The 20 Most Common Grow Mistakes – And how to fix them


We love plants and let’s face it, sometimes we over-mother them. We give them just a little too much love. Like the watched pot never boils, sometimes the watched and over-loved plants just will not grow. We turn to John Swain, our Director of Grow Science to point the way to the most common grow mistakes any grower might make. And some simple tips on how to avoid those mistakes. These apply to soil-grown and hydroponically-grown indoor plants.

The 20 Most Common Grow Mistakes

1. Over-watering “loving your plants to death”. When a plant is “over-watered” it has less to do with the water and more to do with oxygen. This is a problem in both hydroponics and soil-based grows.

Solution: Reduce the watering between grows or decrease the amount of water if your plants are drooping. Make sure you have proper drainage. In hydroponics this might mean changing the flow of your system so your plants get bathed more often in oxygenated water.

2. Under-watering your plants can be seen if your plants look droopy or if the leaves feel dry. You might need to either give more water or increase the intervals between watering.

Solution: If growing hydroponically, a drooping plant might be suffering from root rot. If growing in soil, pick up the pot. Does it feel light? If yes, time to water.

3. Not managing pH plants can only open their ion channels and “eat” when the pH in the medium they are growing in, is just so. If you are using water that is high or low in pH or are giving bursts of plant feed, you might have a pH problem. Cannabis plants for instance, need a varying pH range from 5.1 to 6.5 throughout their development.

Solution: Handheld pH meters are a low cost and effective, if not cumbersome, solution to managing pH.

4. Nutrient Burn means you have been feeding your plants too much food and nutrients.

Solution: A simple EC meter can help you make sure your plants are in the right range.

5. Bad genetics – some plants are just not bred to grow well.

Solution: Heirloom seeds tend to be hearty stock, or just check the source of your seeds. Don’t invest your time in growing seeds that aren’t going to grow into plants you love.

6. Not enough light/Too much light – some plants like a lot of light, some like less. This could be a common mistake.

7. Exhaust/intake – is your grow area aerated well enough? In nature outdoors plants usually get gentle breezes and wind to give them what they need to grow. Indoors, it’s not enough to add a fan and think you are good to grow.

Solution: Ventilation plus an exhaust and the right intake to match your grow will ensure you are growing with the right flow.

8. Managing temperature/R.H. – Plants like it warm, but not all do well when it’s super hot. And sometimes when you turn up the heat, this causes your humidity to shoot through the roof and then create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungus.

9. Accepting clones from non reputable source. A clone can be the first ingredient to your masterpiece. Think about chocolate making. Imagine making chocolate from poor quality cacao? Same idea with growing plants.

10. Security – Are your plants growing in a safe place, far away from neighbors who might like to take something or animals like might like to nibble?

Solution: Batten down the hatches and make sure what you are growing is safe, and secure.

Here are 10 More Common Grow Mistakes

11. Not double checking the light timer! Lighting, especially in cannabis growing, is one of the top 3 most important grow ingredients.

Solution: Have you double, or triple-checked that the timer is on and operating? Need a timer? Check out this excellent timer from our partner, Grozone. You could also win one as part of the Eddy Dream Grow contest!
dark cycle interrupted

12. Light leaks in flower – when inducing your plants to flowering stage, keep light leaks to an absolute minimum!

13. Not having proper IPM in place from the beginning – IPM means, integrated pest management.

Solution: There is no one silver bullet solution to keeping insects, disease, fungus and bacteria from attacking your plants. Consider what might happen to you investment, however, if you start noticing an attack.

14. Root space equals canopy space (proper pot size). Whether you are growing in a soil-less culture or with soil, you have to have space for your plant’s roots to grow.

15. Trying to do to much: Overcompensation leads to disaster – this goes back to the first point. Taking care of your plants is like parenting. Helicopter parents raise neurotic maladjusted kids.

Solution: Feel the balance of doing it just right. This takes experience.

16. Harvesting too early. Yes, we know you are excited. But harvesting before your plants reach their potential is just stupid.

Solution: Don’t do it.

17. Not flushing properly. Run pure water through your system to clear it from excess of nutrients and other buildups. This is good to do before harvesting, and before changing nutrients for grow cycles.

18. Foliar spraying with lights on is a no no, says John! 

Solution: So turn those lights off when you spray and be on the way to being a master grower.

19. Not having a scope. A scope is a tool that helps you look at your plants close up. It helps you get ahead of problems before they develop. Buy a scope and keep your eye on your investment!

20. Not understanding your grow medium. So your state or country is going legal (Oh Canada!) and you want to start growing with hydro. Make sure you know your grow medium before you expect to start growing wonderful plants and bud.

That’s it for now friends. Take stock of these 20 common grow mistakes every new grower makes and you will be on your way to wonderment and the joy of home growing.