7 Common New Grower Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

The current (undeserved, in my opinion) legal status of marijuana makes it so that many new growers end up learning some hard lessons on their own.

Often we see pictures of plants that are getting cared for by their owners; some pictures immediately let us know that the owner is missing a vital piece of plant care knowledge that would totally solve their problem!

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a short list of the most common mistakes we see new growers make. Read below to find out if you’re making one of these common blunders!

1. Not Managing pH

When you start cultivating cannabis for the first time, there are a lot of acronyms, formulas, and regimens it seems you need to remember. After hearing PPM, PPK, pH, Lucas Formula, 18/6, 24/0, etc., most people want to ignore the jargon and try just watering a plant.

The jargon can definitely be overwhelming, and I would agree that a lot of it can actually be ignored…except pH.

Managing pH is one of the more technical details that pretty much ALL growers have to deal with. Poor pH makes for sickly plants that struggle to make small buds, and bad pH makes dead cannabis plants.

How to Avoid:

To your plants, pH is the thing that determines which nutrients it can uptake. When pH is in the correct range, your plants can uptake any nutrients they need!

Get yourself a pH Testing kit and make sure you’re feeding your plants with water in the correct range:

Hydroponics:            5.5 – 6.5
Soil:                          6.0 – 7.0

Generally, most nutrient deficiencies are actually pH problems that cause the plant to be unable to uptake a certain nutrient. Remember this and you’ll keep your plants looking beautiful.

Learn more about checking and adjusting pH

2. Using Too Much Nutrients

This is a mistake that’s very easy to make, and the majority of growers will do this at some point.

Here’s a large part of the problem: Most nutrient companies include a feeding schedule with their nutrient systems, and most of the feeding schedules recommend nutrient dosages that are way too high!

Overfeeding leads to a well known affliction called nutrient burn (commonly referred to as “nute burn”). Nutrient burn won’t kill your plants in  most cases, but they will leave an eye-catching reminder of their presence for the remainder of the grow.

How to Avoid:

Use the same feeding schedule that comes with your nutrient system, but only use one quarter (1/4) of the recommended dosage.

Example: If the feeding schedule calls for 2tsp of nutrient solution per gallon of water. Only use 1/2tsp (2 * 1/4 = 1/2).

If your plant begins to exhibit signs of nutrient deficiency and the pH is in the correct range, slowly move up to 1/2 or more as needed. Personally, it's very rare that I feed my plants nutrients at more than half (1/2) strength.

Learn more about getting better results with marijuana nutrients


3. Overwatering (watering too often)

Many of us were brought up thinking that plants needs sunshine and water every day. This combined with a new growers thirst to provide for their plants causes many people to water their plants more than it’s needed.

Overwatering will cause plants to adopt a droopy posture, and can kill plants in severe cases. Luckily, overwatered plants can be restored to full former glory.

How to Avoid:

For soil or hydroponic mediums such as coco coir, use your finger to test the top inch of the medium. If the top inch is dry (no wet dirt sticking to your finger), then it’s time to water! Remember: Overwatering comes from watering too frequently!

For DWC/Water Based Hydro, make sure you have large airstones that make lots of bubbles. Since overwatering is essentially oxygen deprivation to the plant, you can actually overwater your plant (in a sense) by not providing enough oxygen!


4. Bad Starting Genes

Oh how tempting it is to grow bagseed! It might be a strain you like, and it’s free!

Many growers have been pulled in by the prospect of a growing a free seed found in their marijuana, and just as many growers have been disappointed.  These seeds which are found mixed in with cannabis (bagseed) are usually duds, but can also be males, runts, or hermaphrodites.

Similarly, some growers get clones from sick plants, or clones that wern't treated properly and will probably never make it to maturity.

How to Avoid:

Get good seeds from a reputable source. If you’re going to spend money on having good lights and nutrients, they’ll be wasted on a plant with inferior genes or the wrong sex.

Many growers have their trusted source, and I’ve been using Nirvana Shop quite a while. In any case, it’s a good idea to go with a company who can reimburse you in case your seeds don’t arrive or are duds.

Growers who start with clones should exercise even more caution. My main suggestion is to know the person who is selling/giving you your clones and if possible, inspect the plant. Diseases/pests like white powdery mold, spidermites and tobacco mosaic virus can easily be spread from clones to your entire garden via your hands!


5. Not Enough Light

I’ve come across quite a few pictures sent in where a grower has a plant sitting under a single incandescent bulb, or a reading light, or even on a window sill while it’s clearly snowing outside.

How to Avoid:

It’s important to understand that the main determining factor in close a plant will get to its optimal height and bulk is how much light it gets. Plants need light, and plants that make big buds need lots of light!

This doesn’t mean you need to go out and buy a 1000w HPS for your small grow; many growers start with CFLs, and my first few grows were done entirely on them.

What it does mean is that you can expect the amount of bud your plant produces to be proportional to the amount of light it gets.

Learn more about different marijuana grow lights


6. Ignoring Security

Here’s a short list of things I’ve actually seen in pictures or read in emails:

  • Weed in windows sills (pic) with clear view to outside and passing traffic
  • Pictures of cannabis plants or buds with clear view of identifying information such as mail with name and address visible
  • A person allegedly debating with their co-worker about growing cannabis
  • Picture of weed growing in a low-fenced backyard adjacent to neighbors

How to Avoid:

I realize that telling people to be serious about security and safety sounds about as boring as it makes me sound old…but it’s insanely necessary.

It honestly breaks my heart whenever I hear of someone getting a ridiculously long jail sentence for possessing a plant.

Do yourself (and my conscience) a favor and PLEASE check out our security article here: https://www.growweedeasy.com/How-to-NOT-get-Caught-Growing-Weed


7. Harvesting Too Early

Growing marijuana definitely requires a bit a patience if you’re to see it until the end. And no part of the grow will test your patience more than waiting for the right time to harvest your cannabis.

Harvesting too early will reduce the effects of your medicine in addition to reducing the overall weight.

How to Avoid:

Check out the picture below for the short version. If you want the full scoop on when to harvest your plants, see our “When do I harvest my marijuana?” page.

Click me to see weed harvest pics up close and personal, learn how to tell if your marijuana is ready to harvest by looking at trichomes






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