Lack or excess calcium in the marijuana plant
Excess Calcium or Calcium Deficiency in Weed
Dear grower, when you decided to start growing your own cannabis, did you believe that you’d become an amateur plant scientist? This is what it takes to be proficient with growing your own high-quality marijuana. Ask any grower that’s been in the business, and they’ll tell you its takes in-depth knowledge to produce those High Times looking buds.
What’s the most challenging aspect of growing weed isn’t all the information you need to process, it’s coping with the problems you’ll eventually have. No one is perfect, and this means you’ll subsequently scan through Google searching “how to fix x.” Been there, done that, and now it’s your turn. Let’s look through one of the biggest hurdles for newbies and veterans alike: Calcium.
⚠️ What is Calcium?
Calcium is an essential secondary macronutrient. It doesn’t make the cut to hang out with nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium; but it has a wide range of responsibilities in plant health. Its group of secondary nutrients consists of magnesium and sulfur, and these three aren’t needed in a large quantity as the primary nutrients NPK.
? Calcium’s Role in Cannabis Plants
Calcium’s role should never be understated. It’s responsible for keeping cell walls intact and sending messages to activate cellular activities. It’s crucial for many enzymatic processes in cannabis plants. It plays a crucial role in protecting cannabis plants from heat stress.
The list goes on and on, but we’ll leave it here for now. What we want you to understand most of all, is that calcium is an essential nutrient and is responsible for a wide host of aspects with marijuana plant.
Cell walls are responsible for keeping the body of a plant rigid and functioning. Imagine your own body, where our skin is made up of cell walls. If you suddenly managed to destroy your cell walls, then you’d immediately fall apart. The same goes for plants and its with utmost importance that they remain working.
Heat stress is a common problem in the grow room. If a plant lacks a protective measure to shield itself from the heat of an HPS or MH lamp, then it won’t survive for very long. Calcium allows for cannabis plants to regulate themselves so they may continue functioning even in hot climates.
Enzymatic functions are responsible for a plethora of activities in marijuana plants. Enzymatic functions allow for functions such as cloning, apical dominance, the creation of new shoots, and many more. Without these enzymatic functions, we wouldn’t be able to manipulate cannabis plants into growing outwards to create a SCROG setup.
Can you imagine what the cannabis industry would look like if we couldn’t clone? We owe many thanks to calcium for its critical role in the overall functions related to the production of marijuana crops.
✅ The Basics of Calcium While Growing Weed
Now that we have a basic understanding of calcium let’s take a look at what you need to know when you’re growing cannabis.
Calcium isn’t a mobile nutrient when growing cannabis. Mobility/immobility of nutrients plays a critical role in understanding how to identify a calcium deficiency or toxicity. Calcium’s immobility means that when there’s a severe lack or abundant amount, the affected leaves will be new growth at the top of the plant.
Cannabis generally uptakes a lot of calcium and depending on the substrate used, you may need more or less of it.
? Calcium and Growing Medium
Calcium impacts cannabis grown in both soil and soilless mediums. Cannabis that is grown in soil generally has a natural buffer that is found in the mix. This calcium buffer is usually in the form of dolomite lime, which is powdered.
This buffer keeps the pH of the soil in check, and not allowing drastic swings toward too acidic or too basic. This necessary calcium buffer maintains the pH in the perfect range of 6.8-7.2. This is the reason why cannabis plants growing in soil generally don’t require a pH meter. This is also the reason why marijuana plants that are grown in soil usually don’t have high instances of calcium deficiency or toxicity.
On the other hand, cannabis plants growing in a soilless or hydroponic system generally has a higher instance of calcium deficiency or toxicity. The reason for this is because calcium is only available for uptake in a certain pH range. Growing in a soilless medium requires the use of a pH meter for this reason.
An especially important aspect when growing cannabis in soilless mediums is the cation exchange capacity. This chemical exchange is responsible for some of the most significant headaches growers encounter.
Cation exchange is the function of specific cations, like calcium, to be held by the medium. This means that if the cation exchange capacity of calcium is not functioning correctly due to an excess of another nutrient, the medium may hold onto the calcium ions. Calcium ions that are held by the medium will not be able to be utilized by the marijuana plant.
? What Does Excessive Calcium Do?
Too much calcium in your weed plants can lead to some severe consequences. The most obvious problem that you’ll see if you overdo it with a calcium additive is leaf burn. The cannabis plant is reacting to the excessive levels of calcium and is trying to push it out from the leaf tips. This causes necrosis (death) of the leaf tips, and they will be a yellow/brown color.
Besides causing leaf burn, excess calcium doesn’t actually create such drastic symptoms as a deficiency. Instead, too much calcium in your cannabis plants will actually lead to problems in other nutrients, such as magnesium and potassium. This situation presents a very frustrating problem when growing cannabis. Too much calcium will lock out magnesium or potassium, and the only way to correct the problem is by first dealing with the calcium issue.
So, although you’re experiencing potassium and magnesium related symptoms, the actual root of the problem stems from too much calcium. Dealing with an excess calcium problem doubles or triples your work by making it necessary for you to also try and fix your magnesium and potassium issues. It can also lead you astray chasing other nutrients, while the calcium problem remains active..
✨ How to Correct Excessive Calcium in Your Cannabis Garden?
Once you’ve determined that you have excess calcium in your marijuana plants, it’s time for a gentle flush. When I say gentle, I mean a low dose of a balanced nutrient mix. When growers here the word “flush,” they think pouring liters of water through the medium to flush every nutrient out. This is inadvisable because you’re suddenly depleting the cannabis plant of all of its necessary nutrients to function.
Flushing with a low dosage of nutrients allows excess nutrients to be pushed out while leaving a smaller concentration. This method allows your plants to continue taking up critical nutrients for its growth.
Alternatively, you can flush your plant with a low dose of calmag, a combination of calcium and magnesium. By flushing with calmag, you decrease your chances of suddenly locking out potassium and magnesium.
Ata Calmag one of the most effective products when your plants need an extra supply of Calcium and Magnesium…
⛳ What Does a Calcium Deficiency do?
A calcium deficiency is much more noticeable than toxicity. A calcium deficiency will always begin in new growth and the top half of the cannabis plant. The reason for this is because of calciums immobility, and this means it won’t travel to older leaf growth. So, a clear indicator of spotting a calcium deficiency is by evaluating what portion of your plant is being affected.
Visual indicators are light yellow and brown spots that look similar to rust. These spots will generally start near the edge of the leaves or near the veins. As the deficiency expands, these mottled colors will begin to envelop the entire leaf. New leaves will usually curl, and the topmost area of growth will slow down in vigor. Stems will suddenly become flimsy and fall off easily if brushed against. The overall growth of the plant will slow down drastically
A calcium deficiency in cannabis also drastically limits the plants’ ability to fight off pathogens and predators. This means that certain types of fungi and bacteria will be more likely to establish themselves in this time of weakness. Pests such as mites, whiteflies, and gnats will be readily attracted to plants that are already weak and unable to defend themselves.
Since cell walls are weak during a calcium deficiency, the overall plant’s wall structure is fragile. This makes the entire plant brittle and unable to support the weight of buds. Bud development is reduced, as well as the growth of the plant’s root system.
Also, calcium plays a significant role in helping a cannabis plant cope with heat stress. While a calcium deficiency is ongoing, a marijuana plant will be unable to cope with heat stress. This is compounded by the fact that the cell walls are already weakened.
⭐ How You Can Fix a Calcium Deficiency?
Now that you’ve spotted enough symptoms that’s lead you to believe you’re looking at a calcium deficiency, it’s time to act..
First, you’ll need to analyze the nutrients that you’ve been feeding your plants. Are you giving lower doses than what’s recommended? Are you checking pH? These should be the first questions that you answer.
If you realize that you are giving too small of a dose of nutrients, then it’s time to bump up your schedule. Start with a small increase of 10-15%. Allow 2-3 days to notice if the new leaves resume vigorous growth..
Another option is to use calmag specifically in addition to your current nutrient lineup. In this situation, it’s recommended that you cut the recommended dosage of your calmag in half. That means if your calmag bottle suggests 5mL per 4 liters, then cut it to 2.5mL per 4 liters.
If you realized you haven’t checked pH, then its time to do so. If you recognize that your pH is off in the too acidic or basic direction, then it’s time to correct your nutrient pH. You should be aiming for 6.8-7.2 in soil and 5.2-5.8 in hydro. Once you’ve adjusted your pH, then it’s time to start adding nutrients at the right level.
Of course, you won’t be seeing a change instantaneously. Patience is key in growing excellent weed, and when dealing with problems, patience is a virtue. If problems persist after 4-7 days, it’s time to increase the dosage of calmag or your base nutrient.
Infographics about Lack or excess of calcium in your marijuana plant
Now you’ve learned why calcium is such an important nutrient, even though it’s called a secondary macronutrient. Calcium plays a wide amount of roles, and they are all necessary for the health and happiness of your plants. If you grow your cannabis with the objective of keeping all of these necessary nutrients in line, you’ll have a problem free grow.
Of course, having a problem free grow takes either a lot of luck or a high degree of experience. As a grower, you must keep your plant’s system well fed if you want it to produce high-grade cannabis. Having the necessary knowledge of the things that run your plant is crucial, and you’ll be a better grower for it.
For more information on growing cannabis, join us at PEV Grow to discover a wide range of topics, from nutrient issues to various growing systems.
Get the right level of calcium for your cannabis plants ⭐ Avoid excess or deficiency in your marijuana crop ⭐ Everything you need to know!
Deficiency and excess of Calcium in cannabis plants
Calcium and cannabis
First symptoms of Ca deficiency
Calcium is a very important secondary nutrient given the large amount of this element that the plant needs during its entire life cycle. From the very beginning, and already in the seed germination stage, calcium takes direct part in root development and protein synthesis. It’s absorbed by the roots in the form of Ca++ ion.
It also gives support to other elements that, when combined, participate in different metabolic processes such as the creation of vitamins – in this case, vitamin B12. These vitamins will join and form part of the cellular walls of the plant tissues, making them stronger to attacks from pathogens, and keeping their cells active and vital.
The role of calcium in cannabis plants
- Calcium is necessary for the growth of the cell walls of the root system
- It ‘s an immobile element
- It enhances the decomposition process of organic matter, improving nutrient uptake by the plant
- It acts as bridge between humus and nutrients
Symptoms of intermediate Ca deficiency
Calcium is an element easily found in the soil, so due its high availability for the plants we usually don’t find imbalances of this component except in very acidic soils.
Deficiencies can normally be more present in hydroponic crops due to the use of inert substrates (coco-coir, clay pebbles, rock wool, mapito. ) or when we don’t use substrate, as is the case of aeroponic systems.
In these cases, we must check that the calcium intake of cannabis plants is correct to prevent deficiencies in the early stages. Many of the fertilisers that we can find on the market have calcium, but sometimes it isn’t enough to avoid deficiencies, particularly if you are using reverse osmosis water, which doesn’t contain nutrients.
In this case (RO) you will have to prepare the nutrient solution in a different way: before adding any other fertiliser, pour two parts of calcium per one of magnesium until reaching an EC value from 0.0 to 0.3-0.4.
Visible symptoms of calcium deficiency in cannabis plants
- The youngest leaves of the plant are the first to be visibly affected
- The growth of the upper part of the plant is slowed down
- The root system is also affected, what reduces nutrient uptake
- As the deficiency progresses, the youngest leaves turn yellowish and become deformed
- Bud development is seriously reduced
To control the calcium deficiency we can perform foliar applications of Ca with a Ph of 7.2 directly on the affected leaves. We can also add calcium and magnesium to the nutrient solution, increasing the initial EC value in 0.2 points during about five days.
Calcium excess in cannabis plants
Serious Ca deficiency
The excess of calcium is difficult to detect and causes a lock-out of various nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, manganese and iron. In different hydroponic growing systems, and when there is calcium excess in the tank it comes in contact with the sulphur of the nutrient solution, this calcium precipitates and remains on the bottom of the tank.
In this circumstance, you will have to change the nutrient solution of the tank.
Calcium is an element that is directly related to the transpiration of plants. This transpiration control comes, in essence, from the roots and the stomata, which are located on the leaves. It can happen that the stomata are closed by an excess of heat, causing a superficial burn which could be confused with a symptom of calcium deficiency.
It should also be noted that, with a deficiency of this element, plants are always more susceptible to heat stress given that calcium contributes in the protein creation, which make plants more resistant to high temperatures.
How to supply cannabis plants with calcium
As we have already mentioned, if you are using osmosis water for watering your plants you should add calcium and magnesium before adding fertilisers to the nutrient solution. Since osmosis water doesn’t contain any nutrients, your initial EC value will always be 0.0.
Fertilisers for marijuana plants already contain the necessary micro-elements for the life of the plant, but there are nutrients such as calcium or magnesium which should be present in higher concentrations – especially at the early stages – to ensure that marijuana plants have everything they need to develop properly.
Tap water with an EC range of 0.3-0.4 is perfect, since this EC level is suitable to make the mix with fertilisers and ensure right amounts of Ca and Mg in the nutrient solution. It should be noted that, depending on the grown strain, it may be necessary to add extra calcium and magnesium during the flowering stage to prevent deficiencies from the 4th – 5th week, when plants are in full bloom.
In this case, this extra supply is important so, on the one hand, plants can reduce any kind of stress during the entire crop, and on the other hand we’ll harvest the best possible quality and quantity of buds. For these cases you can use Aptus Regulator during the entire crop, reducing the water needs of the plant to up to a 30% while making them more resistant to dehydration caused by high temperatures or periods of drought.
Identifying calcium deficiency in cannabis plants
Ca deficiency in lower and older leaves of the plant
Example of the condition of a plant with calcium deficiency
In this post we show you how to identify calcium deficiency in your plants. This nutrient imbalance is difficult to detect, so you must pay close atte