Base of stem is HALF the diameter of the rest of the stalk

5 California dream plants from fem seed, about a month old, growing beautifully. Deep green, large leaves over a foot tall with 32" long white roots and very bushy. I’m using Drip Hydroponics, two 400w MH lights and Advanced Nutrients Ph balanced 3 part grow/bloom/minerals as per instructions. Room temp is 75, water is 72, neither was ever higher than 80 or lower then 68.

All of a sudden, one of the beauties just falls over, Bottom inch of stem is less and HALF the diameter of the rest of the plant. I look at the rest of the Cali’s and 3 of the 5 have this tiny base. The 7 others, Banana & Cindy are perfect. I’m doing the same to all 12, but these 3 look doomed.

I have 2 PH testers and neither of them work. EVERYTHING is 6.0! Local hydro store says I need a $200 ph tester, but I’m using ph neutral water AND nutrients and I’d much rather spend that $200 on lights cause by 4 x 3 pad is getting very crowded already. Any help or suggestions would be much appreciated…

@Donaldj is a hydro guy. @garrigan62 may know too.

I use the Apera PH20 which a lot of other growers use and it was like $48 on Amazon. This is all you will need but follow proper storage instructions. You HAVE to get your PH right.


It’s damping off - the stem is too wet. @TDubWilly has experienced this and I think was able to save the plant. If you have roots down in your water you should stop all top feeding immediately.


Thanks! I’m not a hydro guy so don’t have any of the nuances down.

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Thank you for your prompt reply, but I don’t understand, It’s a hydro drip system…

Are you saying turn off the recirculating system so it not getting water&nutrients at all? For how long?

What about the other 9 plants, they’re doing beautifully and are all in exactly the same setup…

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I would then look at how the other 9 plants drip systems are working in comparison to the one that isn’t working properly. For some reason, the medium around the stem is getting too wet on that particular plant, and it’s causing this damping off problem. You need to let the stem dry out.

So if I am understanding this correctly, your system pumps water from the reservoir where the plant’s roots live to the blue hose which then rainfalls water down through the medium and back to the reservoir, right?

Anyway to move the blue hose so it’s actually down in the medium, below the bottom of the rooter or whatever it is that you have around the stem?


This is more than likely your problem.

Of course you need to keep your system recirculating and air stones continually running, just turn your top feed system only off when the plants roots have reached the water, or are even close to it.

The top feed is only to help the roots grow through the clay pebble or whatever medium your using in your net pots.


Yes, that exactly how the system works.

The fallen plant is the driest in the bunch… Ugh!

I noticed a couple of the still good plants have water from the above ground sprinkler actually hitting the stem of the plant, but those (Banana & Cinderella) are doing great, thick hard stems. Of the 3 affected plants, one looks too dry, one looks too wet and one is in the middle. btw, all the roots are long white and all the leaves are big BUSHY and dark green. I’m starting to think it’s the California Dream strain that is just not compatible with hydroponics…


If I turn the top watering off, then it’s no longer a “drip” system, it’s a DWC Deep Water Comething system so I can just get rid of the pump?


Yes, until your next grow

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I don’t think it’s the strain that’s the issue - just that particular plant doesn’t like having wet feet. :slight_smile: In any case, if it were my grow, I’d probably turn off the top feeding on all of the plants that have roots down into the water below them to prevent it possibly happening to another plant later. If their are roots down into the water below the net pots, then aerate that water and you’ll be all good (assuming everything else is in check like PH and PPMs).


It is the effect of a plant which recovered from a bout of trunk rot AKA damping off the result is stunted growth in the area usually they scar and thicken near it this different in that it hardened off.
Firstly will it kill plant no but it will restrict nutrient flow and result in smaller return. Secondly should I be concerned no not anymore aside from letting upper layer of medium stay drier so it doesn’t happen again not much you can do at this point :wink:
Yes you need some form of PH meter for hydro and no they aren’t that costly you will get far better results with one than without matter of fact if you aren’t using one you are better off in soil because you won’t see benefits of hydro with wrong ph levels

We don’t work in hydro stores we just grow plants hydroponic and would like to get you back on track :wink: