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Friday April 22, 2022

By David Martin

Drooping bright green cannabis leaves in front of a black background. Growing

One of the biggest differences between a master cannabis grower and a noob is the ability to spot plant problems in a snap. When I last worked at a commercial grow, the owner was able to point out an ascending male from across the room. The Cultivation Technician could pinpoint a dab of powdery mildew before it erupted. Unfortunately, it can be pretty easy for an inexperienced grower to miss a minute detail and those details can lead to ugly consequences down the road.

The most common question amongst newbie growers is, “Why do my weed plants droop?

Drooping cannabis leaves are one of the easiest things to overlook if you are new to growing. Time and practice will make you an expert with spotting and solving the droopy leaves issue and soon enough you’ll be growing the best sticky imaginable. So, what seems to be causing those leaves to droop?

Continue reading to learn how to identify and doctor drooping cannabis leaves.

How Should My Cannabis Plants Look?

Let’s talk about the opposite of drooping cannabis leaves. The loose grow-term for healthy leaves is called “prayer position”. They are best described as perky and upright, almost proud of themselves standing tall under the lighting. A healthy plant will have upward poise in general – you can tell a sick one from a healthy plant pretty easily.

Dark green cannabis plant with praying leaves pointed upwards with white pistols popping out of the top of the plant.
Healthy plants will point upwards with their leaves and will not droop. photo credit

The next indicator of plant health is color. Although plants will change colors during flowering, they will look pretty similar during vegetation in those early weeks. The shade of green should look like fresh cut blades of grass in summer. It’s that lush, jungle green that indicates a healthy plant. If the colors are lighter or seem to have damage, issues are happening. 

The Difference Between Wilting and Drooping

In my early days at a commercial grow in Denver, I sent a bushy picture to a friend thinking they would be really impressed. Instead, they mentioned the leaves looked “sleepy”. That was the first time it hit me just how little I knew. There was an issue right in front of my face and I had no idea.

This image is displaying a good example of an unhealthy cannabis plant that is green but wilting severly in a black pot and instead a grow tent with shiny aluminum colored siding.
Cannabis plants can droop when they are not watered enough. photo credit

When a plant is “wilting,” it tends to be on the dry side. There is often a browning in color. Maybe you saw a wilting plant at your grandma’s house or that friend who is never home? Remember the wilting rose from Beauty and the Beast? That talking clock really needed to step up and water that thing. 

Drooping plants, on the other hand, tends to involve too much water. The leaf itself will appear to be plenty green but be on the downward side of life. Let’s talk more about this.

The Common Reason for Drooping Cannabis Leaves

If your cannabis leaves are drooping, not to worry. It’s an easy fix. The most likely cause of this problem is overwatering. New growers are still learning the ins and outs of this practice. Too much or too little water can have a great effect on your plant’s ability to complete photosynthesis.

Three cannabis pots that are in their vegetating stage that do not have many green leaves on them and are being watered with a sprayer nozzle that is silver on the head of a black hose.
Overwatering can also make plants to droop, so be sure that they are dry before watering them. photo credit

My first home-grow utilized a stealth grow box and deep water culture hydroponics system. Basically, the roots were growing in water with nutrients added. It wasn’t long before the leaves were drooping worse than Droopy the dog, because my babies were drowning. Their leaf color was light-green. 

A master grower suggested letting it dry out without any more watering, and eureka! They were praying once again. Something to know about cannabis is that it is resilient. I mean, it is a weed. Mistakes happen and you can bounce back from them, much as in life. 

Why Do People Overwater Cannabis?

Most people overwater their cannabis because they don’t know what they’re doing, YET. Every master grower was a beginner at some point. A common reason cannabis plants have drooping leaves is the wrong water schedule per the medium. Ask yourself – which medium are you growing in?

Is it a DWC deep water culture box? Is it sandy soil that absorbs less water? Is it coco mixed with Perlite and needs that 20% runoff? These are all factors when deciding how much and how often a grower should be watering. If your cannabis leaves are drooping, check your watering schedule vs. medium first.

Other Reasons Why Your Cannabis Plant Might Droop

Dialing in your grow is often another growers’ term you will hear thrown around at cultivation facilities. There are a multitude of variables that can affect your cannabis harvest. It’s up to you to dial in the perfect environment for cannabis to thrive that can result in heavy yields that are mold, pest, and in this case – droop free. Let’s talk about those variables.

Humidity Of The Room

There is a white thermostat on the wall with a green screen reading 80 degrees and 50% humidity,, on a white wall.
Not enough humidity could cause wilting. photo credit

A grower could have the watering schedule dialed-in perfect but still witness drooping or wilting. Not enough humidity will dry out and wilt those leaves, whereas too much humidity will add too much water into the room. Keep in mind that flowering buds produce additional humidity in time and can affect your percentages.

Nutrient Issues

Hands pouring a liquid yellow into plastic, clear cup from a green bottle.
Cannabis plants can develop nute burn from too much fertilizer. photo credit

Nutrient burn, aka nute burn, is a fairly obvious thing to spot. Most of the plant or leaves will appear fine except for the burn. It’s usually a dead portion of one leaf and can be just a corner or the entire thing. Dead leaves would be considered part of the wilted category in this case. Nute burn happens when your pH is off or you added a bit too much of this or that.


Finger pushing an button on a thermostat that is ready 76 degrees on a green display.
Plants prefer to be anywhere between 66-77 degrees Fahrenheit. photo credit

Drooping cannabis leaves happen fast when temperatures are not optimal. These plants prefer 66-77 degrees Fahrenheit and will react when outside of these zones. In larger grow rooms, I have seen cooling fans pointed at plants that had changed color, meanwhile 25 feet away, the other plants were fine. Check for flowing air in your tent and other spots that could be causing temperature problems.


Top of a pale green-yellow cannabis plant covered in white spider webs and tiny red insects.
Cannabis plants can wilt or droop if they have a pest infestation. photo credit

Unfortunately, pests can become a problem and cause drooping plants that can make you cry. When spider mites get out of control on a plant, the leaves will begin drooping. They appear as if they have a nute burn but were eaten alive instead. Worst of all, they can spread to the other plants and nail them too. Research treatments if needed.

In Conclusion

After reading, you can safely answer the question, “Why do my weed plants droop?” Drooping cannabis leaves are not the end of the world. They are simply an early indicator that something is off within the grow. Follow these steps to self-diagnose and consult multiple sources before correcting. Your plants will be praying again in no time.

Best of luck and stay sticky!

Let us know some of your growing tips below in the comments to avoid drooping leaves.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


David Martin David Martin

David Martin is a Denver native, commercial cannabis grower and reviewer. He has worked in grows for multiple Colorado cannabis companies; most recently, Callie's Cannabis. He has his M.S. in Sports Marketing from the University of Memphis, and previously taught E.S.L. His favorite pastimes are animated comedies like Bob's Burgers and Rick and Morty. You can often find him concocting new edibles on the weekend.

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