Nutrition for Plants
Did you know that Plants require 17 essential nutrients to grow normally? Nutrient deficiency occurs when a plant lacks a sufficient quantity of an essential nutrient required for growth. Without sufficient essential nutrients, plants will not grow well and show various symptoms to express the deficiency.
What are these 17 essential nutrients?
Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O), Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Sulfur (S), Cal- cium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), Boron (B), Chlorine (Cl), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Manganese (Mn), Molybdenum (Mo), Nickel (Ni), and Zinc (Zn)
Next, let’s explore on macronutrients & micronutrients; the former refers to nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg), carbon (C), oxygen (O), hydrogen (H) (basically the NPK on fertilizer labels) and they are needed in relatively large amounts. As for micronutrients, they are no less important, but are needed in smaller amounts and are rarely deficient in most soils; micronutrients (also known as trace minerals) refer to iron (Fe), boron (B), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni).
Soil is a major source of nutrients needed by plants for growth. These elements stay beneath soil as salts, so plants absorb these elements as ions. Plants take up essential elements from the soil through their roots and from the air (mainly consisting of nitrogen and oxygen) through their leaves. The root, especially the root hair, is the essential organ for the uptake of nutrients.
Nitrogen is found in all plant cells, plant proteins and hormones, and chlorophyll. It’s a key element in plant growth. When applied to soil, nitrogen is converted to mineral form, nitrate, so that plants can take it up. Nitrate is easily leached out of the soil by heavy rain, resulting in soil acidification. You need to apply nitrogen in small amounts often so that plants use all of it, or in organic form such as composted manure, so that leaching is reduced.
Phosphorus helps transfer energy from sunlight to plants, stimulates early root and plant growth, and hastens maturity. All manures contain phosphorus; manure from grain-fed animals is a particularly rich source. Bio-Mate Blood & Bone Meal Fertiliser is a natural/organic fertilizer is rich in Phosphorus; it enhances root growth and results in plants’ capability in absorbing more nutrients.
Potassium increases the vigor and disease resistance of plants, helps form and move starches, sugars, and oils in plants, and can improve fruit quality. Potassium is outstanding among the nutrient elements for its mobility and solubility within plant tissues. It seems to be of particular importance in leaves and at growing points.
Calcium is essential for root health, the growth of new roots and root hairs, and the development of leaves. Magnesium is a key component of chlorophyll, the green coloring material of plants, and is vital for photosynthesis (the conversion of the sun's energy to food for the plant). Sulfur is a constituent of amino acids in plant proteins and is involved in energy-producing processes in plants. It is responsible for many flavors and odor compounds in plants such as the aroma of onions and cabbage.
In our next blog post, we will talk about plants’ nutrient deficiency. Stay tuned!