First Time Grower; Need Help Diagnosing

This plant started as a seed which turned up in an 8th of some dispensary flower called “THC Bomb.” At the time, I had zero equipment and did not expect the seed to germinate, honestly. I used the wet paper towel in a ziplock method and it sprouted. All I had was some basic potting soil and a coffee mug, so I planted it in there and just watered it straight from the tap. Our house only has 2 windows that get any sun and not much of it, so I put it on the sill of one of those. Due to the lower sun exposure, the sprout grew too tall and tipped over, so I used a plastic fork to support it upright until the stalk was strong enough to hold its own weight. The plant never showed any ill signs before being moved into the tent setup.

Despite the less than ideal conditions, the plant seemed to want to grow and this inspired me to research and dive into the rabbit hole. I ordered everything I’d need including 4x2 tent, carbon filter and vent systems, circulatory fans, LED grow light, humidifier, dehumidifier, AC for the room, 3gal fabric pots, pot elevators, drain trays, and all the other little things (sensors, meters, ph up/down, mist bottle, etc). Due to the pandemic and delayed shipping and product supply, the fabric pots were delayed by about a week or so. I had already moved the plant in its coffee cup into the grow tent for better circulation and light when that all arrived. I think this was a mistake doing this as I hadn’t realized the plant had become root bound in the coffee cup (I learned this upon transplanting). This is when the plant first started showing signs of being unhappy, I think I couldn’t keep up with getting it enough water to keep up with the new 18 hours of consistent light it was receiving as compared to the window it had been in prior. Plus I was/am also learning as I go via Google prior to making this post, here.

The fabric pots finally arrived so it was transplant day. I opted for the super soil approach and mixed my own blend of 1/3 Fox Farm Ocean Forest, 1/3 Fox Farm Coco Loco and 1/3 Lava Rock. I also added Down to Earth Organic Vegetable Garden Fertilizer 4-4-4 blended in as per it’s directions, as well as Mycorrhizal Inoculant by Dynomyco again as per it’s directions. I transplanted the coffee mug plant into one of the 3gal fabric pots filled with this super soil blend. I also sprinkled a little extra Dynomyco into the transplant hole to help the roots. I was first watering with distilled water and not checking PH; I didn’t know I still needed to check PH with distilled water. Some of the leaves on the plant started yellowing and a few turned brown. I learned I needed to check the PH of my water, soil and runoff. When I checked this, my soil was at 7.0, runoff was at 5.9-6.0 and the water I was watering with was at 5.6. I began PH’ing my water to 6.3-6.5, soil is now at 6.5. The yellowing seemed to turn back to green for the most part.

I was basically trying to let the nutrients exist in the soil and just use water. I’ve now been keeping it ph’d in a happy range for about the last 2 gallons of watering. Now, I have direct to brown happening, no yellow first and it’s starting in the middle of the leaves, for the most part. Some of the older small leaves near the bottom that were yellow went brown instead of getting better. This new browning issue is random, only some leaves have it, yet leaves directly next to those are fine and new growth looks happy. As far as watering schedule, basically twice a week. I let the soil go dry if I stick my finger in at the top. I water until it runs out the bottom of the fabric pot. Here’s pics taken just now:

As I said, this is my first time and hoping to learn how to translate what my plant is telling me I need to change! I have some White Widow and Black Widow seeds on deck to do next; was treating this plant as my learning experience, especially since I wasn’t able to start it in the tent from the get go. Appreciate any and all help!


Low PPM water like distilled does not need to be adjusted for PH: there is no potential hydrogen in distilled so whatever reading you get with either PH or TDS meter is incorrect under 100 ppm. Just FYI.

How about a fresh set of pictures without the blurple? Can’t see a thing. Also; exactly what light are you using and how far away?


You got a green thumb, and did your diligence. Give it some time, you won’t be buying anymore. As Myfriend mentioned, light specs and natural light pics.


So I don’t need to PH distilled water at all, then? How do I control PH of the soil without PH’ing the water? It seems what I’ve read has misinformed me. Glad to be getting some help! Should I be using distilled water with the approach that my nutrients are meant to already be in the soil? My goal was to have the most streamlined grow process as close to just watering as possible.

Here are fresh photos without the Blurple, sorry for that.

I am using a Phlizon 1200w LED light and thus far have only had the veg switch on as opposed to veg + bloom, here is a link: Phlizon 1200w LED Grow Light

In my 3rd photo in my original post (first photo of the tent setup) you can see the height the light was at originally. I began to suspect light burn, so about 2 weeks ago, I re-mounted the light so I could get it higher in the tent. Here is where it is currently:

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Thanks, Zee. I’m an engineer for a living so this new hobby really appeals to me. Admittedly, it’s already presenting to be more difficult than I expected to keep the plant totally happy.

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I should also mention, between earlier today taking the photos with the blurple to these fresh photos without it, I trimmed off the majority of the smaller more predominantly brown leaves from the lower portion of the plant.

These might be of use to you!

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Thanks, Riley! Appreciate you sharing. I actually have these, a friend shared them with me. I can’t fully tell what’s going on because it may be that I have more than one issue as to where the brown is presenting? Also the specific middle browning I couldn’t seem to trace precisely on those charts. But I didn’t know if it could be the same issue causing the middles on some and some others on the tips, or what…I figured to best ask people with more experience so I can learn!

I’m thinking it could be nutrient burn, calcium deficiency, light burn…I’m not really sure, though!

I don’t have much info other than those pictures I’m currently on my very first grow as well. Im about 4 weeks in veg right now. Thinking of flipping to 12/12 tomorrow actually… I’m using hydro and the only issue I’ve had was early on I put my plants in before my Cal-mag arrived and they started showing brown spots on the leaves… fast fix as soon as my FedEx driver decided to show up, smooth sailing from there!

You can’t. Soil will overdrive distilled water because there’s nothing in it. Changing the PH of an aqueous solution becomes harder and harder the stronger the solution concentration. Once you add something like cal mag then you can PH but until you add something, any reading you get will, by definition, be incorrect.

Looks like a mild calcium deficiency. Cal mag or the addition of some gypsum if trying to remain organic.


Yep, looks like you need some calmag. You can’t ph distilled water by itself as Myfriendis410 said, either add nutes or calmag or add some tap water (1/4 of total water) then you can ph.


I ordered some cal mag which will be here tomorrow, thank you!

So am I approaching this in a good way; to let the nutes exist in the soil and just water with distilled? Should I be using water that I can PH? This is all totally new to me, and I thought I had done my due diligence on researching prior and taking this path but it’s not going as smoothly as I had expected.

I noticed now today, leaves are discoloring to light green and yellow in some places:

Again this is random all over, like the direct browning. Is this also related to the lack of Calcium?

Start using the cal mag and watch new growth. A lot of what I’m seeing is just a plant growing. But you are doing right to keep an eye on it.

Distilled water has no solids so there is no “PH” (potential hydrogen) to affect anything. Meters measure electrical conductivity and become unreliable when there are no conductors in water.

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Started with the cal mag today. Sorry if I’m being overly worrisome, just don’t want to fail and would like to catch any problems as early as possible. Appreciate the help and guidance! Is it wise to now trim those leaves which have developed the browning or should I let the plan drop them on its own?

I understand the theory now behind “PH’ing” water. So I guess my question is with this approach I am taking intending for the nutes to exist naturally in the medium, is it better to use distilled water or a different water such as tap or spring and to then PH that water? Just wondering if using distilled with this approach is what’s actually best. After adding the cal mag, I ph’d to 6.5. Should I just keep using the cal mag with the distilled and PH that?

Sorry for all the questions, just want to take the best approach. Thank you again for the help!

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Keeping the proper ph is the most important of all. With improper ph the plant will show deficiencies which will have you adding more nutes to a soil that already has the nutrients.
Wrong ph causes a lockout making the plant unable to absorb the nutrients it has available.
You stated the ph was at 7 and you just fixed it, so be sure to check regularly and maintain a proper ph .

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Thanks for that. I’ve learned about the pH, but if keeping the soil the proper ph is most important and you can’t ph distilled water, what’s the best course of action?

I don’t want to keep repeating the same questions I’ve already asked but they haven’t been answered directly…

With this approach I am taking intending for the nutes to exist naturally in the medium, is it better to use distilled water or a different water such as tap or spring and to then PH that water? Just wondering if using distilled with this approach is what’s actually best. After adding the cal mag, I ph’d to 6.5. Should I just keep using the cal mag with the distilled and PH that? If using distilled, how do you ensure the soil PH remains in the right range?

My goal ultimately is to only have to water the plants. Thanks again!

Any water that is under 100 ppm does not require adjustment. It will instantly adopt the PH of whatever substrate you are delivering that water to. If you add anything you will have to PH.

You should have a TDS meter too for monitoring the soil conditions.


Thanks again for all the help!!

Yes I understand that, I guess I’m asking then if it’s best to use distilled, or a different water which CAN be adjusted (Tap, or spring?), or as a third option the distilled with cal mag and then ph’d? Or in other words, if I keep using distilled, how do I control the PH of the soil?

I have a TDS meter but when I decided to use distilled, I haven’t reached for it. So I should check the TDS of my soil runoff when watering? What should I be looking for?

Overall, just not sure what the best watering approach is when doing it the way I am, with the nutes intended to exist in the soil already. Thanks again!

The potential hydrogen of soil mass outweighs just about anything in liquid form you could add that wouldn’t kill the plant. It’s like using a feather to push an anvil. More solids in the water and the better it’s able to affect other media. The disadvantage of distilled is it’s so pure that it can scavenge nutrients from a plant if it’s in a soilless type media.

If you want to affect PH you use something that will actually work. If trying to bring it up; dolomite lime, top-dressed into top of soil layer.

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Thank you again! The plant has really perked up and grown massively over the past few days since adding the cal mag. There’s still some significant yellow spots here and there as I showed you in the pictures. That’s normal?

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