Minerals are essential for healthy plant growth, but choosing the right soil and minerals for your plants can be overwhelming. Our greenhouse experts have broken down the main minerals for successful gardening, and what to expect if your plants are not getting enough of any of them.
Nitrogen is used by all plants more than any other mineral. Lack of nitrogen can cause many different symptoms in your plant, including yellowing of the leaves, excessive growth, lack of fruiting, and weakening of the plant. It is important to make sure your plants get enough nitrogen, because a lack of nitrogen tends to make plants more prone to disease and insect attacks.
Phosphorus is an important mineral that is used to transfer energy in the plant during the metabolic process. It promotes root and seed development in the fruit of the plant as well as helps the plant itself become more drought and cold tolerant. A phosphorus deficiency can cause stunting of growth and maturity, poor coloration in the leaves, and may even cause your plants to not seed.
Potassium is important for the enzymes that are involved in the photosynthesis process and cell structure of the plant. It also helps with water absorption, fighting diseases, and improving the fruit or vegetables.
Calcium helps the plant roots and tips become stronger and more developed. A lack of calcium causes plants to not bud, or even lose fruit once it develops.
Magnesium is important for the development of plant cells to efficiently undergo photosynthesis and provide a better seeding. Deficiency of magnesium causes leaf discoloration, making the leaves appear old or withered.
Sulfur gives the fruit its color and odor characteristics. Therefore, a deficiency in sulfur in your plants causes a lessening of color and taste.
Manganese helps the enzyme development in the plant cells. A deficiency of manganese will make the plant leaves look like they have yellowish stripes. Iron, copper, and zinc also play a similar role as manganese but are more toxic to plants if too much is applied.
Boron is important in plants because it assists in the transformation of sugars and in the germination of pollen tubes. A lack of this mineral will stop self-pollinating plants from pollinating, and will also harm the pollination process of fruit trees and corn.
There are a wide variety of essential minerals for plant growth, so it is important to get a professional soil sample taken at least every three or four years in addition to when fertilizing your garden, fruit tree crop, or even fields of corn and grasses. Always use a well-balanced fertilizer with all the trace minerals to keep your soil stocked with the essentials for your plants.