Micronutrients that Keep Your Plants Healthy

Micronutrients that Keep Your Plants Healthy

Healthy plants require nutrients, much like humans need vitamins and minerals.

The primary elements that plants need are oxygen, carbon and hydrogen, which come from the soil and air. Macronutrients are elements that plants need, just in smaller quantities. When gardening, watch your plants for signs of macronutrient deficiency.


This element is necessary for chlorophyll synthesis, which gives the leaves their bright green color. But nitrogen is much more important because it helps the plant make its own cells. When a plant has a nitrogen deficiency, the older leaves may change color from a bright green to paler green. Plants will appear stunted. Even though nitrogen is readily available in the air, it must be converted into nitrogen that the plant can take in through the soil.

Phosphorus is required for plant respiration and cell division. It takes phosphorus to capture the sun’s energy and convert it into what the plant needs. Deficiencies of this element can be hard to identify, but generally, the plant may seem stunted in growth. Your base nutrient should have adequate levels of phosphorus but if you need a kick try adding products like a high phosphorus bat guano or a liquid supplement.


Without potassium, a plant cannot overcome the effects of disease. The element helps the plant breakdown carbohydrates into energy. Potassium also helps the plant be more efficient with water. Although scientists aren’t sure why potassium is so important to plant growth, they know that it is.  A potassium deficiency is characterized by brown leaves with green veins. The plant may perform poorly. Again your base nutrient should have adequate levels of potassium but if you need a more try adding products like a Langbeinite or a liquid supplement.


Calcium strengthens the cells of the plants and contributes to root health. When there is a deficiency, the new growth at the tips of the leaves will wither. The blossom-end of a tomato may rot. The root system can be discolored and stunted.

Magnesium is important to photosynthesis. Plants that have a deficiency may produce smaller fruits. A deficiency of magnesium resembles potassium deficiency, but the leaves may have a marbled appearance. The veins may appear green, but the rest of the leaf will be yellow, pale green or brown.

You can supply additional Calcium and Magnesium with a product like CaliMagic. This will correct deficiencies like leaf curl, yellow tip burn and blossom end rot.


In plants with a sulfur deficiency, the leaves will yellow, but it might be due to other nutrient deficiencies. Sulfur is part of the protein synthesis process and the photosynthesis process. Symptoms of a sulfur deficiency may not show up until the problem is severe. It often occurs hand-in-hand with a nitrogen deficiency. Soil testing is usually the best course before attempting to correct the situation.


Many of the minerals that help plants grow are needed in trace amounts. It doesn’t take a lot of these minerals, but when the soil has a deficiency, you may see abnormalities. For example, an iron deficiency can cause leaf yellowing. These micronutrients include:
  • Chlorine
  • Iron
  • Boron
  • Manganese
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Molybdenum
  • Nickel

Your soil may need to be tested to discover exactly what nutrients it is missing to find the right fertilizer. Foliar sprays that contain sea products are often recommended to ensure plants are getting micronutrients that increase plant health and increased yield.


With hydroponic gardening, the nutrient solution is monitored to ensure that the plants are getting the right amounts of nutrients. Hydroponics technology offers many different options to provide macro- and micro-nutrients when growing plants.

Have a question about which grow light is best for your gardening and hydroponic needs? Contact the specialists at Root Grow Bloom