Plant nutrition & deficiencies

Maintaining good soil health and providing adequate nutrients are basics of successful gardening and growing healthy Plants. When   plants  don’t  look healthy and observe symptoms such as poor growth, yellowing, poor flowering and fruiting, curly and small leaves, hard and cracked soils, water logging   etc.,  all these would be result of either poor soil health or poor nutrition or combination of both.

Growing media for plants can be soil, potting mix or water, but it acts as a reservoir for nutrients where plants absorb different nutrients as required when they grow. Like us, plants do need essential nutrients to grow healthy. Plants require 16 essential nutrients, of these carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are available plenty in atmosphere, but the other 13 nutrients will not be enough in soils or growing media and hence are to be supplemented through external sources as plant food or fertilisers. Depending on relative quantity of these nutrients required by plants, they are classified in to:

  • Major nutrients (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium)
  • Secondary nutrients (Calcium, Magnesium and Sulphur)
  • Micro nutrients or Trace elements (Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Copper, Boron, Molybdenum)
When plants fail to thrive and grow well, despite adequate soil preparation, watering and mulching, it may be a sign of nutrient deficiency. Plants growing in very acid or alkaline conditions are particularly vulnerable to deficiencies as extreme pH conditions inhibits nutrient uptake in to plant’s body. Also Fruits and Vegetables being heavy feeders draw nutrients heavily and without supplementing nutrients through fertilisers, nutrient deficiencies become evident.
For further detailed information on plant nutrition aspects, please click on links below: