TICKET - Golden Leaf leaves going bad

Strain: Golden Leaf (fem)

Indoor or Outdoor? Indoor

Size of space: 2’x2’

Soil or Hydro? Soil

Medium used: Started with 100% outdoor topsoil from river bottom corn field; recently transplanted to mix of roughly 40% store bought topsoil, 35% perlite, and 25% regular (NOT time-released) MiracleGro potting soil in 5 gallon bucket

PH: Averaging 6-7

EC/TDS ppm levels: ?

Temperature: 85-90 degrees F

Humidity %: 45-50%

Light system/watts? MarsHydro 300W (140W true), 85W (true) CFL supplemental.

I started this in soil from my cornfield before I found this forum and learned that you shouldn’t use outdoor soil! A forum member saw a pic I posted and suggested I add perlite, so I added about a quarter bag, but not nearly enough in retrospect.

It grew several nodes over the next weeks, but never grew UP, and around the end of the 2nd week from seed, it started developing yellowing leaves and brown spots near the bottom. In the middle of week 3, I transplanted it into a new mix of approximately (guessing on numbers) 40:35:20 of store bought topsoil-perlite-MiracleGro:

The only nutrients I’ve given it were a 25% of recommended dosage of MG fertilizer with a 24-8-16 NPK value (note: I gave same mix to White Widow auto in same tent that is thriving in same mix of store topsoil, perlite, and MG):

The other problem, besides leaves going bad, is stunted growth. At 4 weeks, it’s still only about 3" tall! I attributed this to the dense outdoor soil trapping the roots, that’s why I transplanted. It’s only been in the new soil a few days, and appears to continue leafing, but the bottom leaves are getting worse, and I’m wondering if this will affect new growth. Today, I added a calcium-magnesium supplement, to see if that would help:

I’ll upload pics and dates in a follow up post . . .

Soaked June 13th, germinated in peat pellet the 14th, this is first transplant into 5 gallon bucket the 17th:

And after I added perlite:

June 23rd, I sprinkled diatomaceous earth around, seems to be doing okay:

June 25th, starting some good leaf growth, but not growing taller:

July 1st:

July 3rd:

July 6th, this is when I first noticed the brown spots, and became concerned about the short growth, because my WW right next to it just exploded with growth. There’s an electric plug next to one pic to give an idea of size, the other two are after I transplanted to the new soil (same day):

July 8th:

July 9th:

July 10th:

July 11th (added CalMag today):

That’s where I’m at, it’s still just 3 inches tall! To give you some comparison, this is a WW auto (with LST) that is growing right next to it with same water/nute schedule and same plant date. And they now have the same soil mix:

Can I save this lovely little lady and bring her the joy of motherhood as a cloner someday? :slight_smile:

P.S. When I transplanted, I wanted to get rid of as much of the old soil as I could, so I tried to break off as much of it as I could without breaking it away from the roots and exposing them, so I’m sure this is partly due to stress.

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Yes you can by gettingh it out of that soil A S A P and put her in neutral soil.
The soil you have her in now is burning her up.

If you don’t …well. She history.



That IS the new soil! The yellowing and spots started in the old soil, and started getting a lot worse over the next few days. But so far, none of the new growth in the new soil is showing bad signs. If it was bad soil/pH/nutes, wouldn’t the new growth in the new soil be affected?

Also, I have 2 WWs thriving in the exact same mix as the new soil. The old soil is the only thing that’s changed or is different, and that still doesn’t account for the stunted growth, because the yellowing/spots didn’t show up until the 3rd week.

OK …are you feeding her any nutrients ?


also check your p h level at the run off the next time you water only !


OK …I got it figured out here is your problem.

Nutrient Burn is one of the MOST common mistakes a new grower makes, reason for this is, because a newer grower will use a chemical nutrient most of the time and listen to the directions on the box. This is a NO NO! Depending on the age of the plant, size, strain and soil mixture you are using also has a factor. There is no set guideline when using nutrients, but I can give you a good example to start out with so you will not burn your plants. It’s always good to start out light, rather than feed heavy. Remember you can always add more later, but can not take out when you added to much. Chemical and Organic nutrients differ. Chemical nutrients are more readily available and can burn way easier than organics can. Organics are easier for a newer grower to use, most of the time, and lessen your chances of burning your plants.
I recommend not using more than ½ teaspoon of chemical nutrients per gallon of water. Unless the plants are very big 5 feet+, then it’s safe to use 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. When your plants first emerge you want to wait at least 2 weeks before feeding your plants, unless your plants are in a soiless mixture, like pro mix. The cotyledons (its first set of round looking leaves) are what give the plant its food until they get the first 2 or 3 sets of leaves. If your plants are in a soiless mixture and are over the first week of age; you can feed a weak amount of nutrients, like ¼ teaspoon per gallon of water. Soiless mixtures are different from soil plants and soiless plants need to be fed more when using this mixture.

I also recommend not feeding more than 1 time a week if using ½ teaspoon per gallon of water for chemical nutrients. You can feed every other day,( this goes for chemical and organics) at very weak amounts, but doing this may contribute to over watering, and for that I do not recommend feeding more than once a week. Some people feed 2 times a week using like ¼ teaspoon per gallon of water… Use 1/4 strength for first feeding and then go up to 1/2 strength from the 2nd feeding when using chemical nutrients. It’s very easy to overdo it. When using organics, depending on which one you’re using, I recommend using 1 teaspoon per gallon of water. When the plant gets bigger you can work your way up to using more nutrients when the plants get bigger.

As for soil mixtures, there are a lot of different kinds of soil’s out there. Using a rich soil mixture is not recommended for seedlings. Seedlings that are under 2 weeks of age you do not want to start them in rich soil, using a seed starter mixture is one of the safer ways. Seed starter mixtures are weak in nutrients, so it will not burn the seedlings but will provide them enough to get past seedling stage, but the downside is you have to transplant into a better soil mixture after 2 weeks of age. If you decide to start with this mixture, do not put your seedlings into a big pot. Start them out with using a cup or a small pot.

Nutrient Burn causes leaf tips to appear yellow or burnt. They can also be brown and twisted and crispy looking. Depending on the severity it can show many different symptoms and shows on lower part of the plant when its young, at older stages it can move anywhere on the plant.

To fix the problem when you have Nutrient burn, you want to flush out the plants with lots of water.


Soil should be flushed with lots of water, Use 3 gallons of water per one gallon of soil. Flush very thoroughly, after plant recovers usually after a week, you can resume using nutrients after a week or a week 1/2. When you flush your soil, you flush everything out, a lot of nutrients go with it, including the soil nutrients.
I use 1/4 strength nutrients.

Hope this helps



I appreciate the reply, but I seriously doubt this is nutrient burn. The whole point of me writing TICKET in the subject is because I thought that’s how you got someone at ILGM to provide an official “customer support” response. That’s why I filled out the form and laid out the chronology with pictures.

If anything, everything I’ve read suggests N or P deficiency, or maybe fungus gnats. I don’t know, but she’s dying, and if I don’t hear from official customer support soon with a diagnosis, I’m just gonna give her some bloom fert for heavy P (it looks a lot like the pics for that, big brown spots and yellowing leaves) and more reg ferts for N. Nutrient burn shows the tips yellowing first, and that is NOT what happened. It makes sense that there’s no NPK in the new soil (very little), so the top leaves stay green because they’re pulling it from the bottom leaves. It does seem like it’s working it’s way up the plant.

It wouldn’t bother me so much if Golden Leaf seeds weren’t so damned expensive!

Okay, I am not ILGM Support, I am sure @MacGyverStoner or @latewood would help you, but again they are going to point out the same things as most everyone else. I noticed the Temperature: 85-90 degrees F… I found that Gold Leaf doesn’t like to be above 84-degrees, and believe it or not I read that to high of temps or to high of humidity can lock out some nutrients, back when I had an issue myself, I changed my temps and humidity to bring them in range and the problem solved itself, so who am I to argue, but with CO2 added to the environment then run 84-degrees, but without it, high 70’s is what Gold Leaf likes, 76-78 F I found best.

Another thing you may look at, is your nutrient line… I myself am not a fan of Miracle Grow because I did a lot of reading on fertilizers to learn all kinds of stuff. You may find that another fertilizer brand might help your plants do better, I had an experience with some different fertilizer brands where the results where so noticeable in 7-days it was understandably hard to believe. Different strains will like different things I’ve experienced, some like nutes stronger or weaker or a different ratio of things… There is no single answer to fix your problem and all anyone can do is try to help you figure it out yourself… there is a learning curve to this, and its different for everyone.

You can relax your plants won’t die in 24-hours… and yes every one of us goes through that feeling any time our plant has the slightest issue, but even after you make the change you may not see any change for 7-days…

The reason I never thought it was nutrient burn is because I used a 25% recommended mix, and applied the exact same mix to this, and 4 other WW with no problems. And the plant went on another week after the first application with no signs of distress.

The main reason I transplanted was because it was so short (3"). I don’t understand how it could keep growing so many nodes and leaves, but not grow UP at all. It’s like it hit 3" at week 2 and just stopped.

Also, the fact that it went bad so fast after transplant into what I thought was a much better soil mix. I was sure it had to do with maybe me cutting some roots when I transplanted. It just seems too coincidental that it happened then, all of a sudden, when all other factors have been equal for all my plants for the previous 3 weeks.

I can only knock the temps down about 5 degrees if I kill all the CFL supplemental light (which I did). The pH is 6, and the only nutes I’ve added since transplant are CalMag.

SO! I’m gonna feed it some P for now, that’s what it looks most like on the diagnosis pics I’ve seen (large blotchy brown spots, yellowing leaves that works from bottom to top as new growth sucks it from the bottom leaves).

I’m just afraid of doing the wrong thing! But hey, I guess that’s how you learn best, right?!

Thanks to both for your detailed responses, they both helped me narrow down the potential problem. And I may never know what it really was. Time will tell . . .

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I suspect it was off to a bad start and the transplant knocked it back even further

I’m not sure if it will survive or not but if it’s that stunted I would cull it from my garden

Best of luck whatever you decide

I was thinking about just switching it over to a 12/12 and see what happens. The others in the tent are autos, so I guess it wouldn’t hurt. I was desperately thinking maybe the ILGM guys would see it and say, oh yeah, common problem, see it all the time, just do X, Y, and Z, and she’ll be fine in a week!

I read that you can hardly ever go wrong adding P, because they LOVE it, so after the CalMag yesterday (hoped that would help balance pH, and coincidence or not, it dropped from 7 to 6), I gave it just a splash (maybe half a cup?) of a 10-54-10 mix. The soil is very moist from the (plain) water from the transplant, but the humidity is 50%, so I think that’s good.


Oh, and I still think @ktreez420 was right when he caught me at germination with the outside soil being too dense and compacted, and not allowing for good root growth. I had originally intended to transplant it outdoors, and thought (this is all BEFORE I found this forum!) I should keep it in the same soil.

But in hindsight, it makes sense (beginner though I am!) that the leaves and nodes continued to grow, but the lack of a good root structure affected height. And who knows, maybe there was some bug or disease already in the soil that had a negative impact.

Oh, and @pigSquishy, the original soil DID come from a corn field that’s been treated with chemicals and had treated corn seeds since about the mid-70s, so who knows how chemical buildup could’ve affected the soil?

sigh - 2 losses from my first 7 seeds, actually not that bad for a beginner!

This forum is like Pot Grow University! Thanks again for all the feedback, I’ll update progress as she goes . . . :wink:

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The support ticket, was provided to members in order for experienced members on the forum to be able to give an educated reply to new growers issues. It does not mean that ILGM officials will address your post. Generally, we try to but, that is a misunderstanding on your part.

The members that are helping you are good mentors. Some of them learned from us and others already knew what they were doing when they joined ILGM.

If you feel you need dedicated support from Our re3sident grow experts; You can subscribe to Bergmans Lab. there you will get replies from Staff experts within 24-48 hours guaranteed. I personally try to check the Labs at least once or 2wice a day.

Hope this clarifies things for you. Happy growing


I think you missed my point entirely… let me put this to you in another way… I have been going to RAW Nutrients made by NPK Industries, and if you go check out Harley Smith’s Grow Class over on YouTube which is a total of like 1:30 hours long… He will educate you about the nutrients and what they do and when you might consider using them, hence the comment “different fertilizer brands”.

As far as corn fields go, I live in a corn State, I have it growing on all four sides of me, yes I do know something about it, soil compaction, and even the salinity of the soil which is affecting farmers so bad. Plus you do not want to get me started on Monsanto’s Roundup Ready Field and Sweet Corns, GMO’s, and so on… so yes I do know a few things on these subjects.

Humic Acid & Kelp would stimulate more rapid root growth and if you added some Yucca Root with that you would encourage even more root branching and if you sprayed your foliage with it that would explode laterally as well. I hate plastic because of the leeching of chemicals and hormones which is why Food Safe plastics are so important and why I stay away from plastic pots because the UV light breaks plastics down and the chemicals and stuff leech into the soil over time. So even if you switched over to a fabric pot your soil would dry out better and you’d reduce the chances for molds, bacteria and other issues which over time can crop up.

Most importantly I would lower your temps, and water from the bottom of the pot, when the soil compacts it has to do with the nutrients and things within the soil having been used up and broken down. Have you ever looked at a No-Till garden, there are plenty of ways to deal with soil compaction.High temps also seem to tend to the hardening of the surface of the soil as well.

Thanks, yes, I did misunderstand! I may have found the form on an old post, but thought it was a “customer support ticket.” Thanks for clarifying.