General Intro To Nutrients

If you need a general intro to nutrients, then you are reading the right article. 

Plant nutrients are commonly divided into three groups: primary, secondary, and micro. Plant nutrients have other characteristics too, such as the ideal pH for optimal absorption, and whether they have the ability to move around inside the plant (mobile or immobile).

Each plant requires a different balance of nutritional elements at different phases of its life cycle. Nutrient manufacturers try to make the grower's life as straightforward as possible by creating easy-to-use complete formulations to support vegetative growth (roots, leaves, and stems) and flowering (buds, flowers, and fruits).

As well as the carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen (the non-mineral elements) there are many additional mineral elements that are either essential or beneficial to plants. Exactly how these elements are supplied is dependent on your growing method. Hydroponic growers supply these elements directly via a mineral nutrient solution. Organic growers use beneficial biology and a mixture of organic inputs and soil / peat-based mixes.

Primary Nutrients

  1. Nitrogen: Essential for rapid growth, vigor, and chlorophyll production (for photosynthesis). Some plants (i.e. legumes) are able to absorb nitrogen directly from the air.

  2. Phosphorus: Vital for many energy-related processes. Important for production of plant oils, sugar, and starch production. Encourages blooming and root growth.

  3. Potassium: Regulates your plant's water content and a key component of yield quality and quantity.

Secondary Nutrients

  1. Calcium: Strengthens cell walls (think of strong bones) and helps to retain other elements.

  2. Magnesium: Contributes to crop quality, leaf chlorophyll, and enzymes.

  3. Sulfur: Forms an essential component of many amino acids and proteins. Also aids root growth.

Micro Nutrients

  1. Boron: Needed for root, shoot, and fruit development.

  2. Chlorine: Aids plant metabolism.

  3. Copper: Influences photosynthesis, aids root metabolism, and reproductive growth (e.g. seeds).

  4. Iron: Influences photosynthesis and an essential part of chlorophyll production.

  5. Manganese: Help enzymes to break down carbohydrates and assists in nitrogen metabolism.

  6. Molybdenum: Plays a key role in plant enzyme systems that control the uptake of nitrogen.

  7. Zinc: Part of the production of important plant hormones like auxin (which regulates growth).

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