16 essential nutrients for plants growth

Essential nutrients for plants

What is essential nutrients for plants growth

Essential nutrients for plants are those elements without which the plant can not grow and can not complete its life cycle. There are 16 essential nutrients are required for plants growth and development.

When the seed comes in the form of a small plant after germination, the food stored in the seed starts getting exhausted. So the plants need food for further growth.

Plants make their food in the form of carbohydrates by taking sunlight, chlorophyll (green part) from the leaves, Carbon-dioxide from the air and water from the land. Plants absorb nutrients from the soil in the form of solution or liquid through the roots.

List of 16 essential nutrients for plants growth

  1. Carbon
  2. Hydrogen
  3. Oxygen
  4. Nitrogen
  5. Phosphorus
  6. Potassium
  7. Calcium
  8. Magnesium
  9. Sulphur
  10. Boron
  11. Copper
  12. Iron
  13. Manganese
  14. Molybdenum
  15. Zinc
  16. Chlorine

Most of the plant parts (94-99.4%) are made up of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen and the remaining 0.6-6% of the plant parts are the nutrients obtained from the soil. The chances of being deficient in carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are usually very low except during drought.

Therefore, these elements do not hinder the growth of plants. But the lack of elements obtained from the soil can hinder the growth of plants.

According to the amount of nutrients taken by plants from the soil, essential nutrients for plants can be mainly divided into two parts.

  1. Macronutrients
  2. Micronutrients

1. Macronutrients

These nutrients are absorbed in greater amount from the soil. These include hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and Sulfur.

Macronutrients can be further divided into two parts-

  1. Major Nutrients
  2. Secondary Nutrients
  • Major Nutrients- Plants need these nutrients in Greater amount comparatively than secondary and micronutrients. We include Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen, Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potash in the major nutrients.
  • Secondary Nutrients- Calcium, magnesium and sulfur are known as secondary nutrients. Plants need these nutrients less than nitrogen, phosphorus and potash but more than micronutrients, so we call them secondary nutrients.

2. Micronutrients

Boron, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, zinc and chlorine are known as micronutrients. These nutrients are absorbed by plants in very small amounts from the soil. That’s why they are called micronutrients. But micronutrients are also as essential as macro-nutrients for plant growth and completion of life cycle.

Therefore, essential nutrients for plants can be divided into three parts, Major Nutrients, Secondary Nutrients and Micronutrients.

Forms of nutrients in which they are absorbed by plants from the soil

Plants absorb nutrients from the soil in the form of a solution through their roots. Some nutrients are absorbed by plants alone and some in combination as shown in the following table-

NutrientsSymbolsNutrients absorption forms
IronFeFe++ (Ferrous), Fe+++ (ferric)
CopperCuCu+ (Cuprous), Cu++ (Cupric)
NitrogenNNH2 (amide), NO3 (Nitrate), NH4+ (Ammonium)
PhosphorusPPO4 , HPO4 , H2PO4
SulfurSSO3 (Sulfite) SO4 (Sulfate)
BoronBBO3(Borate), H3BO3 (Boric acid)
MolybdenumMoMoO4-2 (Molybdate)
HydrogenHH+, HOH
Oxygen O2 O2 , OH, CO2, CO3, SO4

Nitrogen given in the form of Urea (NH2CONH2) can be absorbed by plants in the form of amide (NH2). Crops like paddy or crops in low lying areas where water is stagnant, plants absorb nitrogen in Ammoniacal (NH4+) form.

In all other crops where air circulation is suitable in the soil, nitrogen is absorbed in the form of nitrate (NO3).

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Hello friends, I am Jitendra Rathore, Author & Founder of "New Agri India". I am graduate in agriculture. I love to share proper knowledge related to agriculture with the people.

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