Archive for March, 2012

Plant Nutrition Basics

Friday, March 9th, 2012

When gardening indoors, you have to take on certain responsibilities to ensure that your plants are healthy and thriving.  This includes providing all the essential nutrients required for plant growth.  Picking the right fertilizer can seem complicated for there are many different types of organic and inorganic fertilizers to choose from.  Here are a few of the basics that every gardener needs to know to help choose the right fertilizer for your growing needs.

Macronutrients are the nutrients that plants require the most.  Plants require these elements in abundance throughout their life cycle if they are to thrive.  Macronutrients are broken up into three essential elements.


1.  Nitrogen (N) is essential to plant development and growth.  It is important for healthy leaf and stem growth and is needed in large amounts during the vegetative phase.  Nitrogen regulates the plant’s ability to make new protoplasm in the cells and is also necessary for the production of amino acids, enzymes, nucleic acids, chlorophyll and alkaloids.  Nitrogen is needed in smaller amounts during the fruit and flowering phase.  Too much nitrogen can ruin the fruit’s flavor but excess built-up deposits can be flushed out with pH balanced water or a salt clearing solution.

2. Phosphorous (P) is needed in large amounts during germination, cloning, flowering and fruiting phases.  Phosphorous is highly important to a plant’s ability to photosynthesize.  Plant without access to large amounts of phosphorous during the fruit and flowering phase will be stunted in growth and fruit production.

3.  Potassium (K) is used by plants throughout all stages of their development.  Potassium promotes strong root growth and increases a plant’s ability to resist bacteria, molds, pests and stress.  This mineral is also essential to the plant’s ability to regulate the opening of stomata which allows the plant to use light and air more efficiently.

Secondary Nutrients are also required by plants and most all-purpose fertilizers do not contain enough of these nutrients to satisfy the needs of fast growing plants so it is better to use high quality, multipart nutrient solutions.  Secondary nutrients include:

1. Magnesium (Mg) is the most common deficiencies in indoor gardens.  Magnesium is essential to the production of chlorophyll and the absorption of light photons.

2. Calcium (Ca) is require throughout all stages of growth.  Calcium is necessary for the manufacturing and growth of cells and it is essential that plants have calcium in the growing tip of each root for the roots to thrive.

3.  Sulfur (S) is essential in the production of proteins and vitamins.

Lastly, Micronutrients or Trace Elements are required throughout all stages of plant development but are required in small amounts to maintain health and vigor.  Most quality nutrient formulas will contain a full range of trace elements.  Trace Elements include: Zinc, Manganese, Iron, Boron, Chlorine, Cobalt, Molybdenum, Copper, and Silicon.

Just remember when choosing a nutrient line, be sure to use the manufacturer’s recommended guidelines.  Thank you to our friends at Maximum Yield for most of this great information.  Be sure to stop by one of our locations today to discuss any of our nutrient lines in more depth.  Hope to see you soon!

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