Hydroponic Fertilizer – The Macro Nutrients

In my reading I’ve read that there are between 13 and 17 essential plant nutrients. I think the people who say there are 17 are padding the list a bit since they include carbon, oxygen and hydrogen and sometimes water but that is all academic. When you get down to the nitty gritty most people who think think of hydroponic fertilizer when they think of the chemicals you add to the water. And when your thinking of plant food there are 3 groups of nutrients on your mind: the Primary Macronutrients, the Secondary macronutrients and the micronutrients. In this article I’m going to deal with the Macronutrients and the red head step child of plant nutrition calcium.

The macronutrients are the most important nutrients to the health of your plant.The macronutrients are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium. They are the NPK you read about on the labels of Hydroponic fertilizer.

Nitrogen(N)
Nitrogen is essential for the healthy leaf growth and is an important part of the chlorophyll that give plants a healthy green color. Without enough nitrogen plant growth slows down and new leaves are stunted and pale.

Phosphorus (p)
Phosphorus is essential for good root growth and flowering and seed production.Phosphorus also is important in plant metabolism. Plants that are not getting enough phosphorus are stunted and may show a purplish coloring to the foliage.

Potassium (K)
Potassium is the 3rd of the big three plant nutrients Sometimes potassium will be called potash. It is used by the plant in a lot of enzymes and to control how water is used in the plant. If a plant isn’t getting enough potassium it will be more sensitive to drought and excess water and to high and low temperatures. Potassium has a huge effect on the quality of the produce your growing and your plants general pest and disease resistance.

Calcium(Ca)
Calcium which is a general considered a secondary macronutrient along with magnesium and sulfur is my candidate for the fourth primary macro nutrient. Calcium plays an important role in nutrient transport the strength of the plant and the quality of the produce. Calcium deficiency result in stunting of the plants growth and weaker plants. But here is a little known factoid, calcium makes up a larger percentage of plant material then potassium. Because calcium makes up such a large percentage of plant material, I consider it the fourth primary macro nutrient.

These four elements form the back bone of any hydroponic fertilizer program. A good quality hydroponic fertilizer will have these 4 ingredients as well as magnesium,and sulfur,the other secondary macronutrients and iron, copper, manganese, zinc, boron, molybdenum and chlorine, the micronutrients. These 13 plant elements are the reason hydroponic nutrient feed plants so effectively.

One Response to “Hydroponic Fertilizer – The Macro Nutrients”

  1. [...] my last article I discussed the Primary macronutrients in Hydroponic Fertilizer and calcium which is considered a secondary macronutrient but which I think should be considered a [...]

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