Top 6 Cannabis Growing Mistakes to Avoid

Top 6 Cannabis Growing Mistakes to Avoid

Published on 5/7/21

As the days grow longer and little slivers of green begin to emerge from the soil after months of dormancy, the thought of growing some gorgeous cannabis plants often enters the minds of weed lovers around the world. The earth is awakening and the idea of growing marijuana at home takes hold. While cannabis is relatively easy to grow, there are several errors that novice (and even experienced) growers can make that will turn their marijuana gardening adventure into a major disappointment. Here are the biggest marijuana growing mistakes that beginners run into when embarking on their adventures. And, most importantly, how to avoid them in your horticultural endeavors.

Poor Seed Selection


Many first-time growers wrongly assume that any seed will be fine for their cannabis grow. It is important to research the origin of the seed and know what type of seed is being used. Marijuana strains grow in very different ways and need different types of care throughout their life cycle. If not, seeds may not germinate or might be male and not provide any smokable buds. Be sure to pick a reliable seller or breeder to ensure a reliable start to your grow plans.

Poor Germination Methods

Once quality seeds are in hand, they need to be handled carefully. Any germination technique that requires the seeds to be touched is sub-optimum. Our fingers are covered with bacteria, sweat and oils, which can be transferred to the seeds when handled. The safest way to germinate is directly in soil or growing medium so no seed transfer is necessary. 



Water is life and the urge to nurture your plants with the most abundant compound found in most living things is to be expected. It is important to find the right balance, however, because that urge to give life can result in the opposite if your plants get too wet. The roots will not be able to breathe and cause root rot. This is what kills marijuana plants most often because any excess water will gradually cause them to suffocate. Just like humans, they need oxygen to survive.
In order to find that ideal balance and avoid making one of the most common mistakes of growing marijuana, keep a close eye on the appearance of your plants. Yellowing leaves is a sure sign of possible root rot. Conversely, slightly wilting leaves indicate the need for more water. Overwatering is normally more of an issue that develops over time from watering too often. The easiest way to determine when to water is to simply stick your finger into the soil or growing medium. If it is dry, it is time to water. If it is moist, leave it alone.


Much like overwatering, providing too many nutrients and too much food is an easy trap in which to get caught when growing marijuana as a beginner. Once again, balance is key. Overfeeding will hurt your plants and result in smaller yields if they are even able to survive until harvest. Start slowly by giving your plants less than the recommended nutrient dose provided by the product you are using, especially if it is something with non-organic nutrients or fertilizers. These products are designed to release nutrients quickly and can shock the plants and lead to nutrient burn. Sativa strains are particularly prone to this problem.
Organic food like compost will provide a more gradual nutrient release. When growing marijuana indoors it is advisable to cut the recommended dosage to avoid any chance of burn because the suggested amount is often far too high for cannabis. Signs of nutrient burn include slow growth, twisting leaves, yellowing of leaf tips, brown spots on leaves and leaves falling off the stalk.

Incorrect pH Levels


There is a direct link between proper watering, proper feeding and proper levels of pH. Incorrect levels of pH will make your plants sick and result in poor yields. The pH scale ranges from 0-14, with zero on the alkaline end and 14 on the acidic. Seven is considered neutral. Try to keep your growing medium around six. This will allow the plants to properly absorb their food and nutrients as needed. Don't forget to also check the pH level of the water you are using. pH control kits are readily available at grow stores, online and retailers like Home Depot or Walmart (but we suggest shopping at local, independent retailers).

Improper Physical Environment

If you want to know how to grow bud that will make you happy, you need to know how to establish and maintain the right temperature, humidity and light for your operation, even if it is just one plant. You should have the ability to alter all three depending on where your plants are in their life cycles. Higher humidity is best early in the life of a cannabis plant with lower levels optimal during the vegetative and flowering stages. Plants also flourish in lower temperatures during the latter stages. Between 68 and 72 degrees Fahrenheit is preferable. Too much light and heat (over 85 degrees Fahrenheit) will cause leaves to burn and show yellowish lines. Leaves can also have spots or curl. 

Try to maintain 18 to 24 hours of light early on. When the plants are ready to flower, light should be dropped to only around 12 hours per day. If this is not done, your yield will suffer significantly.

When growing marijuana outside you are obviously at the mercy of Mother Nature, but you should still seek an environment where temperatures will remain relatively steady and within the 65-to-85-degree Fahrenheit range. 

Premature Harvest


Once buds start to form on your plants it is easy to get too eager and cut them off early. It is essential to wait until the right time. If they come off too soon, they will not have reached their full taste and potency profiles. Trichomes are your best friend during this exciting time. The most effective way to decide when to harvest is to carefully examine the color of the hair-like trichomes with a microscope. If the trichomes are clear it is too early. The best time to harvest is when the trichomes turn cloudy. Some might present as a soft brown. The ship has sailed when the trichomes become a shade of red.

Have you ever grown your own cannabis? Did you commit some of the mistakes noted above or were you able to grow the bud you hoped? Let us know what went wrong or give us any of your marijuana growing tips in the comments section below!

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