Uptake of nutrients from the environment is essential for plants to maintain their vital functions. They can be taken up from the soil via the roots and from the air via plant parts above ground, such as leaves. The macronutrients, also called main nutrients, are the most important. The plants have to absorb them in large quantities. The exact need for nutrients is different for each plant species, but the general metabolic processes are the same.
However, the most important nutrient elements do not only include mineral nutrients, because plants also need oxygen, water, sunlight and carbon dioxide or the non-mineral nutrient elements contained in them to survive.
Plants need oxygen for their cell respiration and to supply the cells with energy. Through photosynthesis, plants produce oxygen themselves during the day, but only the green part of the plants is supplied with it. To supply the roots and in the dark, the plants have to absorb oxygen from the air as O2. A lack of oxygen occurs, for example, with waterlogging and the plants die.
Plants need water for the process of photosynthesis and as a means of transport for plant nutrients and metabolites. Water can be taken up from the soil as H2O via the roots and transported to the leaves, flowers and fruits. Water can also be absorbed from the air or from raindrops that land on the plant parts above ground. Stomach openings in the leaves allow the water to evaporate again. If there is drought stress, the internal cell pressure, also known as turgor, drops, the plants let their leaves droop and begin to wither. If the soil is too wet, the plants can suffer from a lack of oxygen, the roots rot and do not absorb enough water and nutrients, causing the plants to wither.
During the day, plants absorb carbon dioxide CO2 from the air. They convert the carbon contained therein into carbohydrates, more precisely into sugar and starch, via photosynthesis. These are required for the development of biomass, i.e. leaves, wood, roots and fruits.
The most elementary main nutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. These nutrients are known because they form the three main components in the popular NPK fertilizers. This is because all of the major nutrients are required in very high amounts for healthy plant growth.
Nitrogen is an important component for the growth of plants and necessary for photosynthesis and thus intensive leaf green. It is also required for the production of proteins as well as enzymes and DNA of plants. A lack of nitrogen causes bright leaves, poor growth and poor root development. With an excess of nitrogen, the leaves of the plants become dark green, susceptible to diseases, and the shoots become long and weak.
Phosphorus is important for the entire metabolism of plants and is required for the formation of flowers, seeds and fruits. It is also important for healthy growth, especially root growth and leaf green formation. A lack of phosphorus leads to growth disorders of the entire biomass, especially roots remain small and discolour. Too little phosphorus leads to problems with flower formation and leaf tip dryness. An excess of phosphorus leads to a blockage in the absorption of iron and copper and the leaves turn light green.
Potassium is necessary for the regulation of the water balance and increases the frost resistance and drought resistance of plants. It strengthens cell tissue and improves the formation of carbohydrates. Potassium promotes the development of roots and tubers as well as the development of fruit and vegetable aromas. A lack of potassium causes the plants to wilt despite an adequate water supply. An excess of potassium leads to stunted growth, root burns and eventual plant death.
Calcium deacidifies the soil and ensures good aeration of the soil. The plant availability of other nutrients is improved by a sufficient supply of calcium. The stomata of leaves are regulated, cell membranes are strengthened and cell division is stimulated. It promotes natural resistance to disease attacks. A lack of calcium is indicated by brown spots on new leaves. Older leaves curl up, leaves turn dark green and the quality of yields decreases. Fading too early and weak stems are also consequences of a deficiency. If there is an excess of calcium, the leaves will be light and other nutrients will become blocked, meaning that they can no longer be absorbed.
Magnesium plays an important role in the formation of leaf green, also known as chlorophyll. It is also essential for regulating the water balance of plants and for the formation of proteins. If there is a lack of magnesium, only small fruits and roots form. The leaves turn yellow, the veins remain green at first, before the plants finally dry out completely. Too much magnesium leads to a potassium deficiency.
Sulfur is needed for building proteins and cell membranes within plants. It is involved in many metabolic processes and, as a component of special compounds, renders heavy metals harmless and protects plants from being eaten by insects. With a lack of sulfur, stems remain thin and woody, and since sulfur is rather immobile in plants, only the young leaves lose their leafy green. Too much sulfur in the soil causes acidification. If there is an excess, older leaves react with a pale green discoloration and purple spots.
Our FARBIO® organic fertilizer for green plants is a natural nutrient complex that provides your houseplant with all the main nutrients and thus supports the development of lush green leaves and magnificent flowers.