The Truth About Cannabis Leaves Drooping

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Cannabis leaves drooping
Author avatar By Derek LaRose
March 18, 2022
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Have you noticed your cannabis leaves drooping and have no idea what’s causing it? 

Don’t pull your hair out because this scary sight is a lot more common in marijuana cultivation than you think.

There are a few reasons why your plants would look slumped over and sad. Sometimes it’s even a good thing. The trick to curing droopy cannabis leaves is knowing when to intervene.

Join us as we explain what causes this worrying sight, how to fix it, and a few ways to keep marijuana crops healthy.

Droopy marijuana leaves
Droopy marijuana leaves

Why do cannabis leaves droop?

Cannabis leaves drooping is usually a sign that you’ve got a watering issue. The good news is that it’s super easy to treat, but you’ll need to act fast.

Plants are made up of 90–95% water, so it’s no surprise that this liquid of life is crucial to their survival. It plays an essential role in regulating the temperature of marijuana crops and acts as the transport vessel for cannabis nutrients.

For the most part, the sight of droopy cannabis leaves signifies overwatering.

It could also be due to a drainage issue with your growing medium. Moisture builds up around your roots and doesn’t allow them to breathe. They become weak and susceptible to rot and eventually die.

Another reason for cannabis leaves drooping may be due to a nutrient deficiency. Leaves aren’t strong enough to support their own weight and end up hanging lifelessly from the branches.

There are also times when it’s perfectly normal to see your marijuana leaves sag, which makes matters more confusing. At night, for example, plants tend to lose vigor in order to store energy. 

It’s also common to see fan leaves drooping during flowering, but again, it’s more than likely a moisture issue. While minerals are directed towards the buds in the flowering stage, your plant’s foliage shouldn’t sag.

Cannabis leaves wilting vs. cannabis leaves drooping

The first step to diagnosing this issue is to determine whether you see drooping cannabis leaves or wilting foliage. Before you grab a thesaurus, these terms are not the same.

Wilting is when you see foliage begin curling at the tips and start changing to a yellow color. You’ll also see the lower leaves die and fall off if left untreated for any longer. If this description sounds familiar, chances are you’re underwatering your plants.

On the other hand, cannabis leaves drooping is due to you overwatering. You’ll notice foliage sagging as if it were exhausted. The leaves of your marijuana crop will also stay firm in shape and remain green in hue.

As you can see, figuring out whether your marijuana crops are wilting or drooping is essential to choosing the right remedy.

Yellow Curling Leaves
Yellow curling leaves

Watering and drooping cannabis leaves

Did you know that the roots of a marijuana plant need 24/7 access to moisture for transpiration to take place? Prohibiting this process with too much or not enough water is a sure-fire way of causing droopy cannabis leaves.

If you didn’t know, transpiration is the scientific term that describes how a plant soaks up nutrients from its roots. The easiest way to understand this process is by thinking of a drinking straw. Water is sucked out of the leaves by the sun and replaced by new, mineral-rich liquid beneath the soil.

Without this essential blend of water and nutrients, you’ll likely start to see wilted cannabis leaves in your garden. Too much liquid is just as bad, if not worse, causing a host of crop health issues.

You need to maintain a perfect balance of water and air in pots for marijuana plants to flourish and produce quality buds. 

Overwatering

Many beginners experience their cannabis leaves drooping because they’re worried their plant doesn’t get enough water. As a result, they begin watering weed crops every day.

It’s important to understand that the issue isn’t giving too much liquid at one time. Instead, it’s when you water your plant too frequently.

Overwatering prevents your marijuana crops from breathing, causing droopy weed leaves. The roots can not get the required oxygen, making them soft and weak. The excess moisture can also lead to them rotting if left long enough.

Crops eventually become susceptible to pests and eventually die if not treated. 

Here are a few ways to tell if you’re overwatering your marijuana plants:

  • Droopy cannabis leaves
  • Foliage becomes firm and heavy
  • Your growing medium is always wet
Cannabis overwatering
Cannabis overwatering

Underwatering

There are many reasons why cultivators don’t water their crops enough. Some leave their plants to fend for themselves outside, while others forget to feed them entirely. In any case, not giving your plants enough water will cause wilted cannabis leaves and issues with their growth.

Forgetting to feed your crops will reduce the rate of photosynthesis and force them to grow slower. No water means your plants can’t suck up any nutrients, leading to other mineral deficiencies and problems.

Crops will start breathing quicker in response to dry conditions, making them use up valuable energy and lose vigor. Here are a few early symptoms to look out for and prevent underwatering:

  • Wilted cannabis leaves
  • Foliage changes to a lighter color, eventually turning yellow
  • Plants begin to shrivel up
  • Leaves dry out and fall off

Nutrients and droopy cannabis leaves

Cannabis leaves drooping could also signify your crops struggling with a nutrient deficiency or excess. It makes diagnosing the issue a bit more complex. However, this symptom is usually linked with water problems.

Incorrect moisture levels will prevent your plant’s roots from breathing and sucking up necessary minerals. Crops slowly start to show signs of a deficiency and lead cultivators down the wrong treatment path.

Novice marijuana growers might also mistake droopy weed leaves as a reason to give more fertilizer. This sudden increase in minerals creates even more problems for plants, leading to issues like cannabis nutrient burn.

If you’ve established that your feeding schedule isn’t the cause of this issue, it may be due to a magnesium deficiency. Symptoms for this problem include brown spots on the foliage and yellow leaf veins. You’ll also notice droopy cannabis leaves.

Another potential mineral deficiency that can cause sagging is a lack of calcium. This type of issue is common in wet climates and can lead to roots becoming weak and dying. If you see any wilted cannabis leaves with yellow spots, you’ll need to act quickly.

Cannabis plant with nutrient deficiency
Cannabis plant with nutrient deficiency

Nighttime marijuana drooping leaves

Believe it or not, there are times when cannabis leaves drooping is a natural occurrence.

It’s normal to observe foliage losing its vigor at night or when you turn off the lights in your grow room. The reason marijuana plants sag at this time of the day is purely to save as much energy as possible.

This process is known as a nastic movement or foliar nyctinasty, and it’s more relatable than you think. Imagine standing outside holding out a solar panel every day. It requires loads of strength when the sun’s out but is a pointless waste of resources at night. It’s better to lower your arms and allow them to rest and prepare for the next day.

Cannabis leaves drooping at night is also a biological instinct to slow down heat loss. It’s also useful in preventing mold and mildew as water runs off the foliage rather than saturating it.

Some scientists also believe plants protect themselves from animals and insects looking to eat their leaves. Foliage hanging is far less desirable and easy to eat for creatures than horizontal leaves. Make sure you see droopy cannabis leaves during the day before you decide to remedy the issue.

How to fix cannabis leaves drooping

Healthy cannabis plant
Healthy cannabis plant

Find a balance

It’s always unsettling to see your marijuana plants in distress, especially as they get closer to harvest. A lot of the time, fixing the issue and preventing it in the future is much easier than you think

When you start seeing your cannabis leaves drooping, consider your watering schedule and check your medium’s drainage. Remember that overfeeding is worse than underfeeding, so wait an extra day before giving plants water if you’re not sure.

It’s all about finding and maintaining a perfect ratio of oxygen and water in your soil for healthy plants. To make things even easier, purchase a soil sensor to get accurate moisture and pH readings.

Once you’ve found the right balance, you’ll never have to worry about cannabis leaves drooping again. Are drooping leaves not your current issue? Check out the rest of our blog to see if we can solve it for you. Better yet, log into the Homegrown Forum and chat with our community.


About the author: Derek LaRose

Also known as Kronic from The Cannabis Kronicles, Derek LaRose is a young ambitious cultivator and a staple educator for indoor cultivation.