First grow - pH issue? Root-bound? Dying 3 weeks into flowering

Strain; Gold Leaf

Soil in pots, Hydroponic, or Coco? Coco

System type? Ebb & Flow

PH of runoff or solution in reservoir? Runoff 6.5 pH - Reservoir 5.7 pH (had been strictly maintained to 6.0)

What is strength of nutrient mix? 950 TDS+

Indoor or Outdoor; Indoor

Light system, size? 5 x 300 Watt Viparspectra LED - 18" above canopy

Temps; Day about 75 day…Night about 72

Humidity; Day, Night Not 100% sure, but I believe around mid 40s

Ventilation system; Yes - 8" carbon filter/fan

AC, Humidifier, De-humidifier; N/A

Co2; No

Plant dying and I’m not sure it can be saved. 2 plants in a 2’6" x 4’ space in 3 gallon felt smart-pots. I’m nearly positive that it’s root-bound due to amount of roots that I see on the outside of the felt (or maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be? Pic will be attached). Exposed roots have started to turn brown where they had been white before. One plant (first plant) has always been a bit ahead of the other (second plant). First is the one that’s dying, but I’m starting to see early signs of the same yellow leaves on the other. The second also is showing tips of leaves curling up, which is a brand new symptom as of today. Buds are firm, but trichomes are all still clear. The pH soil meter was reading about 7, but I don’t know if it’s reliable. Yesterday, I flushed with 4 gallons of 6.0 pH water. Run-off was about 6.5, so it appears there is some kind high pH condition in the soil. I suspect that the same condition the first plant is having, will appear in the other if I don’t act. Using General Hydroponics nutrients.

So I’m not sure how to proceed. I’m lowering the nutrient pH to 5.5 to compensate for the high pH condition. Unfortunately I didn’t check the soil pH until too late due to the nutrient pH being automatically monitored and adjusted to 6.0. Hopefully one of you pros can give me some advice that will help me keep them alive. The two photos that show a relatively healthy plant is the second one that’s just starting to show symptoms. Thank you in advance.

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They are definitely rootbound. How close are you from harvest? A transplant into bigger pots will fix them right up.


OK, so as you can see, there are roots pushing through all around the outside of the pot…do I just cut the existing pot off or what? The plants are currently woven through a “screen” with a PVC frame, so I’m not sure how I transplant them without really disturbing things. Anyone have a suggested technique?

It doesn’t look like you have time for transplant. Your to far into flower. Just chalk this up as a learning experance. And apply what you learned to your next grow. It’s the way of learning to grow we all have been there done that.

And you again…lmao



Yeah i was thinking if you transplanted they herme due to being so far in flower. Ride it out & chalk it up. Sometimes it is what it is :frowning_face:

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Could be wrong, but isn’t that salt bulildup on the side of the pot?

So, probably a really stupid question, but is any of the grow going to be worth anything? Will the cycle complete and the trichomes turn as the plant starts to die? Should I proceed with just scrapping the grow and starting over now? It would suck for all of this to be a total loss, considering the time it took to start from seed and all. One way or another, I’ve certainly learned a lot. I do have a few outstanding questions

Should I have gone with 5 gallon pots instead? Would the extra room have prevented them from becoming root-bound?
Yes, the white stuff on the sides is salt & nutrient build up. When this appears, should I flush the plants with 3x-4x volume of the pot to make sure that I’m flushing out any excess salts and nutrients?
Since the second plant isn’t as far gone as the first, is there anything I could do to prevent it from getting to that point?

Thanks again, for all of your expert advice.

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Yes, I think you’re problem was using 3 gallon pots instead of 5 gallon for photo plants. You can usually get away with 3 gallons for autos, but not photos. They just get too big for such a small pot. I always use 5 gallons and it seems to be just the right size to finish a photo plant. You can try to transplant your smaller one into a 5 gallon, it would certainly help. I would try to cut away the pot. As for the salts, that happens to fabric pots. The salts seem to get stuck on them, but they can be washed off for another grow.


Good to know. Thank you!

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Ok… there are a lot of miss conceptions here…
They aren’t root bound… if your using a smart pot it’s impossible… that’s what smart pots are for… it’s called air pruning and that’s exactly what’s happening to the roots that you can see on the outside of the pot… that’s how its supposed to work… also the size of the pot isn’t a big issue when using fabric pots… depending on size of fabric pot will determine how often you will need to feed and water … again , that’s how they work…
I believe your problem is that your ph is to high and locking out the p and k that your plants really need right now… the high ph is allowing to much n and your temps in your room could be a little high at times and together you will see the leaves turning up like that…
Get your ph to 5.5 going in and out and things will get better… your buds will be just fine…:wink:



Great! That’s what I thought that I had read about them, but when I saw the amount of roots punching through the sides, it had me wondering. That’s also consistent with what I was wondering in regard to P and K nutrient deficiency since all of the images that I’ve seen look like either P or K deficiency. I wasn’t sure if it was one or the other, so hearing it’s probably both, makes sense.

I’ll do another flush of both plants today, make sure that my runoff pH is around 6, and hope for the best.

As for my temps, I think they have been OK. Here’s a chart of temp and pH for the last week.

Great feedback. I’m optimistic about my outlook.


At this stage … you really want your ph at 5.5 to 5.8 … that’s the range that they will take up p and k… especially because your in coco… :wink:
Other than that , their looking good…


Looks like my plants used to look when I started flower. For me, it was nute lockout caused by hard water & hot soil, which both affected my soil’s pH. I use smart pots.

I finally had a grow w/o my usual issues. This time, I used r/o water & flushed my soil at the beginning. PH, ec, and everything else is looking good, and so are my plants.

Frankly, the more things go wrong in your first grow or 2, the more you learn. Keep going & don’t give up!


Great to hear about your success! I was using RO/DI water at first, then the calcium deficiencies started. Now I’m using RO water and adding plenty of Cali-magic. Thanks for sharing your lessons learned. :+1: