Why are my leaf tips curling nitrogen deficiency

Why are my leaf tips curling?

Our goal when growing plants is to achieve the best outcome possible, sometimes in this quest, we can make some mistakes.

When such problems arise, take a deep breath and remain calm, its going to be ok. The key in any form of gardening whether indoors or out is observation.

Through observation and intuition, any problem your plant goes through you will have the necessary knowledge to correct.

So, let’s start at the beginning:

There are 17 Elements.

Three of these elements are gases:



Carbon Dioxide.

The remaining 14 elements are broken into 2 categories:

Mobile & Immobile

Mobile Nutrients, work their way through the plant, leaving the older leaf sets deficient.

Immobile nutrients, do not have the ability to translocate from older growth so therefore need to be amended within the acceptable pH range.

Determining the cause of our leaf curling will rely on a bit of research and referencing but should make it easy enough to figure out.


First, observe the leaf.

Colour: It is quite dark green and glossy?

Growth Pattern: Are the tips are curling downwards, or 'under' toward the stem?

Aesthetics: Does the leaf resemble a 'claw' or 'hook' look?

The 2 elements responsible for chlorophyll formation are nitrogen & magnesium.

The variation of the colour green on a leaf of the plant shows me one of these elements is in excess, as a Magnesium toxicity is quite rare, the logical conclusion is that there is an excess in nitrogen, which is rather common.

The reason I suspect the plant has an excess as opposed to deficiency is because:

Nitrogen deficiencies start at the base of the plant and work up, the plant shows these signs as to inform you there is not enough present, due to its mobility it will keep translocating to the newer growth.

Magnesium deficiencies also show in older growth, and presents itself as yellow spotting like little yellow freckles and is usually paired with a calcium deficiency which shows as rusty orange type freckles that widen and spread as the deficiency progresses.

If in doubt, research, observe, plan and then fix. Oh and breathe... Through researching and referencing images, diagnosis should be fairly easy on your own.

Over time you will get better at determining the problem and it will become second nature to you once you have formed an understanding about plant nutrition and ability to recognise basic plant nutritional issues

Until then, its searching image content and using your intuition. Happy growing!

If you still can’t figure out your problem, get in touch! Our team of expert horticulturists will gladly assist!



> Propagation
> Hydroponic Equipment
> Plant Nutrition & Health
> Pest & Disease
> Hydroponic Environment
> Harvest
> How To...
> Geek Out With A-Grade
> Water Control
> Plant Training
> Grow Medium
> Hydroponic Basics

Other Tutorials

How to Revive Wilting Plants in NFT Hydroponic Systems
Why Are My Plants Stretching?
What is wrong with my plants?
Frequently Asked Questions about Hydroponics - 2020
My stems are purple!

premium hydroponic store

We're committed to helping communities in Australia grow
Shop now