- Watering Your Cannabis: How To Fix Over And Underwatering
- Step #1 – Water Thoroughly
- Step #2 – Move to an (More or Less) Sunny Spot
- Step #3 – Increase Humidity
- Related Questions
- Drooping Peace Lily Plants: Tips On How To Revive A Wilting Peace Lily
- My Peace Lily Keeps Wilting
- Peace Lily In Shock: What To Do
Watering Your Cannabis: How To Fix Over And Underwatering
There are many contributing factors involved when it comes to a successful and bountiful cannabis grow. Lighting, nutrients, airflow, and humidity all play important roles in optimal growth and vibrancy of a crop. Water, however, is one of the most important aspects of keeping cannabis plants healthy and strong.
Watering isn’t always as simple as it may seem. Many growers are under the impression that completely saturating their crop with water each day is all it takes to help plants obtain their aquatic requirements.
The truth is, there is much more to the watering process. Watering cannabis plants is a balancing act that takes some time and experimentation to perfect. Too much water can lead to some serious problems for plants and may obstruct oxygen intake. On the other end of the spectrum, too little water can lead to extremely dry conditions that will leave cannabis plants thirsty, eventually causing them to wilt.
We take a look how to recognise if you are over or under watering, and how to fix it.
OVERWATERING YOUR PLANTS
Overwatering is an easy mistake to make when growing cannabis, and is most likely caused by worrying that plants need constant doses of water. It is a pitfall novice often fall into.
Cannabis plants actually use their root systems to breath air, in addition to uptaking water, and if their roots are constantly swamped in water, they will begin to drown.
One primary symptom of overwatering is drooping leaves. However, it is not the same kind of droop you see when underwatered – where leaves look wilted. It is the opposite in fact. Leaves are so full of water, that they are being forced to curl in on themselves. It results in them becoming very firm.
Additionally, the rate of growth of overwatered plants will slow down dramatically or may even come to almost a complete halt. This is due to the anaerobic conditions that arise due to the lack of oxygen accessible to the root system.
Another symptom of overwatering a cannabis plant is yellowing of the leaves. This is a sign of a nutrient problem, that is a side-effect of overwatering.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms within your plants and believe the root cause is overwatering, the best thing to do is water less often. Wait for the top layer of soil to look and feel dry before watering again. A good test is to put your index finger in the soil up to the knuckle. if it is dry, consider watering.
Also, make sure each plant has adequate drainage and that water isn’t building up too much in the bottom of the pots or containers that they are housed within. You want excess water to drain out of the containers, leaving soil moist but not waterlogged.
UNDERWATERING YOUR PLANTS
Underwatered cannabis plants will look very weak, lifeless, and will show signs of wilting. Its no wonder they begin to look this way considering the vital role of water in plant physiology. The wilting of underwatered cannabis is different from the plump curling of overwatering – even if only subtly. Leaves will be fragile, brittle and even papery. They will look lifeless and drab. Another sign of an under watered cannabis plant an extremely dry growing medium, such as crispy soil.
Underwatering occurs when growers simply aren’t meeting their plant’s demands. Without adequate water, the root system will dry up and growth and yield may be reduced. Be sure to water your plant when the top inch of soil has dried out. Leaving it any longer than this may start to have detrimental effects.
One aspect that may cause underwatering is not using the correct pot size at certain stages of growth. For example, growing a small seedling in a large pot may reduce the plant’s chances of uptaking enough water, as the small root system doesn’t have a chance to uptake water before it drains away.
WATER QUALITY IS PARAMOUNT
As well as watering frequency, the quality of the water used to supply a cannabis crop is also a highly important consideration.
Cannabis plants consist of approximately 90% water, and the substance is required during various vital physiological process such as photosynthesis and transpiration. When using a poor quality water source to supply cannabis plants, these processes may be less efficient than they can be, or in worst case scenarios, disruptive.
When these disruptions occur, symptoms may manifest that appear almost identical to an array of other conditions such as over or under fertilisation, under-watering, and possibly even heat stress. This is a perfect example of why to always double and triple check the root cause of the problem when troubleshooting health issue of cannabis plants.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU NEED TO WATER YOUR PLANTS?
This question actually has many different answers, as many different variables are at play. For this reason, there is no exact answer. For example, temperature, humidity, and other environmental factors can all change how often water will be required.
However, there are telltale signs that will display it’s time to once again water your plants. Checking the top inch of soil is a promising way to identify this. Wait for this section of the soil to be dry before watering again in order to avoid overwatering. Once you have done so multiple times, you should start to figure out how long it takes in between each watering, and then you can go by that length of time instead.
Paying close attention to your plants leaves is another way to tell if its time to water. Of course, waiting long enough to symptoms to arrive is not optimal, but any signs of wilting should immediately be followed by a dose of water.
Before the growing process, check the quality of your water source. One important factor when it comes to water quality is pH. pH is a numeric scale used to measure the acidity or alkalinity of a solution, with the middle value of 7 representing neutral. Numbers less than 7 represent acidity and numbers above 7 display alkalinity.
PH that is either too high or too low can cause problems in cannabis plants, as the pH of the water source can dictate a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients. Too low or too high pH water can affect the pH of your grow medium over time, which results in symptoms that look identical to those caused by certain nutritional problems.
Cannabis plants tend to thrive at a pH of around 6.5. pH can be measured extremely easily by simply applying a pH metre around a water runoff sample. Runoff is water that drains from your grow container, having passed through your grow medium. If the pH is either too high or too low, pH up and down products can be used to return it to normal levels.
PPM is another important factor when it comes to water quality. Ppm, or parts per million, is a method of measuring the amount of minerals that have dissolved into the water source being used. So, a reading of 90ppm will indicate that there are 90 milligrams per litre of minerals present within the water source.
Being aware of the PPM within water allows growers to avoid giving their plants too many or too little minerals. A lack of minerals may lead to deficiencies, whereas too many may cause burning to occur. Cannabis plants prefer a ppm of around 500 when in the vegetative phase, and favour a ppm of around 1000 during the flowering stage of the grow cycle.
TDS meters, devices that measure total dissolved solids, can be used to measure the ppm of a water source.
Monitoring ppm is quite advanced, and while useful, is not essential for novices finding their feet. Just bear it in mind as you look to expand your knowledge and skill.
REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER
Although the total dissolved solids within your water profile might be adequate, not all substances within a water source are beneficial for your cannabis crop. Water might be contaminated with other factors such as pollutants and bacteria. Reverse osmosis filters are a great option to almost completely remove everything within a water source, allowing growers to add back only what they want their plants to come into contact with.
Reverse osmosis filters are capable of removing between 95-99% of dissolved salts within a water sample and is therefore a standard method of cleaning water on an industrial scale.
Once again, using reverse osmosis water is an advanced growing technique.
With the above in mind, you should be well on your way to understanding how over and underwatering affects your plants – as well as overall water quality in general.
Too many fertiliser salts can obstruct nutrient uptake and cause wilting. Use the DiST 4 Pocket Conductivity Tester for accurate readings.
Buy Conductivity Tester
Too many fertiliser salts can obstruct nutrient uptake and cause wilting. Use the DiST 4 Pocket Conductivity Tester for accurate readings.
Buy Conductivity Tester
The first time I laid eyes on Fittonia, I had to have it for my indoor garden. We brought home a beautiful silvery-white nerve plant in a hanging basket from Lowes. We soon discovered that the plant requires a lot of attention to prevent drooping. Here’s how to save your plant and keep it perky and beautiful for years to come.
So, how can you fix a drooping nerve plant? Water it. Fittonia will droop significantly if you let it get too dry. Other causes include low light, improper temperatures, and dry air. In fact, lack of water, low humidity, drafts or high temperatures, and exposure to direct sunlight are the most common reasons that this plant doesn’t thrive.
I was horrified the first time I walked into my kitchen – where my nerve plant lives – and saw the leaves limp and drooping over the sides of the pot. Luckily, it was an easy fix. The plant is quite hardy and will usually bounce back if you fix the problem quickly.
Just follow these three steps:
- Water thoroughly
- Move to a more (or less) sunny spot
- Increase humidity
Step #1 – Water Thoroughly
Every single time my nerve plant gets droopy, it’s because it needs water. If I miss a watering, the plant lets me know – big time! As a tropical rainforest plant, Fittonia needs a lot of moisture – through moist soil and high humidity – to keep its beautiful foliage. It even thrives as a terrarium plant.
How much water does it need? That depends on the conditions in your home. But as a rule, check your nerve plant every day by touching the top of the soil. It should be moist to the touch, but not completely saturated with water. If it feels even slightly dry, add more water. Again, being careful not to overwater.
I typically water my nerve plant every day or every other day during the summer months – and two or three times a week during the winter. This seems to work best for my environment. You may have to experiment with your plant to see what works best. Yellowing leaves can indicate overwatering, so keep an eye out.
Ensure you have a well-draining potting soil in case you accidentally water too much. Never allow your plant to stand in water.
After watering a drooping nerve plant, give it a few hours or even overnight to return to its normal shape. If it doesn’t perk up, move on to the next steps.
Step #2 – Move to an (More or Less) Sunny Spot
If watering alone doesn’t fix your plant, you may have chosen a poor location for it to live. Fittonia is very picky about the amount of light it needs. It will not tolerate direct sun or low light. For the best results, place nerve plant in an east- or west- facing window that gets a lot of bright, indirect light.
If you must place your plant in a south-facing window, set it back a few feet to shield it from direct sun and/or place a sheer curtain over the window to filter the light.
If you’re growing in low light conditions, consider supplementing with a fluorescent light. When we first got our nerve plant, we put it in a shady window in the kitchen just above the sink. It wasn’t doing too well after a few weeks (and I know it wasn’t due to lack of humidity). We installed a fluorescent light in the top of the window. I leave it on during the day while I’m working, and the plant LOVES it.
I know that sounds like a lot of work, but it’s really not. We bought this inexpensive light from Amazon and my husband installed it in the top of the window. It has a timer and settings for brightness, different types of light, etc. Our nerve plant has never been happier. You can also read our in-depth review of the best indoor plant lights on this page.
Step #3 – Increase Humidity
As a tropical plant, Fittonia needs high humidity levels. If the air gets too dry, the leaves may droop and appearance may decline. Nerve plant is sometimes considered difficult to grow because of its high moisture and humidity requirements.
If treated like an ordinary houseplant placed in a pot on a table or in a windowsill, Fittonia tends to react badly to the dry air found in most homes. Many people prefer to grow it in a terrarium because it’s easier to keep the humidity high. But it’s not impossible to grow in a pot. That’s how we grow ours.
You can do any or all the following to increase humidity around your plant:
- Mist daily with a handheld mister or use a spray bottle of water on the “mist” setting.
- Place the pot on a tray filled with pebbles and water – making sure the bottom of the pot sits on the pebbles and doesn’t actually touch the water.
- Place a humidifier in the room. We prefer to put our nerve plant as close to the humidifier as possible, since it needs more humidity than almost any other plant we own.
to see our favorite plant humidifier on Amazon. This thing works wonders and is easy to clean, unlike many other types. We leave it running in our living room – where most of our plants live. It keeps the relative humidity at 40 – 60 percent, which is perfect for nerve plant and other tropical plants.
If you keep humidity high and water regularly, we’ve not found nerve plant difficult to keep healthy and beautiful. Maybe not as easy as a snake plant, but not too hard either. It mostly just needs a lot of love and attention.
How do you water Fittonia? Apply room temperature water directly to the soil. For the best results, use a watering can with a long, small spout to reach below the leaves. Water evenly and always keep the soil moist – but never wet. Don’t allow the plant to stand in water or become waterlogged. Make sure water is not too hot or too cold to prevent shocking the roots.
Why is Fittonia called nerve plant? The bright veins – which can be silver, white, light green, or pink – look like nerves running through the plant’s dark green leaves. This unique appearance led to Fittonia’s common name of nerve plant. It’s a gorgeous, tropical houseplant prized for its foliage.
Drooping Peace Lily Plants: Tips On How To Revive A Wilting Peace Lily
Peace lily, or Spathiphyllum, is a common and easy-to-grow houseplant. They are not true lilies but in the Arum family and native to tropical Central and South America. In the wild, peace lilies are understory plants that grow in moisture rich humus and in partially shaded light. Heat, water levels, lighting and disease are potential causes for drooping peace lily plants. Once you discover the cause, it is generally easy to revive a wilting peace lily. But first you need to put your Sherlock Holmes hat on and investigate the reason a peace lily keeps wilting.
My Peace Lily Keeps Wilting
Peace lily is an attractive foliage plant that produces a flower-like spathe, which is a modified leaf that encloses the real flower, a spadix. While these plants are known for their ease of care, occasional issues may arise. One of the most common is droopy leaves on peace lily. Wilting peace lilies can occur due to several conditions. It is important to look for pest and disease issues, but the problem could also be cultural.
Spathiphyllum are Aroids, which means they are known for their glossy foliage and characteristic spathe. Peace lilies grow naturally in tropical rainforests. These plants need water but once per week is usually enough. Water until the moisture comes out the drainage holes in the plant’s container. This will ensure that the root ball is getting moisture.
When you repot the plant, separate the roots of the ball out into the new soil so they can gather moisture. One common mistake is to water into a saucer and let the moisture percolate up into the roots. This is time consuming for the plant and it may not be getting adequate moisture. Additionally, the standing water in the saucer may induce root rot and attract insect pests. Good watering practices can quickly revive a wilting peace lily.
Lighting, temperature and soil
Correct cultural care needs to be given to peace lily plants. Consistently wilting peace lilies are often the result of simple cultural issues that are easily corrected. Place plants in indirect but bright sunlight. Keep them in a container that is twice as large as the root ball.
Wild peace lilies live in warm, tropical regions and require temperatures of 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-23 C.) during the day and about 10 degrees cooler at night. Most thrive in average indoor temperatures but exposure to extreme heat or cold can cause drooping peace lily plants. Move any plants that are near the furnace or a drafty window or door.
Good, well-draining soil is essential. Soil with a high amount of clay can create unfavorably boggy conditions and those with too much grit or sand will simply drain away the moisture added before the plant can uptake it. The best potting soil for a peace lily is a fine, porous mixture containing peat moss, fine bark, or perlite.
Pests and disease
When water levels and other cultural issues have been adequately addressed and the plant is still stressed, look for signs of pests or disease.
Mealybugs are the most common pest problem. They can be seen as cottony bits of fluff adhering to the plant or in the soil. Their feeding behavior on plant sap reduces plant vigor and disrupts the flow of nutrients and moisture to foliage, causing discoloration and wilting. Sharp sprays of water to rinse off the insects or the application of alcohol directly to the pests can correct an infestation.
Cylindrocladium root rot is the most prevalent disease of Spathiphyllum. It occurs in the warm summer months and causes chlorotic areas and wilted leaves. Remove the plant from soil and treat the roots with fungicide. Then repot in a sterile pot with clean soil.
Several other pathogens may be harbored in contaminated potting soil. These are generally fungal and may be addressed in a similar manner as Cylindrocladium.
Peace Lily In Shock: What To Do
Ask the Expert: Have I damaged my Peace Lily after transplanting?
I purchased 2-3 small Peace lilies about 7 years ago for my boss. She is not a plant person, so it became my responsibility to keep it alive. It has been transplanted once from the pot it was originally in to a slightly larger pot and it has thrived increasing to 5 plants.
Lately it has been droopy and in need of water every other day. It has remained in the office in a relatively climate controlled environment until yesterday. I am in Florida and unfortunately my vehicles air conditioning went out. By the time I drove the 2 miles to home, the plant was all wilted and dying looking. I placed it in the shade as my houses a/c was not on and the inside temperature was almost as uncomfortable as my trucks.
I kept in in the shade and the ambient temp dropped due to an approaching storm. It was in the low 80’s to upper 70’s. I gently removed the plant from the pot and soaked it in water to try to loosen the dirt around the roots. My intention was to put it in 2 pots. I was afraid to cut or try to finger separating wasn’t working on the roots.
Carefully I put soil in the new pot and added a little water. I kept this up in layers and added the ‘mother’ plant in to the center. I added potting soil around it and added water to moisten it. I left is under my oak tree overnight in the shade and it appeared to be slightly recovering until the drive to work this morning. One of the plants in the mother plant has dark wilted green leaves and is majorly droopy. The rest of the plant is a little ‘depressed looking’ with slightly wilted leaves.
I have one of those watering globes and added it in once the plant was placed back in it’s home in the office.
Will my plant recover or have I done permanent damage to it? It really doesn’t appear to be loving life right now. Thoughts/help is greatly appreciated. Cheryl
Plant Expert Reply:
The short answer is to give the plant time, and it will be fine.
The long answer is:
When a peace lily or any other plant is in stress don’t add any more stress to it. After exposure to hot temperatures or a move, give the plant a day or two to recover before you re-pot, fertilizer or give extra water (unless the soil is dry). Move the peace lily to an area with a more acceptable temperature. The other thing you can do is give the peace lily a light solution of Vitamin B1 which you can find at your local garden center.
When you do repot, don’t be afraid to cut the roots. To divide peace lilies, I take the plant out of the pot and cut from the bottom of the roots up toward the plant. By dividing the plant this way, you ensure an adequate root system for the foliage. Cutting the roots in this manner will not hurt the peace lily.
When I repot any plant, I place the soil in the container and make a hole for the rootball. I place the rootball so that the top is at the same level as it was in the original container. I use the new soil to fill in the gap between the rootball and the side of the container. Notice I didn’t add any water in this process. Wetting the soil should be done after the plant has been repotted. Why? Because the water will eliminate any air pockets that have formed between the rootball and the new soil. You always want a thoroughly moist soil immediately after you transplant. Then you want to keep the soil evenly moist for peace lilies.
Although your approach was a little different from mine, your peace lily should recover. Keep the soil moist but not soggy and add a little Vitamin B1 to help with the shock. Then give it some time. Remember peace lilies will be droopy for a couple of reasons: too wet, too dry; to hot and sometimes too cold. Keeping moisture and temperature consistent is important.
Good Luck and keep me posted.
Q. My peace lily appears to be languishing after I repotted it. Any suggestions on how to reinvigorate it?
–Marcy Skoglund, Berwyn
A. It’s not unusual for indoor and outdoor plants to experience transplant shock when they are repotted or replanted. Their primary need at planting time, and the weeks that follow, is adequate water.
Water your plants before you move them, when they are placed in the new pot or hole, and again after they are planted. Initial wilting is common, especially if any of their roots dried or if they were moved on a windy day, but this condition soon disappears if they have plenty of water.
Plants will decline if they are planted too low or too high in their new spot. If this is the case, you will need to repot again at the proper depth. When changing pot sizes, increase only by 1 inch and take care to add the extra soil to the bottom and sides of the pot, never pile it on top of the plant’s roots.
Don’t fertilize your spathiphyllum until you see new growth in summer. At that time, thoroughly water it and then feed it a very dilute balanced 10-10-10 fertilizer.
Q. How can I get an indoor grapefruit plant to flower and produce fruit?
–Randy Burghardt, Hawthorn Woods
A. A grapefruit plant grown indoors from a seed often will not flower or fruit in a reasonable time frame, a frustration if you are growing this as a project with children. Seed-grown plants can take 7 to 10 years to mature to a fruit-bearing stage, and they never achieve the size or vigor of their full-size counterparts grown in subtropical Florida or Texas orchards.
The best choice for a containerized citrus tree is one that has been grafted to a dwarf, hardy rootstock, often that of the trifoliate orange. Grafted trees quickly will produce full-size fruit but still remain small enough for a pot. Grapefruit, however, is much more difficult to grow indoors in the Midwest (without a greenhouse) than other citrus.
Bright year-round light is essential, as are hot days (80 to 95 degrees), warm nights, high humidity and regular applications of a 20-20-20 fertilizer. You might have better luck with a Calamondin orange, a kaffir lime, a kumquat or Meyer lemon.
Q. When my oak tree dropped its leaves last fall, they were covered with small holes. What caused this?
–Nancy Sullivan, Chicago
A. These shot holes are most likely the result of the feeding of mites, small wasps or other insects. When the insect or mite punctures the leaf tissue to feed, the leaf responds by creating an abnormal growth or gall. Over the season, these tiny galls harden and drop off the leaf, leaving small holes. No controls are warranted.
Lee Randhava writes for the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Send e-mails to home&[email protected]
Q: I am in trouble! I recently repotted a peace lily which holds great sentimental value for my wife. Now the leaves have wilted and flopped down around the rim of the pot. Is there anything I can do to save it and get myself out of the doghouse?
A: Every husband has the experience of trying to do something nice for their spouse and having it backfire. If I had to guess, I’d suspect you pulled the peace lily (^Spathiphyllum wallisii^) out of a small pot and planted the root ball whole into a bigger pot. You might have noticed that the white roots of the plant were pretty densely matted around the inside of the smaller pot. Now, when you water the lily, the water runs off the top of the mass of roots and old soil into the fresh soil around it. The water quickly drains through this soil and out the bottom of the pot. The new soil becomes moist but the old root ball remains dry – causing the plant to wilt.
This is simple to fix. Remove the plant from its new home and soak the roots in a bucket of water for an hour. Next, carefully untangle as many roots as you can from the clump. Place enough soil in the bottom of the old pot to support the spathiphyllum at the correct height. Simultaneously spread the roots while packing handfuls of soil around them. Finally, when the pot is full, soak it in a bucket and let it drain completely.
If you remember to do this messy job outside where you won=t compound your problems, the plant should recover just fine. Later, dinner together at a nice restaurant should allow Rover to move back into his abode.