plant nutrition

Learn everything about plant nutrition

The study of plant nutrition is really important to determine which substances are essential for their life cycle. Such knowledge makes it possible to identify how elements are absorbed, transported and accumulated, as well as their roles, needs and inconveniences caused when they are present in insufficient or excessive amounts.

Knowing this is one of the main traits of a good farmer. After all, they deal daily with the benefits of plant development. Continue reading this article and learn more about plant nutrition!

Plant nutrition and the role of photosynthesis

Contrary to what happens with animals, plants feed themselves through their own production by using minerals, carbon dioxide, light and water to develop their own food. Therefore, they are considered autotrophs.

All the necessary elements that plants need to stay alive are obtained from the environment in which they live. This can be done in a natural way, in which the plant survives alone and receives the influence of the environment in which it grows, or in an artificial way, provided by man-made efforts such as fertilization and soil irrigation, for example.

With the development of technologies for better plant nutrition, techniques have become increasingly efficient and punctual. In this sense, knowing the role of each nutrient in plant development is essential to ensure good results.


Photosynthesis is a concept that must be understood by both experienced and novice farmers. This process is nothing more than the way the plant uses water, sunlight and nutrients found in the soil to produce energy to grow.

If any of these substrates is lacking, the plant is considered incapable of producing energy, so its development can be compromised.

Essential nutrients for plant health

Most plants are made up of water, and the rest is called dry material. This mass is made up of only three elements: hydrogen, carbon and oxygen. Carbon comes from air, and oxygen and hydrogen come from water.

Therefore, the soil is responsible for a small percentage of the plant’s composition, which does not mean that it is less important. After all, it provides the essential macro and micronutrients for plant development.

Check out the roles of each nutrient in plants.


These are the nutrients plants need in greater quantities. Among them are those listed below.


It is essential for forming proteins. It is also part of metabolism compounds such as vitamins, hormones and enzymes.


It acts on energy production and respiration. It intensifies cell division, composes some reserve substances (such as starch), accelerates maturation, facilitates flowering and increases fruiting. It also contributes to the general health of the plant and to the development of the root system, among other benefits.


It is used in the preparation of sugars and starch. It is essential for fruit formation and ripening, increasing tissue rigidity, favoring the development of the root system and increasing the plant’s resistance to pests.


It stimulates the absorption of other ions. It is essential to maintain the function and structure of membranes. It also influences the balance between the sap’s alkalinity and acidity.


It takes part in the composition of chlorophyll and other substances.


It is associated with nitrogen in protein composition.


They are used by plants in small amounts. The most important ones are listed below.


It is critical to cells that are in the multiplication phase. It is also important for the germination of the pollen grain, for the formation of roots, flowers and fruits, for cation absorption and sap movement.


It is related to photosynthesis and takes part in the breakdown of water molecules.


It activates several of the plant’s enzymes. It is critical to the oxidation and reduction processes of plants.


It is used in chlorophyll formation, in enzymatic processes and in nitrogen absorption.


It is also used in chlorophyll formation, respiration, and nitrate reactions. It acts as a catalyst in some metabolic processes and participates in vitamin C formation.


It acts in nitrogen transport, absorption and fixation.


It takes part in plant growth.

Diseases caused by poor plant nutrition

When they are malnourished, plants are susceptible to diseases and harmful insects attacks. Therefore, the lack or deficiency of an element prevents plants from completing their biological cycle.

In addition, excess substances can also harm the development of the plant. These problems can be easily identified and avoided by the farmer who knows the signs of lack or abundance of nutrients in plants.

As each element has a particular role in the plant’s development, the absence of any of them can cause changes in their color, in the shape of the leaf or fruit, in the structures’ growth capacity and even in the concentration of minerals and vitamins in these products. This is a very serious flaw, especially when we consider productions developed for human or animal nutrition.

How to choose the best fertilizers

Choosing the right products is essential for plant nutrition to be effective and safe. Complete fertilizers are good options to avoid overdosing, which can be just as harmful as nutrient deficiencies. That is why we always recommend seeking an agronomist’s advice.

A good fertilizer is one that combines all the necessary micronutrients and macronutrients for the correct development of plantations at the appropriate levels. Another good option is to invest in liquid products, which provide uniform application and a faster nutritional response.

An important point is to observe the stage of the plants’ development. By doing this, it is possible to analyze what are the vegetables’ main nutrient demands. Each step requires a specific nutrient (or a set of them).

In conventional agriculture, plant nutrition occurs almost exclusively through three nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, which form the fertilizer called NPK. The absorption of these elements depends on the species and age of the plant, the availability of the substance and other factors in nature, such as light, oxygen, temperature and humidity. Knowing more about this subject is extremely important to obtain the best possible results.

Did you enjoy learning more about plant nutrition? Then give our Facebook page a like and stay on top of other content like this!


Want to get more content like this for free?

Sign up to receive our content by email.

Email registered successfully
Oops! Invalid email, please check if the email is correct.

Say what's in your mind

Your email address will not be published.