Cut bait or stick it out?

Bishop12

Active Member
Hi Folks!! I'm a newbie grower on my third indoor run. I started to learn how to grow at the beginning of the pandemic (when everyone else was obsessing over baking bread). My first two runs were spectacular and probably gave me a sense of over-confidence-- likely leading to the problems I'm seeing now! I'm growing in a 3x3 under 250w LED. In my first runs, I did 5 gallon pots, which worked well, but I ultimately decided to go with 3 gallon pots this run. The biggest change, however, was switching from Advanced Nutrients liquid fertilizers to Happy Frog dry fertilizers. The plants are 3 autoflowers from ILGM (2x Cheese, 1x Gelato). During the vegetative stage, the plants seemed to thrive (see first photo). I tried to keep the canopies relatively flat by keeping up with LST. The problems, however, began when they entered into pre-flower. I may have made a really rookie error by doing some light defoliation to promote better airflow (see before and after photos). Shortly after removing some lower vegetation and bud sites that were unlikely to produce, the plants began to show signs of acute over-watering (or at least that is what it looked like to me). A quick trip to Dr. Google suggested that in terms of remediation I should let the plants dry out over a couple days, which I proceeded to do. After letting the plants dry (pots light when lifted), I'm not seeing any signs of improvement. Does anyone have any thoughts on what could be going wrong? Since these are autoflowers, I suspect I am getting close to the thresholds were any significant growth stunts will be too detrimental to recover. I should also mention that climate is likely not an issue. I am--fortunately-- able to control the enviroment quite well (average 68 temp / 45% humidity).

edit: (please ignore the young plant in the black pot-- that's a recent Blueberry Kush that I'm working on)
 

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BeastGrow

Well-Known Member
To me it looks like your plants are resting... is it on a 24 hour light schedule? plants droop like that in the dark period usually.
 

Herb & Suds

Well-Known Member
It is pretty hard to overwater plants at that stage
They may even need it daily as they mature

I say you need to water heavily with no nutrients and wait a few days

Oh and WELCOME to RIU :weed:
 

BeastGrow

Well-Known Member
i agree it does look pretty dry. a watering should solve your problem. try to drain the runoff when you can. i always struggled getting waterings correct unless i added a lot of perlite. look into Jacks 3-2-1 formula using 5 gallon black buckets and airstones with 6 inch net baskets on top of the water with hydroton clay balls. you can get everythign on amazon, but i got a good deal for black buckets on Uline. You just need to top water and check ph but otherwise you only need to change the water every 7-14 days. its a tiny bit more work to be honest but not much. most of the time just check water level and ph and then once every 2 weeks you need to change out the nutrients/water and scrub the buckets.
 

Bishop12

Active Member
i agree it does look pretty dry. a watering should solve your problem. try to drain the runoff when you can. i always struggled getting waterings correct unless i added a lot of perlite. look into Jacks 3-2-1 formula using 5 gallon black buckets and airstones with 6 inch net baskets on top of the water with hydroton clay balls. you can get everythign on amazon, but i got a good deal for black buckets on Uline. You just need to top water and check ph but otherwise you only need to change the water every 7-14 days. its a tiny bit more work to be honest but not much. most of the time just check water level and ph and then once every 2 weeks you need to change out the nutrients/water and scrub the buckets.
Thank you! This is my first run using plastic pots as opposed to fabric. I don't *think* I have any drainage issues, but I'm now regretting not putting a layer of hydroton (if only for peace of mind). Between the two, I definitely have a preference now for fabric-- it seemed a little easier to control.
 

hotrodharley

Well-Known Member
Thank you! This is my first run using plastic pots as opposed to fabric. I don't *think* I have any drainage issues, but I'm now regretting not putting a layer of hydroton (if only for peace of mind). Between the two, I definitely have a preference now for fabric-- it seemed a little easier to control.
Bags better for every reason.
 

Bishop12

Active Member
Hi all! I wanted to give an update and say thanks to those that provided suggestions! It has taken a couple of days, but after a decent watering they seem to be perking back up. The change is not dramatic, per se, but they seem to be moving in the right direction.

My next question for @Herb & Suds and @BeastGrow: Right away there was a consensus that the plants were too dry. My newbie eye--wrongly--led me to conclude it was over-watering. I am curious, then, what led you to that conclusion rather than concluding it was "over-watering". Was it something in the photos? The description? Sheer intuition!? Thanks!
 

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CitizenSnipz

Well-Known Member
Underwater the stems on leaves droop down with the leaf. Uncover water the stems on the leaves still go up but leaf drops only, maybe a little of the leaf stem right at the leaf may droop a little
 

Rocket Soul

Well-Known Member
So i realize im coming in to this quite late as it seems like you already have an improvement of the situation but here goes:

From the description (leds, cold temps and i assume winter time where youre at, new growth and tops a bit light on color in comparison to lower fan leaves, not a completely clear cut case of over or under watering): its likely youve had some transpiration problems. Led lights dont have any radiant heat, in comparison to almost any other light (sun, hid, t5 etc). One of the reasons a plant transpires/drink is to cool itself.

This means you generally need a bit more heat than normal, or the leaves just droop since they arent pulling water thru the plant. This is one of those things that is the hardest to get right when you start out with leds since its mainly controlled by environment. This gets tricky since most small homegrows dont have automated environmental controls. One easy hack would be adding a little heat thru a incandescent light. Not to give more light but to give a bit of heat to get them drinking.
If youre a bit handy you can setup an incandescent or halogen light bulb on a dimmer and adjust it til you get the leaves that proper "plant boner " look. But be very careful in adding too much, these lights come packed with a lot of far red and infrared, its easy to go over board and get far red induced stretch. Play around with dimming and raising/lowering the incandescent til you see signs of proper transpiration: leaves erect and having to water a bit more often. Ymmv. And merry xmas.
 

Bishop12

Active Member
@Rocket Soul -- Thank you! This is great information. Getting the plants on a consistent and adequate watering schedule got them back on track. I noticed that growth did seem to slow. I started to keep track of VPD after reading about the relationship between the plants' uptake of water/nutrients and climate (temp/humidity) and saw that I was generally out of range. I've since been able to keep VPD within acceptable ranges. Now I'm working on a new script for some of my automation tools to reduce the VPD standard deviation even more. (I'm just a hobbyist, but I have a lot of fun tinkering with automation using my Raspberry Pi).


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Bishop12

Active Member
Now in week 12 with these plants. After keeping a close eye on VPD and getting into a more consistent watering schedule, it appears as if these will limp over the finish line with adequate results. My biggest problem now is keeping consistent temperatures (too low) and that flowering growth has slowed. Having not grown these seeds before, I suppose it's also possible that they are just slow finishers. A few updated photos:

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