.  Although it seems all the hard work is over, for the buds to reach their full potential, there is still an important process to follow.

Harsh smoke
The bud has been dried to fast.  It takes time to get all the harsh tasting chlorophyll and sugars out of your weed.  You can add citrus peelings to your bud or re-hydrate in a room with 80% humidity to start the curing process again, but you need to be more patient in future.

Buds full of mold/mildew
Air circulation in the drying and curing process was poor.  You cannot save moldy bud and smoking it can seriously damage your health.

Buds taste and smell of hay
The buds were harvested too early.  A long and slow cure will help, but your bud will never reach its full potential.  Our guide on harvesting will help you know when your weed is ready to harvest.

Buds crackle when smoked
This is the presence of residual fertilizers in your buds.  This can be avoided by flushing your plants two weeks before harvesting, but at this stage, it’s too late and should be notched up as a learning for future marijuana grows.

Most growers come across marijuana plant problems during a grow, knowing how and when to deal with them is the key to ensuring your grow is wasted. The above marijuana trouble shooting guide should help point you in the right direction.



50 comments on Marijuana Troubleshooting
  1. Ray

    I have little buds coming out of big buds, a friend said they were called foxtails and were caused from too much nitrogen. Is this true and what can be done plus will it hurt the THC content?

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  2. scott

    leaves are folding in on themselves, plant is only 2 weeks old in my room under a desk lamp thats not hot….

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    Rating: -3 (from 11 votes)
  3. orlando

    im growing outside and theyre starting to bud but my leaves has a sticky light white substance. what could it posibaly be ? and what to do about it

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    Rating: -3 (from 7 votes)
  4. milly

    i put a bunch of seeds together and when they started to grow i forgot to seperate them will my plant still grow

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    Rating: -3 (from 7 votes)
  5. nat

    Worst place to order seeds! Been doing this for over 30 years never had a issue until I felt with AMS. Thier shipping techniques, I’ve seen 6th graders that put more thought and effort into it. Never got my order, they resend, get letter envelopes that after I sign for them the back side was cut open and retaped. You could see where a hole punch was used to see what was inside.
    All that I am saying when you spend over $500 dollars the company should spend more then $5 to ship the product to you.
    Rating: piss poor, save time and Money and just light the money your going spend thier, at least then you screwed yourself and some stranger didn’t!
    B est of luck, and keep looking for a trusted seed shop. They are out there but this is not one of them.

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    Rating: +5 (from 7 votes)
  6. Dennis Doleshall

    I have 6 of Kush plants about a month old, the stalks are real thick butnot very many leaves. Is tthis normal?

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    Rating: +3 (from 11 votes)
  7. Itisi

    You can save plants from bud rot.
    There’s a product called budrot stop, it’s a preventative but can also be used to save buds that have rot upto a few weeks before harvest.

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  8. acorn p thomas

    my buds are not making clear or milky crystals on buds they are midsize healthy with lots of pistals lots of nice buds but no juice what the f!!k ??????

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  9. Daniel

    Here it is July and one of my plants hasn’t gotten over a foot tall. Should I just let it go along by the wayside? Or should I try to nurse it back to health?

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    Rating: +2 (from 16 votes)
  10. Daniel

    Here it is almost July and one of my plants hasn’t gotten over a foot tall and is looking scraggly as hell. Should I even take the time to nurse it back to health? Or should I focus more on the other ones and just consider it a loss?

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    Rating: +3 (from 9 votes)
  11. gale

    once I put into production have thin frail new branches appearing throughout the plant. They seem to take over the main plant

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    Rating: -1 (from 3 votes)
  12. Jacob garrett

    I have a question, my plant seems to be growing just fine, but at the bottom the stem by the soil. The stem is starting to turn brown but the plant ia still growing. Does any one know how to fix that and help will do thanks.

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    Rating: -9 (from 25 votes)
  13. robert

    My indoor plant looks healthy but the leaves and curling in toward to stem of the leaf. The room temp is fine. the light is not to close…I have a very well draining medium consisting of 75 percent perlite and 25 percent coco…
    Why is this happening ? Am I over watering ? Nutrient levels are good too so I am stumped…
    Any help out there ?

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  14. Joey

    Help pls , my indoor plants are at vegging stage but at the tips keep turning yellow and the leaves curl down like a claw, as I keep it and flower it , there’s no pistil and when as harvest flower turn dark green just like out door product color , pls help

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  15. mitchellmcbride

    Once the mold starts can you kill the mold before the plant completely dries out? PLEASE?

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  16. Rick

    I’m budding some white widow and I seen a few plants have some purple spots on son of the leaves, please could you tell me what’s causing this??thanks

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  17. pianobum

    Just bought some clones a month ago; they are about 4-6 inches tall, have been trimmed once, and keep forming buds! I want them to get much bigger before they begin to bud….what’s the deal? Do I keep trimming off the new white buds or let them grow?

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  18. Matthew

    My outdoor plant is drooping leaves are flipping upside down. Im a beginner and it’s very sad to see her like this. Just happened overnight. Its in the final stages of flowering. Someone please help me to fix this problem.

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  19. steve heim

    should yellowing leaves be picked from budding plants? Shuold tiny buds at bottom be picked from budding plant?

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    Rating: +7 (from 7 votes)
  20. patty

    Has anyone heard of the Hemp russet mite? I found some in my garden yesterday, and would like to know how to get rid of them.Someone please help!

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    Rating: -1 (from 1 vote)
  21. Holly

    Last night we had a wind storm and several branches broke off my plants. Big branches. The buds just starting to come on the plants. Are the leaves mature enough to make butter or are they just ruined? They are wet but other than that seem ok, just no longer on the main stalk.

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  22. Evelyn Tirabassi

    Can anybody tell me how to recognize a male plant from a female plant

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  23. The one

    yes my cannabis plant is aboutbetween three and four months old has small buds on it about the size of your thumb and has light purple pistols on it is that good or is that a bad strain of marijuana I was just wanting to know if I could get some help I would appreciate it

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    Rating: +4 (from 6 votes)
  24. Thcbrothers

    Help why are my outdoor plants inthe regular ground turning lime green to yellow then white? Anyone help pls.

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    Rating: -7 (from 15 votes)
  25. mark

    I got a couple plants that were indoor and planted them outdoor they started to bud but seems they stopped budding and they have some big buds that want to return to veg but growing very slow is there something I need to do or give them?

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  26. jaidon

    My plant is growing is about three inches high but the leaves on the top are really small and their going brown on the ends what does that mean

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  27. Niles Standish

    I have some plants about 6 weeks into flowering and on just one end of a big bud its very brown and discolored and its just on the outer half of the bud, Any suggestions?

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    Rating: -8 (from 26 votes)
  28. Emma Rundle

    Outdoors plants,grew to b about 6′ tall. Planted in May, it’s now sept 6 and no buds. Harvest time in about 7 weeks. Why no buds? Help

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    Rating: +3 (from 31 votes)
  29. Soldier Fish

    My plant is about 2 feet high – beautiful – There are leaves coming out at the stem and branch intersection all the way from the bottom to the top. When should I “top” my plant and what do I do about the leaves. Thanks,fish

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  30. john

    how long dose it take, after female plant is pollinated, for the seeds to become fully mature for planting?

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    Rating: -5 (from 15 votes)
  31. Janet

    We had 2 small plants behind a curtain with light keeping them from flowering, the light broke and know we have white hairs forming before we were gonna take clones, any suggestions?

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    Rating: -5 (from 9 votes)
  32. smokinu

    I ‘am growing in a green house right now. My plants have been budding for 2 weeks. I      
    started indoors in jan.  The light seems ok. My problem is leafs curling and crinkle. The    
    weather is good .Insde the greenhouse is 80 at day time and goes to 40 at night. Is this    
    ok. Coud i be over watering? What causes  the leafs to curl and crikle Any help would be great. Thanks  smokinu

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  33. wakenbake420

    My buds are starting to turn reddish brown,leaves are turning brown and curling what should I do any help would be greatly appreciated

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  34. Green Man

    It could bending for a number of reasons. How far away have you got the lights from the plants? Also have you had a read of the Troubleshooting section of the website here.

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  35. Jose ram

    First of all , i abosulty love this website, it has helped me so much , threw my process of growing, however i do have a question. I planted 5 plants on the 24th of November , it has been about 6 days now and i have to say my plants are really growing they are to about 6inches each! I kid you not! However one of my plants has started to bend sideways dramatically , its not bending to the point where its touching the soil but its bending pretty bad :/. Im really worried that my plant will die because of this , specially sense this is my prize plant reaching almost 7inches tall. I would really apricate it if you could possibly tell me whats wrong with my plant i give it the right amount of light , air ventilation, and keep it at the right tempture but i honestly dont know what I’m doing wrong x/. If you can please help me I’d really appciate .

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  36. Karen

    My plants are slow at blooming I am pretty sure they are getting ready to bud. This is our first time growing,plants are about five to six foot tall, very healthy. Should I be worried about no buds ye..

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  37. Green Man

    It is possible to re veg a marijuana plant but to do so you will need to bring the plant indoors and place it under grow lights. It will need to be on a 18/6 regime to make it revert to a vegetative state. It’s not possible to do this outdoors as you can’t control the amount of sunlight hours.

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  38. Green Man

    We suggest reading the basic guide as a starting point and then working your way through the website from there. It should cover pretty much everything you need to know about growing marijuana.

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  39. Kevin Tarver

    im new to this so i was wondering if i could get some hints on how to correctly grow buds from the seeds and how to care for the one plant i already have growing, mind you this is my first time growing bud so anything you have will help.

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  40. Ruhan kotze

    This is my first time growing. My plants all hybrids growing outdoor. My plants started to bud to early. Whe are in spring and they started budding near end of winter. Can i get them back to vegatative grouth and will they bud again. Also is there a cheap way to check soil ph levels? Thanx allot!

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  41. joey johhnny

    should I trim yellow leaves off? some just yellow, others yellow w Brown curling tips? any help please? grownng outdoors in a 5 gallon pot.. seems to be flowing nicely, second plant, just don’t want to screw it up. first One was tall and skinny (6’5“ or so x about 2 1/2′) this new one is about barely 6’x about 3 1/2´ wide, w many more flowers growing. should I trim the yellow’s off or leave them alone? And when Do i know when to harvest? Thanx in advance for any help. growing in so call if that helps?

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  42. Nigel Batten

    Look up heat stress with an air conditioning unit

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  43. Nigel Batten

    I he had a blue cheese shoot and get three mnts down the line keel over, now I chopped it three rows up down to a stump used as an ashtray starved of everything bar light,dropped bin in a small fire dumped outside like a brownish desert like stick. Wow 8weeks on boom started sprouting 5 mints on its fucking massive but no sign of flowering yet got pistils ???????

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    Hi there, unless you’re growing dwarf varieties of the plant this isn’t normal. They would even be on the small side for an autoflowering dwarf plant. What medium are you growing in?

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  45. vicki

    I am growing Jack H and White W outdoors from clones in the southwest, They are planted in a raised garden area. They have been in the ground maybe 4 weeks, they both have buds all over them. JH is only 12″ tall and WW is 9″ tall. Is that normal? This is my first try at growing. Any info would be much appreciated.

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