10 Common Mistakes Among Commercial Growers
Sep 22 2023

10 Common Mistakes Among Commercial Growers

Whether you’re an experienced cannabis cultivator or just starting, making mistakes is an inevitable part of the process. After all, growing crops commercially isn’t easy. It requires a significant investment of time, money, and effort, and even the slightest mistake can have a major impact on your products.

That’s why it is essential to equip yourself with the proper knowledge and strategies that will lead to success. With a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of lightning, watering, nutrition, and pest management, you will be well on your way to becoming an accomplished commercial grower.

In this blog post, we’ll be discussing the top 10 common mistakes among commercial growers and the impact they can have on your business. We’ll also offer practical advice on how to avoid these mistakes and improve your overall growing strategies.

So, let’s take the plunge and discover how you can thrive in your cannabis cultivation business!

1. Lack of Planning and Research

With the legalization of medicinal and recreational cannabis gaining traction around the world, the cannabis industry has been thriving. This has led to great opportunities for job creation, entrepreneurship, and new income streams for governments.

However, like any other industry, cannabis cultivation has its fair share of challenges. One of the 10 common mistakes among commercial growers is the lack of planning and research. Growing cannabis requires a deep understanding of the plant’s biology, the optimal growing conditions, and the applicable laws and regulations governing the industry.

The potential profits of the industry attract many novice growers, making the mistake of jumping into cannabis cultivation without researching the process thoroughly. This can cause various issues in the following steps.

Seek out Guidance

To avoid future problems, cultivators can seek out guidance from experienced growers in the industry. There are many cannabis industry organizations and associations that provide resources and support for novice growers.

Cultivators can also access a wealth of online resources that offer helpful information and guidance. By taking advantage of these resources, growers can stay up-to-date with the latest developments and advance their techniques and equipment.

This allows them to enhance their expertise in this field, and produce high-quality, potent, and disease-resistant cannabis crops.

Create a Business Plan

Another essential step to ensure successful cannabis cultivation is creating a business plan. A business plan should outline all the steps that the enterprise will take from the time they germinate their seeds to the time they harvest their crop.

It should also include all of the costs associated with cannabis cultivation, such as rent or mortgage payments, utility costs, and equipment expenses. This will help growers have a better picture of the financial requirements and develop a growth plan suited for their business.

Learn the Industry Regulations

When you’re planning for commercial farming, it’s important to have a solid understanding of the industry‘s complex regulatory framework. As the cannabis industry continues to grow, governments around the world are enacting more regulations to ensure the safety of cannabis products.

Growers must learn about these regulations to avoid potential fines or other penalties. Additionally, this can help operations ensure that their product meets legal requirements so that they can expand their target audience and sell their product in the legal market.

2. Improper Watering

Cannabis is a delicate plant that requires a lot of care and attention to detail to thrive. Improper watering can have a negative effect on the well-being of your cannabis crop. In fact, overwatering or underwatering are among the top 10 mistakes among commercial growers, and both can lead to serious problems if not addressed quickly.


Overwatering cannabis plants is a common mistake that can cause serious damage to your plants. This happens when the cultivators provide too much water, leading to waterlogged roots and a lack of oxygen. Overwatering can cause several problems, including:

  • Yellowing leaves: Overwatered plants can develop yellow leaves that eventually fall off.
  • Root rot: Waterlogged roots are more susceptible to fungal infections that can quickly spread and damage the entire plant.
  • Stunted growth: Overwatering can prevent the roots from developing properly, leading to stunted growth.
  • Mold and mildew: Excess moisture can also cause mold and mildew growth, which eventually damages the crop.


Underwatering cannabis plants occurs when the farmers don’t provide enough water to the plants, leading to dry, wilted plants. As a result, this may cause potential issues such as:

  • Stunted growth: When not receiving sufficient water, plant growth can be stunted and they may fail to produce flowers.
  • Nutrient deficiencies: Water is essential for the uptake of nutrients, so underwatered plants may also suffer from nutrient deficiencies.
  • Increased stress: Cannabis plants that are not getting enough water can become more stressed and susceptible to pest and disease problems.
  • Shock and death: In some cases, underwatering can lead to shock and even death of the plant.

Tips for Proper Watering

Now that you have a better understanding of the potential consequences of improper watering, it’s time to provide some tips to help you avoid this mistake:

  • Establish a watering schedule: Develop a regular watering schedule based on the needs of your particular strain and the environment in which it is growing.
  • Control soil moisture regularly: Use a moisture meter or simply stick your finger into the soil to check for moisture levels. When the top inch of soil is dry, it‘s time to water the plant.
  • Use good drainage: Ensure that your pots or containers have good drainage to prevent water from pooling at the base of the plant.
    Water slowly: Water slowly and evenly so the soil can absorb the water without becoming waterlogged.
  • Adjust for environmental changes: Check the environment (temperature, humidity, light) and adjust your watering schedule accordingly.

3. Poor Pest Management

To guarantee high-quality yields and prevent crop loss, cannabis cultivators must develop a comprehensive pest management strategy. Pests such as spider mites, thrips, and aphids can spread rapidly and cause significant damage to the crops.

Here are the main mistakes growers make when neglecting pest management:

Common Pest Management Mistakes

One of the 10 common mistakes among commercial growers is not monitoring crops for pests. This can result in pest infestation that goes unnoticed until it’s too late.

Another mistake is insufficient prevention. Failing to implement the necessary measures such as proper sanitation and quarantine protocols can introduce pests into the growing environment.

That said, it’s important for farmers not to over-rely on pesticides as they can lead to pesticide resistance and environmental contamination. This also may pose health risks for growers and consumers.

How to Ensure Effective Pest Management?

The key to having efficient pest management is to establish an integrated pest management (IPM) plan that involves strategies such as monitoring, prevention, and control. Our team at Catalyst BC can help develop a solid plan, considering preventative measures to properly identify pests.

4. Inadequate Soil Preparation

One of the 10 common mistakes commercial growers make is inadequate soil preparation, which can lead to poor plant growth and low yields. Efficient soil preparation allows the plants to absorb the necessary nutrients, supporting optimal growth.

How to Effectively Prepare the Soil?

To ensure healthy and bountiful crops, it’s essential to monitor the growing mediums for nutrients and pH regularly.

Moreover, farmers can add amendments such as perlite or vermiculite, to ensure adequate soil structure, improve drainage, and promote healthy root growth. This also provides essential nutrients while minimizing the risk of nutrient deficiencies.

Commercial Vertical Farming Advancements is a highly beneficial approach to prepare the soil while ensuring optimal growing conditions. To find out more, check out Vertical Farming Services with Catalyst BC.

5. Overcrowding Plants

Commercial growers often make the mistake of overcrowding plants in the hopes of maximizing their yield. This approach, however, can lead to poor plant growth and low yields as proper spacing is a crucial factor in successful cultivation.

Planting too many cannabis plants in a small space can lead to poor air circulation, increased humidity, and the spread of diseases. Additionally, inadequate plant spacing can cause competition for resources, such as light, water, and nutrients, which subsequently stunts plant growth.

Tips to Avoid Overcrowding Plants

Here are some tips to avoid these issues and ensure adequate spacing:

  • Determine the appropriate space: Before you start growing cannabis plants, determine the amount of space you have available and the number of plants you can grow.
  • Consider plant size: Choose plant varieties that will not grow too large for the space you have available.
  • Properly space your plants: Space each plant as recommended by the seed company or expert growers.

6. Poor Genetic Selection

Genetic selection can truly make or break your harvest. Choosing poor genetics can have a wide range of negative consequences, such as increased losses caused by insect and disease infestations, challenges in automating production, and unnecessary energy expenditure.

This is especially true for start-ups, where making the right selection is essential for a successful launch. Novice cultivators, in particular, find it challenging to find the right cannabis genetics.

Good genetics can help you achieve better yields, higher potency, and improved resistance to pests and diseases. To avoid poor genetic selection, it is crucial to do thorough research and choose the ones that best match your cultivation needs.

Catalyst BC professionals boast extensive experience in cannabis cultivation and can help find the optimal genetics based on your specific business requirements. Contact our team, and Thrive Your Business with Cannabis Genetic Consulting.

7. Planting Multiple Strains

Planting too many different types of cannabis strains is one of the 10 common mistakes among commercial growers. While it may seem exciting to have a wide variety of strains and flavors, there are several drawbacks to it.

Issues with Plant Diversity

Firstly, cannabis plants have different growth rates, nutrient requirements, and flowering times. This means that by planting a large variety of strains, you may face more challenges to create a consistent growing environment.

Moreover, different strains have varying levels of susceptibility to pests and diseases. When you have a wide variety of plants growing nearby, it can increase the risk of spread of infestations and infections.

Finally, planting multiple types of cannabis plants can make harvesting and processing more demanding. With different strains maturing at different times, it becomes daunting to manage the harvest schedule, leading to inefficiencies, waste, and increased labor costs.

8. Inadequate Nutrient Management

Improper nutrient management can severely damage the overall results of a cultivation business. Nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and magnesium are vital for the growth and development of cannabis plants.

Without an adequate supply of micronutrients and macronutrients, cannabis can become weak, and prone to diseases and pests.

Overfeeding and Underfeeding

One common mistake among hemp farmers is overfeeding or underfeeding the plant, which can lead to nutrient lockout or nutrient burn.

Nutrient lockout occurs when the plant is unable to absorb certain nutrients due to an imbalance or deficiency of other nutrients. This can cause the plant to become yellow or discolored and interrupt the plant‘s growth.

On the other hand, nutrient burn occurs when the plant is given too much fertilizer, causing the leaves to develop brown or yellow tips or edges. This can also interrupt the growth process, ultimately killing the plant if not addressed.

Tips for Effective Nutrient Management

Cannabis cultivators should regularly monitor and adjust the nutrient levels in their plants. This can be done by testing the soil or hydroponic solution and adjusting the nutrient mix accordingly.

It is also important to use high-quality fertilizers and supplements and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application rates.

9. Inconsistent Environmental Control

When talking about 10 common mistakes among commercial growers, we can’t skip inconsistent environmental control.

Environmental factors such as light, temperature, humidity, and airflow play a crucial role in the successful cultivation of cannabis plants. When these factors are not controlled or maintained consistently, they can lead to uneven growth, inadequate nutrient uptake, and an increased risk of pest infestations.

To prevent these issues, cannabis growers need to invest in high-quality environmental control systems, such as HVAC systems, dehumidifiers, and air filtration systems. Furthermore, they have to monitor and adjust these systems regularly to ensure that the environmental conditions remain within the optimal range.

10. Using Untested Growing Mediums

While it may seem like a shortcut to use generic, readily available soils or substrates, using non-tested growing mediums can be a costly mistake.

For starters, they often have an unbalanced nutrient composition that can lead to nutrient deficiencies or toxicities in the cannabis plants. On top of that, these mediums may contain unwanted pests or pathogens that can infect the plants, leading to diseases and a complete crop loss.

Using non-tested growing mediums can also negatively affect the pH level of the soil. An untested medium can cause the pH to become too acidic or alkaline, leading to nutrient lockout and other issues.

Final Words

Cannabis cultivation is a booming sector, offering a prosperous landscape for those seeking a new opportunity. This, however, doesn‘t come without its own sets of challenges and problems that affect the profit and yield.

That said, by avoiding the 10 common mistakes among commercial growers outlined in this blog, you can ensure the success of your operation.

Avoiding these mistakes, such as failing to plan and monitor plant nutrition, letting pests and diseases go unchecked, and not selecting optimal growing conditions, can prevent financial losses and maximize yields.

By prioritizing these factors, you can set yourself up for long-term success and meet the growing demand in a competitive market.

If you‘re new to the business, overwhelmed by the intricacies, or simply need a hand to level up your operation, Catalyst BC is here to help. From tailored turnaround solutions to financial planning and startup support, we offer a wide array of services to support your success.

Improve Cannabis Operational Optimization with our customized services. Check out our services, and find further details.

10 Common Mistakes Among Commercial Growers FAQ

What is the most common mistake among commercial growers?

One of the 10 common mistakes among commercial growers is overwatering their plants. Overwatering can cause nutrient deficiencies, root rot, stunted growth, and other issues that can harm the plant’s overall health. Other common mistakes include poor genetic selection, improper nutrient management, lack of planning, and more.

Why do some farmers use low-quality growing mediums?

Some growers may use low-quality soil because it is cheaper and easier to obtain. However, they can lead to nutrient deficiencies and other plant health issues, resulting in lower crop yields and quality.

How can growers avoid pest infestations?

Cannabis cultivators can avoid pest infestations by maintaining a clean growing area, checking plants regularly for signs of pests, and using natural pest control methods such as neem oil or insecticidal soap.

What are the consequences of not properly ventilating a grow room?

Not properly ventilating a grow room can lead to a buildup of heat and humidity, resulting in mold growth, pest infestations, and decreased plant growth. Proper ventilation is crucial for maintaining a healthy growing environment and maximizing crop yields.

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