Mineral Deficiency

Last updated: November 19, 2021

What Does Mineral Deficiency Mean?

Mineral deficiency is a term that describes the physical symptoms and conditions of a plant when insufficient levels of a specific nutrient or nutrients are present in the soil or grow medium in which the plant grows. Also known as nutrient deficiency, this condition can cause a wide range of symptoms, depending on the nutrient/mineral in question, and the species of plant affected.


Maximum Yield Explains Mineral Deficiency

Like mammals, plants need specific nutrients in order to survive. They obtain those nutrients through the soil in which they grow, and to some extent from the water they absorb. With the correct level of nutrients available, plants will exhibit strong growth, vibrant colors, and healthy fruits. However, if those nutrients are missing, the plant may experience a number of different symptoms due to a mineral deficiency.

A plant suffering from a weak stalk, minor leaf drop, and small, light green leaves may be deficient in nitrogen. A plant with yellowing lower leaves, purple color showing on leaves, and dark green foliage may be suffering from a lack of phosphorus. Potassium deficiency may be noted by mottled lower leaves, dying leaf tips and margins, and leaf yellowing.

Calcium deficiency can be noted by dying shoot tips, hook-shaped leaves, and dying young leaves. If a plant has yellowing lower leaves with green veins, curled leaf margins, and dying older leaves, it may be deficient in magnesium.

Sulfur deficiency can be marked by light green upper leaves and lighter leaf veins, while iron deficiency can be identified by yellowing upper leaves (with green veins) and browning leaf tips and edges.

Manganese deficiency is often identified by dead spots on leaves, and a “netted” appearance on leaves but good growth on shoot tips. Finally, boron deficiency can display as dying shoots and brittle stems.

These are only a few of the minerals that plants require for strong, healthy growth. Many of the symptoms are similar from one nutrient to another, which can make identification difficult. It is important to ensure soil is tested regularly for nutrients. Supplementing with either organic or commercial soil conditioners is often required.


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