Top Signs Your Plants Are Starving For Nutrients

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October 9, 2019

Sometimes it’s challenging to understand what’s going on in the garden, even when we think we’re doing everything right. But are all of your plants’ needs being met? 

Some symptoms will be more apparent than others, but all of them are signs that your garden is being deprived of essential nutrients. When that happens, you may as well forget about high yields because the plants will struggle to produce fertile flowers and fruits. 

  • Leaves looking purplish-red

This symptom is a red flag for low phosphorus levels which will disrupt the normal function of chloroplasts and interfere with photosynthesis.

Photosynthesis occurs with the help of chlorophyll — green pigments that make the absorption of energy from light possible. Nitrogen and magnesium are two fundamental elements that make up these molecules.

Without them, a plant will not be green, and growth will be stunted because the cycle of respiration is impossible.

  • Slower growth

Plants all have individual growth rates, but it’s often evident when something is wrong because they stop developing. Still, it might be hard to find out what exactly has gone wrong when there’s no other sign but stunted growth.

Begin by looking for and eliminating various pests that might be hindering your patch of flowers or vegetables – for example, mites, aphids, caterpillars and other insects.

Extreme temperatures and poor soil conditions are common causes for growing problems, as is excessive fertilization!

  • Chlorosis

Chlorosis is leaf discoloration. The nutrients in charge of this defect are chloride, potassium, and magnesium. When levels are low, all three can cause blemishes to appear on the plant.

To fix it quickly, apply some rocky additives to the soil. Epson salts are the most effective and add an extra punch of magnesium.

As for the other chemical elements, buy specific fertilizers that contain those nutrients. Be careful not to add too much too quickly; instant fixes don’t exist for these situations.

  • Flowers not showing or falling off

A plant will only grow flowers whenever it feels that there’s potential for its offspring to survive under the external conditions.

Although this is mostly true when the plants don’t enter their reproductive stage by lack of necessary ambient conditions, it also hints to the issue of crippled vigor caused by nutrient deficiencies.

Once the blossoms start to bud, you’re not out of the woods yet. Many flowers can and will fall. Their rate of conversion into healthy fruits will also be as low as the fertility your soil happens to have.

  • Leaves having burnt tips

Chalk this symptom up to another case of phosphorus depletion, which can be avoided by sprinkling bone meal over the soil and leaves. Be sure not to use significant dosages of this and other macronutrients, as they contribute to the contamination of underground waters and superficial layers of soil. By reacting with other chemical elements, they’ll quickly generate compounds more toxic than their original forms.

  • Necrosis

Necrosis is the death of a living plant’s organ, or portion of it.

All good things come to an end, and so do some plant tissues when they’re malnourished. Necrosis means the death of a living plant’s organ or a portion of it.

It’ll cause dark spots and shriveling that can be either damp or dry to the touch, but the final result is pretty much the same: a rotten tissue that cannot be repaired.

Apart from pruning the dead bits, little can be done to salvage a plant from this kind of damage. Just be sure to maintain healthy and hygienic conditions in your garden, as necrosis can occur for a variety of reasons, such as disease, direct physical damage, and, obviously, improper nourishment.

Follow these tips to identify plants in your yard that aren’t getting enough to eat. Supplement them slowly and steadily until they’re replenished and back to their usual liveliness.

Ricardo Elisiário
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Ricardo Elisiário

Ricardo Elisiário is a frenetic freelance writer for hire. He should probably act more like the agricultural engineer he is, yet you’ll find him creating copy and content for websites, print, and his own amusement, as he’s up to becoming the new Dickens someday. To find out more about this Lisbon-born wifey-lover, visit his website or say hello @rmelisiario.
Ricardo Elisiário
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