Know your Plant's Nutrient Needs
This is Part 4 of an 8-part series on becoming a Hydro Pro:
- Part 1 – How to Choose Your Indoor Growing Setup
- Part 2 – How to Germinate Your Seeds
- Part 3 – How to Transfer Your Plants
- Part 4 – [You are here] Know Your Plant's Nutrient Needs
- Part 5 – The Vegetative Stage
- Part 6 – How to Clone your Plants
- Part 7 – The Flowering Stage
- Part 8 – The Harvesting Stage
Nutrients are very important for plants. They are the ones responsible for your plants' lush green leaves, beautiful flowers, and fresh yields.
Needless to say, having too much or too little nutrient concentration will greatly affect your plants' growth and yields.
In this episode, we will discuss everything you need to know about nutrients.
So get your reading glasses on and let start learning about plant nutrients.
Kinds of Plant Nutrients
There are two main categories when it comes to the elements or nutrients that plants essentially needs. They are the non-mineral nutrients and mineral nutrients.
These nutrients are found in air and water and help plants breakdown the other nutrients it needs. These are:
- H - Hydrogen
- C - Carbon
- O - Oxygen
Mineral nutrients, on the other hand, are found in the soil. As for hydroponic set-up, it is included in most nutrient packages. These nutrients are further subdivided into two categories - the macronutrients and micronutrients.
The macronutrients are the following:
These nutrients are consumed by plants in a much smaller quantity but none the less important. They are the following:
How to Use Nutrient Solutions
Now, for the second part of this episode, we will discuss the step by step process of using a nutrient package for your hydroponic grow system
Supplies that You’ll Need
- Hydroponic System
- Nutrient Solution Instructions
- Nutrient Solution
- PH Testing Kit
- TDS Pen
- Measuring Instruments
Let's jump right into step one!
Adding Nutrients to Your Grow System
What to do in case TDS levels are too high?
Simple! Just add a PH conditioned water to dilute the solution.
Water and Air Temperature
Do not forget to consider the water and air temperature. The temperature is going to dictate how much each of the minerals is being absorbed through the roots. The temperature will affect the effectiveness of the solution.
Always keep the temperature in the ideal zone (78F - 83F or 26C - 28C).
Nutrient Overdose and Deficiencies
A nutrient overdose or deficiency happens when your plants have had too much or too little nutrients.
Nutrient overdose is quite easy to detect as it involves yellowing or crisping at the tip of the leaves. If this occurs, simply add PH conditioned water to your reservoir to dilute the solution.
Now, this is a little bit harder to diagnose because the visible symptoms of many deficiencies are similar. If you are not careful in diagnosing these deficiencies, it may result to inappropriate corrective action, thus worsening the situation.
Major Nutrient Deficiency
Here are the characteristics of plants whose is experiencing major nutrient deficiency.
- Pale green-yellow leaves
- Not enough chlorophyll
- Symptoms begin in lower leaves
- Very slow growth
- Brown scorching & curling of leaf tips
- Chlorosis - yellowing between the leave veins
- Possible purple spots
- Plant growth, root development, seed & fruit development are greatly reduced
- Purplish blue tinge
- Stunted growth
- Small and potentially foul tasting, smelly fruits & veggies
- Leaves have a marbled appearance
- Symptoms appear in older leaves
- Necrosis & dropping of older leaves
- Produce very small fruits and flowers
- New growth is affected first
- Localized tissue necrosis or brown crisp spots
- Severe cases will show curling of leaves
- Death of root tip
- Lead to stunted discolored, bitter, fruits, and vegetables
- Uniform pale green chlorosis
- Pale vein, do not retain a green color
- Severe cases, purple or reddish pigmentation
- Severe stunting, reduce size, less branching
It is extremely unlikely that you will face deficiency in micronutrients since plants only need them in small parts.
I hope you had fun learning about nutrients! Stay tuned for our next episode when we discuss the plant’s vegetative stage.