Understanding, Catching, and Fixing a Sulfur Deficiency in Your Cannabis Crop
Cannabis growers across the globe may face several hurdles while trying to produce medical marijuana from 149 seeds. Though nature alone presents its fair share of problems, such as drought or overabundance of rain, certain other subtle situations can arise along the way as well. No matter how much attention you give your plants, nutrient deficits could easily become an issue.
Plants require a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other vital components in order to thrive. One of those essentials is sulfur. While this element is undesirable on several levels, marijuana plants need a certain amount of it to grow strong and healthy and generate the potent buds you’re looking for. A sulfur deficiency can have a significant negative impact on your crop and, ultimately, your harvest.
What Is Sulfur?
Sulfur is a naturally occurring element. Its atomic number is 16, and it’s the tenth most abundant element in the universe. Though people have been using sulfur for centuries for a number of purposes, it wasn’t actually isolated and further researched until the 1800s. This particular element has long been known for its distinct smell that’s reminiscent of rotten eggs, but in its purest form, sulfur has no odor at all.
While sulfur has numerous uses, it’s a staple for gardens and farms around the world. Some people may not realize it, but this element is a primary ingredient in fertilizers as well as pesticides, fungicides and other substances. Although many studies indicate it may have negative effects on people and animals in large amounts, it’s crucial to the well-being of your cannabis plants.
Why Do My Marijuana Plants Need Sulfur?
Your sativa and indica marijuana plants need sulfur for many reasons. It’s critical to several plant functions, which means it’s vital for their survival. Sulfur is classified as a micronutrient, meaning plants only need it in small amounts. Still, those minor quantities play major roles in the growth of your cannabis crop as well as the formation of healthy, potent buds.
For one, sulfur helps plants’ roots grow strong and capable of taking in all the nutrients the plants need to thrive. This unsung hero of the horticultural world also helps plants form proteins and amino acids to use as food sources throughout their lifespans. At the same time, sulfur aids in enzyme development. Enzymes help plants break down proteins and other nutrients within the cells to draw from as they grow.
On top of all that, sulfur is crucial to the formation of chlorophyll. This substance gives plants their green color and helps them absorb light. Absorption of light fosters virtually all plant functions, such as converting food to energy and producing waste. Sulfur also helps plants process all the other nutrients they need for survival through being a co-factor in enzymatic reactions.
Sulfur is a well-known soil conditioner as well. It helps improve soil structure. This means it adds texture to the soil and makes it looser, more capable of supporting plant growth, and better able to retain appropriate amounts of moisture among other benefits.
How Do Cannabis Plants Get Sulfur?
Your chem scout og or critical purple strain cannabis plants can get sulfur on their own in a few ways. Soil is their primary source of sulfur as it’s usually present in soil in trace amounts and taken in through the plants’ roots. Some sulfur makes its way to plants’ roots simply because it breaks down into sulfur derivatives over time. Sometimes, bacteria from decomposing organic material and animal waste generate forms of sulfur that are useful for plants.
In other cases, plants may glean sulfur from the air around them. Some types of fuel and other sources give off various forms of sulfur when they’re used. From there, those sulfides and sulfates become airborne, and plants consume them during respiration.
Signs of a Sulfur Deficiency
Sulfur deficiencies are less common than some other issues, such as lacks of nitrogen, water, or sunlight. Still, they can be just as devastating to your cannabis crop. If you pay close attention to your plants as they grow, certain telltale signs of inadequate sulfur concentrations are fairly simple to spot.
As is the case with many plant problems, leaves may begin to turn yellow if your marijuana isn’t getting the amounts of sulfur it needs. This tends to start with newly growing leaves near the top of the plant when sulfur is the issue. If other nutrient deficits are at hand, it’ll start with older leaves and work its way to younger ones. Yellowing will also start at the bases of the leaves on your cherry pie indica or sativa plant and work its way to the tips.
You may also notice discoloration on the undersides of your plants’ leaves. They might begin to take on a pink, red, or orange hue. Leaves will start growing smaller than they did before the sulfur insufficiency became an issue as well. Plants will likewise start growing much more slowly.
If the sulfur deficiency takes place during the flowering stage, buds will begin to turn brown and die. The plants may also produce fewer buds than they would under optimal growing conditions. At this late stage, you may not be able to reverse the devastating effects of a lack of sulfur. That’s why it’s important to catch the problem as early as possible.
Can My Plants Get Too Much Sulfur?
Yes, it’s possible for plants to receive too much sulfur. If there’s too much sulfur in the soil or you’re overzealous in giving your marijuana a sulfur supplement, it can certainly suffer negative consequences. When this happens, you may notice brown, dry, or dead leaves on your plants. They’ll also experience stunted growth and hampered bud production.
How Do I Reverse a Sulfur Deficiency?
Any type of nutrient deficit can be devastating to your marijuana crop. That said, there are several ways to reverse the effects of a sulfur deficiency. One of the simplest and most effective solutions is adding Epsom salts to your watering regimen.
Exploring the Value of Epsom Salts
Epsom salts are among the most inexpensive sulfur deficiency remedies available to the public. They’re also readily available online and at countless stores. If a store sells health and beauty products or even gardening supplies, it most likely offers Epsom salts as well.
As far as chemical composition goes, Epsom salts are made up of sulfur, magnesium, and oxygen. This compound dissolves easily in water. When it does, it gives off magnesium and sulfate ions. In turn, those ions become available to your plants via the soil, and the water you add to the mixture helps the plants’ roots take in those vital nutrients.
Epsom salts offer a wide range of benefits for humans. Some of these include soothing sore muscles, healing wounds on the skin, and reducing stress. It’s harmless for humans in reasonable amounts and equally safe and effective for your cannabis plants.
All you need to do is add a teaspoon or two of Epsom salts per gallon of water, and apply the mixture to the soil around the base of your trainwreck or purple kush plants as you would during normal watering sessions. Keep in mind, the plants won’t actually absorb water and minerals through their leaves. They only take in these elements through their roots, so applying the solution to the plant itself won’t be very beneficial.
In addition to giving your plants a much-needed sulfur supplement, Epsom salts will provide extra magnesium. This is yet another essential nutrient for growing cannabis plants started from USA cannabis seeds. Without it, your crop can’t complete the process of photosynthesis, metabolize food for energy, or maintain the cellular structure of the plants.
Other Sources of Sulfur
Most fertilizers contain certain amounts of sulfur. In many cases, they offer all of this element your plants need to get a healthy start in life and thrive through the flowering stage. If your crop starts showing signs of a sulfur deficiency at some point, you might be able to simply give them another fertilizer feeding to help remedy the situation.
You can also purchase garden sulfur, but not all varieties are the same. Sulfate-sulfur is the form of the element typically found in fertilizers. It’s immediately available for plants to use as needed once it’s added to the soil. If your chosen fertilizer doesn’t seem to be giving your cannabis plants the sulfur they need, you can add extra sulfate-sulfur supplements to the mix.
Elemental sulfur is another option. Unlike sulfate-sulfur, it’s not available to your plants as soon as you add it to the soil. Instead, it takes time to break down and become useful to your marijuana garden. Experts recommend adding elemental sulfur before planting your cannabis crop if you’re going to use this alternative. That way, it’ll be ready for your plants’ roots to absorb it as needed later on in the growing season.
The Bottom Line
Plants need heat, light, water, and a wide range of nutrients to flourish. Your marijuana plants require at least 17 specific vitamins and minerals to produce an abundance of potent buds. Sulfur is one of the main elements they need. Even though it’s a micronutrient, it’s vital to the health and harvest or your crop.
In many cases, soil and fertilizer alone offer all the sulfur plants need to thrive. In certain instances, though, you may need to intervene. Giving your plants a helpful sulfur boost isn’t difficult, but it’s extremely important to getting the results you’re looking for at the end of the growing season. Especially when you invest in premium marijuna seeds, your best option is to give the plants their complete sulfur requirements to ensure the buds reach their top potency.