While you can easily watch the leaves of your cannabis plant sprout and grow strong, there’s a lot more happening underneath the soil that you’ll likely never see. Just like all other plants out there, your cannabis has quite a complex rooting system hiding underneath all those buds. For your plant to grow potent and healthy, it requires more than just healthy buds: you need healthy cannabis roots, too.
However, spotting healthy cannabis plants versus healthy cannabis roots is a completely different experience. Today, we’re talking all about spotting healthy roots, keeping roots healthy, and fixing some common root problems.
Looking Out For Healthy Roots: What to Spot
First thing’s first, how do you even know when you have healthy cannabis roots? The easiest way of spotting healthy cannabis roots is the color. Your plant’s roots should be a milky white color throughout. On the opposite end, sick, unhealthy cannabis roots are going to look brown and quite discolored, making an obvious juxtaposition between healthy and not.
Another great way of spotting healthy roots is the smell. A happy, healthy cannabis plant’s roots aren’t going to smell whatsoever. If anything, you’ll just pick up on the earthy, herbal notes from your plant. Unhealthy roots, however, are a different story. With just a whiff, you should be able to pick up a pungent, rotten smell at the base of your cannabis plant. That, plus a little slime, is a huge warning sign that your plants do not have healthy roots and, therefore, aren’t healthy plants.
But, if you take a look and don’t notice any funky smells, weird textures, or brown discoloration, you’re likely staring at a happy cannabis plant with thriving roots.
Keeping Your Roots Healthy
Achieving healthy roots is just one step; keeping your roots healthy is a whole different story. If you didn’t already know, cannabis plants breathe through their roots. This is why planting your seeds in proper potting is so crucial: without enough space to breathe, your cannabis’ roots will become overwhelmed and not be able to respire the way they need to to survive. Oxygen and space are key to keeping your roots healthy.
If you’re worried about the potting systems you use for your plants, try opting for more breathable materials. Fabric planters, for example, are designed specifically to help provide more airflow for your plants.
Another huge factor to keep in mind when caring for your plants is temperature. Inconsistent or extreme temperatures can seriously damage your plant’s rooting which, subsequently, will harm your crop as well. Typically, you want to make sure you’re keeping your plants around 70 to 75°F. Make sure you have proper temperature measuring tools to ensure that you can keep a close eye on these levels. Even basic thermometers will do the trick! As long as you’re constantly measuring these types of environmental factors, your roots are much more likely to stay healthy.
Finally, proper watering and nutrients are the last major steps in ensuring your cannabis thrives. If your roots receive the right amount of water and the right amount of nutrients, they’re on their way to being perfect, potent plants. Do keep in mind that too much water and nutrients can be just as detrimental as too little, so don’t try giving your plants more than what they need. This may take a little bit of practice, but, we promise, you’ll find that perfect balance.
Common Root Problems & How to Fix Them
Like most cannabis growers, you’re going to run into a few problems here and there. While some issues with cannabis cultivation can’t be fixed, some of them can with proper care, attention, and a little bit of love.
As we briefly mentioned above, overwatering and over-nourishing your plants is quite a common problem. Most new growers who have yet to find the right balance of water and nutrients struggle with over-nourishing. As long as you catch this before it’s too late, this can easily be fixed with proper adjustment of feeding/watering. For the water, make sure that your plant’s topsoil looks and feels dry to the touch. This is the biggest sign that it’s ready for more water; don’t give it any more if the ground is still slightly moist.
Pests and bacteria can also pose huge problems for your cannabis plant roots. Specifically, many growers find themselves face-to-face with fungus gnats. These small bugs, though harmless if just a few, can seriously harm your plants when in large numbers. They quite literally feed off your cannabis plant, so letting them linger is only causing damage. To get rid of these pests, you first must treat your plants themselves to kill all larvae or lingering bugs. Then, investing in fly traps may be your best option.
Finally, the biggest (and most common) problem that cannabis cultivators may face with their roots is root rot. Yes, this the unfortunate circumstance where your cannabis plant’s roots have become so overwhelmed with bacteria or moisture that they simply start to rot away. This will cause your plants to look unhealthy, slowly wilting and yellowing instead of flourishing. If this happens to your cannabis, the best thing to do is immediately transfer it to a cleaner, sterilized pot. If you cannot do this because of your growing medium, you must instead sterilize your whole system and closely monitor your plant for weeks.
We know, we know: this all sounds a bit intense, but we promise that it isn’t. Most of these problems are easily treated and come just as rookie mistakes. With practice and more experience, problems like these are much less likely to occur.
Now that you know all about healthy cannabis roots, how to spot them, and how to help them if needed, it’s time to start growing. The roots of your cannabis plants are, quite literally, the system that holds the plant together, keeping it growing healthy and strong. Without happy roots, there’s no way you can have a healthy, potent plant.
Remember: just because you can’t see the roots, doesn’t mean they’re not there. Make sure you dedicate adequate time to root health as you do to the rest of the plant; with this, your cannabis is sure to thrive.