Root Rot

Root RotIn hydroponics root rot is often attributed to poor aeration. When your system is not being properly aerated there is plenty of opportunity for bad bacteria and fungi to grow and take the oxygen out of the water and away from the root system.

Since root rot can become a problem quickly it is a good idea to check your roots ( to make sure they are nice and white) and hydroponic system (reservoir, pumps, air stones, and tubing) regularly for things such as foam, slime build up, murky water, discolored or stinky roots.

In dirt root rot will occur when the plant has been continually over watered, as we talked about in a previous entry, when roots are cut off from their oxygen source the root suffocates and dies. Since examining your roots in dirt is nearly impossible you are going to have to pay close attention to your plant’s leaves. If your leaves are looking discolored, have large brown spots on them or are curling and you have already ruled out nutrient deficiency and watering problems then there is a strong possibility that you are having root problems.


How to win the root rot war!
If you find that you are dealing with root rot in your system the first thing you need to do is drain the system and thoroughly clean the reservoir and pumps with an H2O2 solution of 5ml per gallon. I would also recommend replacing all tubing and air stones as it can be very difficult to completely clean these small parts. Next Refill the system with just water and H2O2 and run your system with your plants, to give both the plants and the system a good final rinse. When refilling your reservoir with nutrients you need to decide how you want to go about ending the war; meaning do you want to go nuclear or biological.

Should you choose to go “nuclear”: when mixing up your fresh batch of nutrients you are going to add one of the following products as directed on the bottle:


Physan 20

Down Under HF

*Please note that if you are choosing this route you will not be able to introduce beneficial’s, as these products with kill them.


The Biological Route: If launching an all-out nuclear attack seems a little crazy to you, or you just like the benefits from the good bacteria and fungi then this is choice for you. When mixing up your fresh batch of nutrients you are going to add 1 or more of the following products ( our knowledgeable staff will help you decide which of these products you should use based on your system)

  • Piranha
  • Tarantula
  • Microbe Brew
  • Great white

It is also a good idea to give your plant Hygrozyme or Senizym to help keep the root zone free of any dead root material. Some other things to consider adding to help your plants recover faster are B Vitamins (B-52, Organic B-1, Super thrive, Thrive Alive) a silica ( Rhino Skin, Pro-Tekt, Silica Blast) and something to help boost its immune system

Leaf Spotting

The leaves are a good indicator to the overall health of your plant. Everyone always likes to see big green healthy leaves on theirs plants, but what is your plant telling you when the leaves start to yellow, spot or even curl?

Nutrient deficiencies are a common culprit for leaf spotting; here we are going to talk about how identify and treat some of the most common nutrient deficiencies.



Nitrogen is possibly the most common of deficiencies. Plants require nitrogen, especially during the vegetative growth stage. Nitrogen helps the plants ability to regulate and make proteins, amino acids, enzymes and other essentials that are responsible for overall plant growth.

So, how do you know if your plant is lacking nitrogen?

Your plant may seem to have a reduced growth rate and the lower leaves will start to yellow because they are unable to produce chlorophyll. The yellowing will start between the veins, making the leaf yellow while the actual vein remains green, and gradually move through the whole leaf eventually causing the leaf to die. If the deficiency continues the yellowing will start to move upward eventually leading to yellowing of all foliage.

What causes this?

Nitrogen is easily washed away and needs to be replenished often

To fix the problem just add in a nitrogen rich product!

Such as Seabird guano, bone meal and fish emulsions


Is your plant getting too much?

While nitrogen is an essential element for your plant there is a chance it’s getting too much. When your plant gets too much nitrogen it weakens its immune system leaving your plant more susceptible to insects and fungi. Signs of high nitrogen include exceptionally lush green leaves and weakened stems small or wispy flowers and slow root development.

To fix the problem… Give your plant a good flush!

Be sure to flush your affected plants with at least three times the amount of water as the container. (Example if you have a 3 gallon pot you need to run 9 gallons of water through it!)



Phosphorus is super important for your plant! Phosphorus is necessary for photosynthesis to take place and helps in the transferring of energy throughout the plant.

So… Is your plant getting enough?

If your plant is lacking in phosphorus leaves may seem to have a dark bluish green color to them, there may be dark spots on the leaves the plant may have a delayed or stunted growth, flowers are smaller, in older leaves the tips could turn brown or black and curl downward. In advanced deficiencies the leaves can have bronze or purple blotching which can lead to leaf death.


What causes this?

Phosphorus deficiencies often occur when there is too much iron or zinc in the soil/water, the pH is above 7 so it is unable to be absorbed or the medium is too acidic (below 5.8).

To fix this… make sure the pH is between 5.7- and 6.2. When amending a soil be sure to add phosphorus rich additives such as bat guano or steamed bone meal.


Is your plant getting too much?

If there is an excess of phosphorus your plant will not be able to properly uptake iron, zinc, calcium copper and magnesium, and will show signs of those deficiencies, Calcium and magnesium being the most common.

To Fix this problem… Just give your plant a good flush!





A higher level of potassium helps your plant fight against molds and bacterias and is an important element throughout the life of the plant.  Potassium helps plants be able to combine sugars, carbohydrates and starches to move and produce them. It also increases the amount of chlorophyll and foliage, regulates the opening of the stomata and makes the proteins necessary to aid in oil production that increases flavors in some plants.

So… is your plant getting enough?

Signs of absent potassium include: older leaves, starting with the tips and gradually moving through the whole leaf, getting spots that turn dark yellow and dying, other leaves will have a graying at the margin which will progress to a rusty brown, leading to leaf death. There may also be a weakening of the stems.

What causes this?

A high salinity lock out of potassium in the medium

To fix the problem… potash can be added along with other suppliments containing potassium and sure you are using a complete nutrient(s)


Is your plant getting too much?

It’s hard to tell if your plant is getting too much potassium but looks for signs of a deficiency in magnesium, manganese zinc or iron.

To Fix this… Give a good flush




Magnesium is used in plants for the absorption of light energy and aids enzymes make carbohydrates and sugars that are later used in flower production. Calcium is essential for the growth and production of cells; and helps to ensure the preservation of the cell membrane permeability. Magnesium deficiencies are somewhat common indoors.

So is your plant lacking?

If your plants are not getting enough magnesium they will start to develop brown spotting on the leaf tips and margins, between darker green veins there will be some yellowing as the deficiency progresses the leaf tips will turn brown, curl upward and eventually die. In severe cases the whole plant could turn a yellow/white shaded color before dying.

So what causes a magnesium deficiency?  In soil applications there is usually magnesium in the soil but unavailable to the plants because the soil is too cold, wet or acidic. It can also be trapped in the soil if the EC is too high, the root system of the plant is too small or there is an excess of nitrogen, potassium, and calcium.

How can you fix this? Add a Calcium- Magnesium supplement to your plant


Is your plant getting too much?

This is a very rare problem, and very hard to see but in extreme cases of magnesium build up in the medium there will be conflicts with other nutrients such as calcium.


Calcium is needed as much as all major nutrients in all fast growing plants. Calcium is responsible for aiding in cell manufacturing, growth, and building strong root and cellular walls.  It also helps keep cell reliability and membrane permeability to ensure proper flow of sugars and nitrogen.

So is your plant getting enough?

Calcium deficiencies are somewhat uncommon in indoor gardens, but are still possible. Since plants can frequently use more calcium than is what available and it can be washed out of the leaves when are sprayed with water. When a plant is lacking in calcium the plant will start to have weak stems, the leaves will be a darker green, and new growth will be stunted. Pay attention to the new growth on your plant, if the plant is not getting enough calcium it will start to get a yellow or purple hue on the shoots.

What causes this?

Humidity when maxed out causes the stomata of the plant to close and transpiration in the plant stops making the calcium unavailable to the plant.

How to fix the problem: Make sure your humidity is under control, and if need be add a calcium- Magnesium supplement.


Do you have an excess?

Signs of having too much calcium are leaf wilting and possibly stunted growth. In hydroponic scenarios if there is an excess of calcium it will bind with sulfur in the water and cause the water to become cloudy and form a residue at the bottom of the reservoir.