Fundamentals: Feeding Plants (Part 1)

Plants need more than you might think, to grow.

Sun and water are just part of formula. In fact, plants need Light, Macronutrients, and Micronutrients. It's definitely a science, but fertilizer makes it easy.

Different plants utilize certain wavelengths from the light spectrum for photosynthesis. Applying specific wavelengths at particular times in plant growth can produce a variety of qualities like softer kale, or crunchier spinach.

Plants require nine macronutrients to survive: Carbon, Nitrogen, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sulfur, Calcium, Magnesium. Generally these come from a fertilizer because soil does not contain enough.

Carbon, Hydrogen, and Oxygen are the structural elements of plant life. Plants pull carbon dioxide from the air and others from water pulled in through roots. 

Magnesium and Calcium are also pulled in through roots to work with micronutrients to balance ions in plants. Sulfur is another critical macronutrient, but occurs so abundantly in soils and fertilizers that sulfur deficiencies are extremely rare.

Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), and Potassium (K) are also pulled through the roots of a plant. These three macronutrients are often represented on fertilizers by the N-P-K ratio. Healthy plant growth requires adequate amounts of these three important macronutrients.

Plants need micronutrients, but the amounts required are very small. The following micronutrients are important for balanced pant health: Boron, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Zinc, Chlorine, Nickel.

Deficiencies in micronutrients cause different abnormalities in plants.