Soil and Nutrients Guide

The following table is a guide for the possible elements that will affect plant growth. A checklist of sorts to “troubleshoot” some of the issues faced with your plant.

Element Specifically aids Symptoms of deficiency Possible causes
Nitrogen Leaf and shoot growth. Pale foliage, poor growth, and may develop reddish or yellow discoloration. Older leaves are affected first, as the nitrogen is moved from into the newer growth when in short supply. Most common soils with low organic matter or where undecomposed organic matter is added to soil in large quantities
Phosphorous Root growth. The plant’s overall growth, including flowering and fruiting and the growth and the development of the seeds, is affected. Most common on acidic soils or following heavy watering or rain.
Potassium Flowering and fruiting; wood ripening; tissue strengthening. leaves may show scorching of the tips. fruiting and flowering may be reduced on tomatoes it causes blotchy ripening. Most common on sandy soils and on chalk.
Magnesium Chlorophyll formation
(the green pigments in plants)
Leaves, particularly the older ones, show yellowing in the veins and the edges. when it is in short supply, magnesium is moved from the older tissues to the new one, young foliage rarely shows any symptoms. Most common on sandy soils and the following heavy watering or rain, or heavy applications or potassium.
Calcium Formation of plant cell walls The most commonly seen symptoms are bitter pit than apples and blossom end rot of tomatoes. foliage may also reduced in size and distorted. Most common on acidic soils, and on plants growing in any soil that is not adequately watered to allow the plant to take up calcium.
Iron chlorophyll formation Leaf yellowing, mainly between the veins on young leaves and the most apparent on the young leaf growth. Most common on alkaline soils.
Manganese chlorophyll formation Yellowing between the veins on the young leaves is the most common symptom. Most common on alkaline soils and waterlogged or poorly draining soils.