Essential Nutrients and Why they are Important to Plants?

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Essential Nutrients and Why they are Important to Plants?

Most of the people know how to grow plants. But they are not sure about the problems that plants face while growing. So keep on reading to get more information about essential nutrients and plant's unusual behavior regarding their growth and some of the visual symptoms that plants show.   

  • If you observe the below two plants. You can see the difference in the physical appearance of them. First plant is not normal, it is looking yellow, leaves are not well developed and some leaves are looking burnt.
  • But the other plant looks very healthy with well developed green color leaves.

The main reason for these differences is the absence of nutrients in plant one. And the presence of all the nutrients in plant two. 

plant that is deficient in nutrientshealthy plant

Yes, nutrients make all the difference. When plants do not get the major essential nutrients, they will show predominant symptoms like yellowing of leaves, burning of leaves, etc.  

yellowing and burning of leaves

Like human beings, plants also need nutritious food for their growth. Here nutritious food refers to organic manure or vermicompost or some other bio manures which has most of the essential nutrients in them.


Nutrient deficiency symptoms in plants:  

Plants want all the nutrients to grow well. And if they do not get some nutrients for some reason, they will start telling you that they are deficient in nutrients. Plants express their need through some of the visual symptoms like

  • Yellowing of leaves, discoloration of leaves into different colors.
  • Burning of leaf edges

When you provide good nutrition for your plants, they will fight against pests and diseases. And show the best growth. One more advantage of providing nutrients to plants is, it increases the yield of the plant. Yield means the number of flowers and fruits it produces.

When you apply organic manures to your plants. They will be happy, healthy, and show faster growth. Moreover, plants will not suffer from the deficiency symptoms. That's why nutrients rich organic manures are important to provide essential nutrients for plant growth and development.

    Nutrient requirement for plants: 

    • Nutrition is required for plant vigor
    • Required for increasing tolerance to pest and diseases
    • To increase the yield of your crop plants
    • For faster growth
    • For maintaining good health of plants
    • To avoid deficiency of nutrients
    bio organic manure


    Bio organic manure 

    Classification of nutrients based on plants requirement: 

    If we look deep into the plant nutrients. They can be categorized into three different groups based on the requirement for plants.
    Plant nutrients can be classified as,

    • Macronutrients,
    • Micronutrients &
    • Beneficial elements

    1.Macronutrients: plants need these nutrients in large quantities. And these are very basic nutrients and important for plant growth.
    Examples are Carbon (C), Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O), Nitrogen(N), Phosphorus (P), Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca), Magnesium (Mg), and Sulfur (S).

    2.Micronutrients: Plants require these nutrients in minute quantity
    Ex: Boron (Bo), Zinc (Zn), Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe), Copper (Cu), Molybdenum (Mo), Chlorine (Cl), Nickel (Ni). Macro and micro nutrients are together known as essential nutrients of plants.

    3.Beneficial elements: These kinds of nutrients are required for increasing growth speed and increasing the quality of fruits and flowers.
    Examples are: Aluminum (Al), Cobalt (Co), Sodium (Na), Selenium (Se), and Silicon(Si).

    Sources of nutrients: 

    There are many sources for organic manure for your plants. We will look into them one by one.

    • The first one is the livestock manure.            
    • Livestock manure includes cow dung, sheep manure, goat manure, and chicken manure. These can be applied to your plants after composting them for few days.                   


    • The next source of organic manure is vermicompost. You might know vermicompost. Let me tell you it is one of the best organic manure for plants. Vermicompost is the castings of earthworms. It will be rich in most of the nutrients that are important for your plants. Farmers usually prepare it for their farms. But in urban areas, there are many options to buy provide essential nutrients for your plants.
    composition of vermicompost
    • One more important source of organic manure is home compost. It is the cheapest source of manure and can be prepared by anyone at your home. Vegetable, fruit waste, dry leaves & some bio-waste can be used for composting at home. There are many ways to do composting but we recommend you bokashi method.

    Right method of manure application: 

     Applying all the manures at once is the wrong method of manure application to  plants. When you supply all the manures at once. It will not be absorbed by plants. At any given time, only a small portion of it is absorbed by the plants. The remaining portion will be leached out through the drainage holes. That's why the right method and right amount of manure application is important  

    • You have to apply manures to plants in their growing season. During their growth time, they need maximum nutrients. That's why always give nutrients when plants need them. 

    • Usually, most of the vegetables and flower plants start growing in the spring. So one month before spring is the best time to apply manure or nutrients. We are giving one month for organic manure to supply essential nutrients in the spring. 
    • Split the total amount of manure into smaller parts. Then apply them in different growing seasons of the plants.
    • If you want your plants to efficiently use the applied fertilizers, then you have to apply fertilizers in split doses. It means to split the total quantity of manure of a plant into three parts. And then start to apply one part of the manure at the start of spring, one part at the end of summer, and the other at the start of winter. This is the best way to provide essential nutrients to your plants and get the maximum out of them. 


     Most frequently asked questions: 

     1. What nutrient is most important for a plant's growth? 

    Plants need most of the nutrients for their growth. Major nutrients for plant growth are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium. They make NPK and primary nutrients for the plant's growth. Along with NPK, plants also need calcium, magnesium, and Sulphur, boron, etc. to grow well.  

    2. How should I provide nutrients for plants?

    There are many methods to apply nutrients to plants. One such way is you can either apply organic manure to the soil or spray liquid fertilizer to the foliage of plants. If you are decided to apply chemical fertilizers for plants, dig the soil and add fertilizers into that, and cover it with soil. after applying organic or chemical fertilizers cover them with soil and water them thoroughly. 

    3. Which is the best time to apply fertilizers/ manures for plants?

    Plants do not need nutrients during all the seasons of the plant's growth. They need nutrients only when they are in growing phase. Most of the flowering plants and vegetables grow in the spring season. In India, the spring season refers to February to March. Apply manures before the onset of the spring.

    4. How many nutrients are necessary for plants' healthy growth? 

    Plants require 17 essential nutrients along with light, water, and carbon dioxide for their healthy growth and development. 17 essential nutrients can be categorized as macronutrients and micronutrients. 

    5. Which nutrients are necessary for flowering?

    Different nutrients play different roles in the growth and development of plants. Some nutrients are responsible for the growth of foliage, some nutrients are responsible for the development of flowers, and some others for root growth. Nutrients that are necessary for flower production in plants are phosphorus, potassium, calcium & Sulphur. 


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