Plant Nutrients for Crop Production

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plant nutrients

While growing different crops, you need to understand the needs of your crops in the form of essential plant nutrients.

All plants need nutrients, whether it is crop growth for biofuels, fruit production, or landscape ornamentals.

Different types of plants need different types of nutrients needs. Moreover, farmers and scientists characterize them as macro and micro-nutrients.

Moreover, it is important to remember that each type of plant needs nutrients, however, in different doses.

Plants take up macronutrients in large quantities, while the uptake of secondary macronutrients is lower.

It is important to note that every plant nutrient has a different function, that is necessary for nourishing your crops.

A deficiency of any of these plant nutrients can cause adverse effects on the plant’s general stage and depends on the missing nutrients and to what extent.

In this article, we will discuss both primary and secondary macronutrients and detecting the macro-nutrients deficiency in your crops.

Macronutrients for Crop Production

Of the 60 elements, your crops needs for healthy growth, 16 of them are essential to plant nutrients.

Among these 16, your crops get oxygen, carbon, and hydrogen from the air or water.

plant nutrients

However, the remaining 13 comes from the soil and are characterized as macronutrients.

And micronutrients all of which are essential for the growth of your crops.

Macronutrients are essential for the healthy growth of your crops and include nitrogen, N, phosphorus, P, and Potassium K.

Let’s discuss the plant nutrients as follows:


Nitrogen is an essential plant nutrient that is helpful in the development of your crops.

As it plays a fundamental role in energy metabolism and protein synthesis.

Plants absorb atmospheric nitrogen in small amounts in the form of nitrate and this macronutrient is directly related to the growth of your plants.

Moreover, it is crucial for the process of photosynthesis activity and chlorophyll formation.

Nitrogen is involved in the part of the plant that you can easily see.

Additionally, it promotes cellular multiplication.

nitrogen for crops

However, nutrient deficiency can result in loss of vigor and color.

The growth of your crops will slow down and leaves begins to fall off, especially from the bottom of the plant.

Many agriculturalists are of the view, that if the pH of your soil is balanced, then you should use organic fertilizers beside using synthetic or inorganic fertilizer.

We at Al Ard Alkhadra aims at providing 100% organic fertilizers. You can contact us for more details.


Phosphorus is essential for the growth of roots. In the aerial zone, it is essential for the flowering of plants.

Although it is important during the growth of your crops, however, it is more important during the flowering stage.

phosphorus, plant nutrients

Moreover, phosphorus is involved in transporting and storing energy, and also improves the general state of your crops.

Additionally, it increases your crop’s ability to withstand adverse climatic conditions.

Phosphorus is also important in the formation of organic compounds and the execution of photosynthesis.

However, a shortage of phosphorus can result in late, deficient flowering, growing, and wrinkling of leaves as well as lack of vigor in general.

Learn more about Vitamin C for Gardening here.


For the regulation of water and transport of reserve substances, potassium is important.

It also increases photosynthesis capacity and activates the absorption of nitrates.

Moreover, it stimulates the process of flowering and the synthesis of carbohydrates and different enzymes for the growth of your crops.

Thus, in turn, it provides an increase in the ability to withstand unfavorable conditions of the environment like low temperatures and prevents withering.


Therefore, lack of potassium reduces the resilience of your plant against dry spells and frosts or a fungus attack.

This results in the lack of essential nutrients and balance among the plant nutrients like calcium, magnesium, and nitrogen.

You will notice dark spots when your crops are deficient in potassium.

Secondary Macronutrients

Although crops absorb secondary macronutrients in small quantities, it does not mean that they are not important for your plants.

These secondary plant nutrients are calcium, Ca, Magnesium, Mg, and Sulfur, S.

One of the most important secondary macronutrients is calcium, which is ideal for the pH of the soil.

Thus, enables the plant to absorb all the nutrients from the soil. It also allows the soil to become more alkaline.

In the same way, magnesium is important as it is an enzyme activator that helps to promote botanical growth and flowering.

Sulfur protects your crops, their leaves and prevents yellowing or premature aging of the crops.

Let’s discuss these as follows:


Calcium has the ability to attach itself to the walls of the plant tissues, thus stabilizing the cell wall and favoring its formation.

It is also responsible for the growth of cells and developments.

It thus improves your crop’s vigor, activating the formation of roots and their growth.

Moreover, it also contributes to mineral retention in the soil and to the transportation of such minerals.

calcium, plant nutrients

It is responsible for neutralizing the toxic substances in the plants and also contributes to the formation of seeds.

Calcium is also responsible for stabilizing and regulates the different processes.

If your crops are deficient in calcium, it can cause yellow and brown spots on the leaves as well as slows down the growth of plants in general.


Sulfur contributes to the formation of chlorophyll and is necessary for the process of photosynthesis.

It also intervenes in the formation of proteins and tissues.

Sulfur is important in the metabolization of nitrogen as it improves nitrogen efficiency.

sulfur, plant nutrients

It also improves your crop’s defenses in general. However, its shortage is rare.

In case your crops are deficient in sulfur, it can cause them to lighten in color, thus taking away their green appearance.


Magnesium is one of the crucial elements for the molecules of chlorophyll and is thus essential for photosynthesis.

Thus, it is one of the most important nutrients for your plant’s development.

Moreover, it promotes the absorption and transportation of phosphorus and contributes to the storage of sugars within the crops.


Magnesium is responsible for activating enzymes, in fact, more of them as compared to any other nutrients.

In case your crops are deficient in magnesium, you will notice the loss of green appearance in the oldest of leaves and the appearance of yellow and brown spots.

Identifying Nutrient Deficiencies in Your Crops

Symptoms and signs of deficiency in any of the nutrients are often observable in the older leaves or at the lower part of the plants.

Let’s discuss these as follows:

Nitrogen: You will notice general chlorosis of your entire plant to a light green, followed by yellowing of older leaves to the younger ones.

Phosphorus: When your crop is deficient in phosphorus, then you will observe purple or bronze coloration on the underside of older leaves.

identifying nutrient deficiencies

This is because of the accumulation of a pigment, Anthocyanin.

Potassium: Potassium deficiency is visible on the edges of leaves, with interveinal scorching and necrosis from the leaf edge to the midrib.

Magnesium: Older leaves tends to be chlorotic in between veins, as interveinal chlorosis,

In a severe deficiency of magnesium, the growth of your crop can slow down and lower leaves will shed.

Signs of Immobile Nutrients deficiency

The signs and symptoms of immobile nutrient deficiency usually appear in younger or new leaves mostly at the upper part of the plants.

These are:

Calcium Ca: You will observe stunted growth on new foliage, buds, and root system.

Moreover, younger leaves tend to curl downwards with browning of leaf edges and leaf tips.

However, in some cases, you may also observe abnormal green foliage and roots to become short and stubby.

wilting leaves

Manganese: New leaves tend to be interveinal chlorosis with the poor green area around the veins and necrotic spotting is common.

However, in severe cases, new leaves become smaller and tip dieback can also occur.

Remedies for Nutrients Deficiencies

The following are a few steps you can take to overcome nutrient deficiencies.

These are as follows:

Nitrogen Deficiency: To overcome this deficiency, mulching with organic matters as well as rotten garden compost or manure provides a steady amount of nitrogen to the crops.

This will help stabilize the crops, however, this is a long-term process.

If you want a short-term remedy, apply a high amount of nitrogen fertilizers lime sulfate or ammonia, or poultry manure pellets to solve the problem.

Potassium Deficiency: Applying high potassium fertilizers like potash, tomato feed or organic potassium sources from sugar beet processing can help overcome potassium deficiency.

Magnesium Deficiency: In the short term, you can apply Epsom salt as a foliar feed.

For this dilute it at the rate of 20g of salt per liter of water with a few drops of liquid detergent.

Apply 2 or 3 liters of this mix every fortnight to avoid leaf scorch.

Manganese and Iron Fe Deficiency: For this, you can apply chelated iron and manganese treatments like sequestrate to the soil around the roots of your crops.

Final Thoughts

To sum it all up, macronutrients are important for the plant growth and development of your crops.

These essential elements are not only essential for growth or nitrogen fixation but also crucial for the process of photosynthesis, formation of chlorophyll, and activating different enzymes your crops need for growth and development.

Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are important macronutrients while molybdenum Mo, chlorine Cl, manganese Mn, Nickel Ni, and other amino acids are important for plants as well.

There are times when your crops can face nutrient deficiencies and you can overcome them by applying chemical fertilizers which are instant remedy or organic fertilizers that break down in the soil slowly but is an effective remedy for nutrient deficiencies.

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