Cannabis Seedling Growing Slowly with Droopy, Oddly Colored Leaves - PLEASE HELP!

I just started my first grow 2 weeks ago. Everything seemed to be going great. However, I have noticed recently that one of my seedlings looks skinnier and darker in color than the other. I can also see streaks of a light green color running through the leaves as well as some drooping. On top of that, they seem to be growing slower than expected. I did not think they were growing slow until I started looking at images of other grows at 2 weeks. These seedlings are 14 days old and they look like they could be maybe 8-10 days old. I will post 2 images. These two seedlings sit side by side. One seedling looks relatively healthy (albeit slow growth), and the other almost looks sick. I typically water them once in the morning and once at night. With that said, I wait for the medium to dry out before I water the second time. It is typically dry up to a knuckle deep before watering again, which is the recommendation I see on other forums. I have been online for hours and I cannot figure out if I am overwatering or underwatering. I have not begun to feed the plants with nutrients as I am told that Fox Farm Ocean Forest should carry the plant to the 3rd or 4th week.

Please note that I PH my water between 6.0 - 6.5 with a General Hydroponics PH Solution.

Additionally, I do have an Inline Duct Fan with ducting to ventilate the grow tent - as well as a 4" fan very gently blowing on the seedlings.

Strain: White Widow Feminized Autoflowering Seeds from ILGM
Pots: 2 Gallon Fabric Pots
Soil: Fox Farm Ocean Forest
Temp: 72 Degrees Fahrenheit
RH: 40-50% (it is very dry and cold where I am located so humidity is difficult to keep up even with humidifier)
Tent: 3x3
Light: BLOOMSPECT SL1000 LED (height and dimness set per manufacturer recommendations)

Note: You can’t really tell in the images but the darker seedling has MUCH skinnier leaves and is very wimpy compared to the brighter green seedling.

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I’ve been considering everything that you have posted. The above quote may hold the answer to why your girls haven’t grown much. You say you have been watering twice a day and also wait until soil is dry knuckle deep. It’s possible that you were over watering while they were seedlings.For the first week or 10 days you should if possible keep your humidity in grow space up around 60-70% and even higher if possible. Also try to keep temperature up to 75 or higher ,I know that’s easier said than done. For the first week or longer essentially there isn’t any roots, so the seedlings will absorb moisture from the humidity in grow space. At this point some roots should have developed enough to water in a circle around seedlings. You will want to slowly pour water around seedlings, not directly on stem base. Don’t soak all the soil, just around plant. Once you see some growth, increase amount of water.

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I appreciate the thoughtful response. I would like to give you some more detail. When I was watering once in the morning, and once at night - I would fully saturate the medium. I would water near the stem but then completely soak the area around the stem using a Vivosun Pressure sprayer. I thought that soaking the medium around the seedling would promote root growth because I read that the roots would expand in search for water. I was very careful not to hit the seedling directly and I was spraying very gently. Again though, I would completely soak the soil. I thought maybe I was underwatering (as silly as that sounds), so I watered the seedling again last night. This is what it looks like today…even sadder…

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With all that said, I was concerned still that they might be drying out. The reason I felt this way is because the RH has completely dropped here in the midwest over the last week. Without the humidifier, the RH is at around 20% or less. With the humidifier I can only get it up to around 40-50%. Anyway, thanks again for taking the time to look at this.

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Based on that picture, the soil looks really dry. So the drooping may be from being to dry. Go ahead and water with a container, not sprayer. Again you don’t want to saturate entire pot, but I would pour water slowly around plant. You want a slow movement when going around, saturate all the way around. Then wait at least 24 hours and see if the area watered has started to dry out.

Sounds like a plan. To be clear, I shouldn’t be adding any water directly at the base of the stem? I always fear that if I don’t, the seedling wont get any of the water.

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If you pour slowly it will start to saturate around stem. Then as you pointed out, the established roots will seek out the available water. If water directly onto stem then roots won’t have any purpose to grow and seek moisture.

Go in a slow circle, moisture will spread out towards stem.

So here is a picture before I watered the dark green seedling and a picture of after I watered the seedling you just posted.

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:+1::100: I believe your girls will be fine. Once they get to second or third set of leaves you can increase water amount.

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Thank you very much for your assistance with this. I will continue to follow this method and keep you posted on their status!

I just discovered something new. I ordered a XLUX Soil Meter and it arrived this afternoon. I probed my soil with it and it read “Dry” almost everywhere that I inserted it. On top of that, when I pulled the meter back up I noticed that some really dry soil came up with it. It’s almost like the whole fabric pot is dry inside but wet on the top. Again, I use FFOF. Is this something you’ve encountered?

Also, I was wondering if maybe they are running out of nutrients. I have not given them any yet and it is now day 15. Do I need to begin feeding them? Perhaps they are hungry. I have a General Hydroponics 3 part kit (bloom, micro, gro). Should I try feeding them?

So like posts above you where probably over watering, and you DO NOT want to water directly on stem you want your roots to reach out and grow and establish themselves, also you said in FFOF soil no need for nutes right now, that’s probably the reason you have spots if you planted in straight FFOF a with nothing else the soil is to HOT for seedling, should have mixed in some perlite to help with drainage, and FFHF cause straight FFOF can not always but can be to much for the little girls. I hope they turn around and you have the best of luck

Thank you for the response! I believe that my seedlings are in soil that is now hydrophobic. I probed with a soil meter after watering and my plants were dry in the center. When I pulled the probe up dry soil came up with it. I continued to probe around and it was dry, dry, dry. Small amounts of water just runoff to the bottom.

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Great news everyone! I couldn’t figure out how to edit this post so I am just replying to my original post. After receiving my Soil Moisture Meter, I probed the soil and discovered that it was BONE DRY below the surface. Even after a good watering with runoff. I did some research and discovered that my soil was hydrophobic. I gave it a good watering every 10-15 minutes for about 5 or 6 cycles. I probed my soil in the morning and it was nice and saturated…and guess what? My little girls leaves are starting to lift themselves back up! These seedlings were severely UNDER watered See the before and after below.

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Thank you all for your help!

Hi Bulldognuts. I wanted to hop on here and give you an update. My girls are growing beautifully and look healthier than ever.