Plants, at any stage, whether flowering or bearing fruit, will need nutrients at some point for their optimum health and prosperity. They generally need 17 important elements for the growth and survival of the plant. Each element has a specific function it performs on the plant.
These nutrients are basically divided into two groups; micronutrients and macronutrients. Nutrients are not limited to specific plant species or crops, but to a variety of horticultural processes in various conditions including propagating, hydroponic growing and in greenhouses. Farmers are also advised to apply various plant nutrients to their crops or when symptoms of particular problems, infections or malnourishment are shown by the crops.
Macronutrients are largely required by plants in quantities for growth, they include;
- Nitrogen (N).
It’s important as it helps the plant in producing stems, leaves, and shoots that are strong and healthy. They are applied when leaves start turning green to yellow or fruits are poorly developed. Shouldn’t be applied when leaves turn darker green as that could attract pests and infection or diseases.
- Phosphorus (P).
Helps in sturdy growth of the roots and stems. It’s required when leaves show violet strains, but should not be applied in excess as it may lead to micronutrient shortages.
- Potassium (K).
It strengthens plants resistance to disease and provides lovely, aromatic flowers. Applied when older leaves show a yellow discoloration, in excess it causes a deficit in calcium and magnesium.
- Magnesium (Mg).
It’s the plant element behind the formation of chlorophyll in the leaves. Poorly developed fruits and staining of older leaves progressing to new ones sounds an alarm for this element deficiency.
- Calcium (Ca).
Tips of plants start to rot when calcium is low hence this is the time to add the nutrient.
Micronutrients are usually needed in small amounts. But as much as they are needed in smaller amounts they play an important role in helping the plant to survive and grow. They include elements such as:
- Boron (B).
A distortion on the leaves appears a sign to add the element. Also, it shows dying of tips of plants. When there is yellowing at the tip of the leaves then it’s in excess and should not be applied.
- Iron (Fe).
Underdeveloped leaves show a yellow and white stain on their veins indicating deficiency. But when there is a tiny brown spot it’s not applied to the crop as it is in excess.
- Zinc (Zn).
The veins on leaves the plants show a yellowing coloration. When it is added in large quantities it may lead to a lack of iron.
Plant nutrients aren’t only added when there is a deficiency of a particular element. It’s advisable for farmers and growers to research the specific needs and case studies of each and every genus of plant they work with. Always check for the signs and symptoms of various elements highlighted to resolve the problem as early as possible. Fullest foliage is expected by the farmer when right nutrient combinations are put in place.
In agriculture, the produce typically relies on the input nutrients applied, hence growers need to be vigilant with using the right amounts of nutrients they apply but not in excess. However, it’s important to trust the source you purchase your products from in order to provide a better growing experience, larger yields and clean, eco friendly ingredients.