The balance of nutrients in the planting solution is essential to a healthy and productive garden, and a lack of one or more of the vital nutrients can cause stunted growth, poor production, or in the worst case, can even kill your plants. When a plant isn’t getting the love it needs its going to tell you. I know this might sound crazy but, the easiest way to tell if your system is experiencing a nutrient deficiency is to watch your plants!
A nutrient deficiency in plants occurs when one or more of the plants necessary food elements is missing or not being properly absorbed by the plant. Some nutrients, such as nitrogen, can cause the leaf growth to be stunted or older leaves to burn. Below you will see the left leaf showing iron deficiencies and the right leaf showing symptoms of magnesium deficiencies:
Magnesium and Iron Deficiencies in Plants
The University of Arizona published a great study reviewing plant nutrient deficiencies. They laid out each nutrient element and explained its deficiency symptoms. If you would like a University published breakdown of each elements deficiency symptoms click here! Maybe you think that your nutrient solution is no longer sufficient, or your plants are not producing the way you want them to? Then it just might be time to flush the system and replace the solution.
Most indoor gardening nutrient solutions come pre-mixed with the balance of nutrients that you will need to grow the most common fruits and vegetables. While this mix works well for a great number of plants, there are some that may require a more specialized nutrient blend. These picky plants will often leech out the nutrients that they need, leaving the rest of the plants wanting. Remember that too much or too little of something is never a good thing and that stands true for your nutrients!