Macronutrient deficiency symptoms in plants

Symptoms of macro- and micronutrient deficiencies and excesses in plants

plant minerals

House plants need mineral micro- and macronutrients for good growth and development. If they are lacking, the indoor favorite suffers hail and may even die. An overabundance of minerals is also bad for its condition. The main source of micro- and macronutrients for plants is soil. If minerals are lacking, use the proper fertilizer for fertilization. And if they are in high concentrations, transplant the plant into new soil.

How do you know if your collection is correct? Look at your plants. So what minerals are important for indoor flowers?

plant minerals

Photo: Flowertimes.RU

This macronutrient is necessary for the construction of plant cells, the process of photosynthesis.


Lack of nitrogen leads to the weakening of the room pet. Young shoots become thin, short, leaves small, buds and flowers wither, fall off.

One of the characteristic symptoms is a change in the color of the leaf, starting with the veins. The areas adjacent to each other on the veins become light green and then turn yellow. Sometimes they turn brown or reddish. Older leaves are the first to suffer, usually the lower leaves. The roots and the top develop poorly. When neglected, the entire plant turns yellow.

To save your pet, make a fertilizer. Choose organic fertilizers that contain nitrogen, such as B. organus.


High nitrogen content leads to rapid growth of greenery. Many young shoots appear, but they are too short or very long. Leaves grow large and large. However, flowering almost ceases.

The skin of the leaf plate and stems is thin and often bursts. This makes the indoor plant susceptible to fungal diseases and rot.


plant minerals


A macronutrient involved in the process of photosynthesis.


A deficiency of this particular mineral is most often found in indoor plants. They should alert you to a change in the color of the leaves. In iron deficiency, the areas between the veins become white or yellow. But the color of the veins themselves remain normal. The process of discoloration starts with the young upper leaves. In addition, they become small.

With a large iron deficiency, the leaf plates are covered with large yellow spots with dead areas. The plant becomes weaker and may die.

At the first negative manifestations, feed your indoor pet with Hesi fertilizer, which contains iron. You will notice when the levels of this macronutrient normalize: the plant will show young leaves of normal color.

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Symptoms of too high concentration of iron – slow growth of the room flower, death of young shoots. In this case, the leaf plates acquire a dark color, often bluish.

plant minerals


A trace element that is part of many enzymes. It is necessary for redox reactions, the formation of starch and carbohydrates.


The first symptoms of mineral deficiency are brownish spots on the lower old leaves. Over time, they take on a bronze hue, and then the leaf plates die off. Gradually, the damage spreads to the whole plant.

At the same time, small young leaves are formed, which often curl. Young shoots are short, the growth of internodes is disturbed. Then, bronze spots form on the stems.

If you notice these symptoms, immediately start saving your pet. Feed with Hesi mineral fertilizer, which contains a trace element.


It’s pretty hard not to notice excess zinc. You will definitely notice tubercles on the top of the leaves. In addition, watery whitish spots appear on the underside.


plant minerals


A micronutrient needed for phosphorus and nitrogen metabolism.


The first sign of molybdenum deficiency are yellow spots on the edges of the leaves and between the veins. The color of the veins does not change. Leaves curl and wither. Young leaves are green, but quickly become spotty. The flowers of the plant are irregularly shaped.

A fertilizer containing molybdenum, such as one from Valagro, can help the pet.


An excess of the trace element provokes weakening of the plant, its lethargy. Light spots appear on the leaves, growth points do not develop.


plant minerals


This macronutrient is important for the process of photosynthesis, the formation of beautiful flowers.


If the leaves become dull, with dark green or purple spots on them, it is likely that the plant suffers from a lack of phosphorus. At the same time, purple spots form on the underside of the leaves along the veins. Above all, the older leaves suffer. They dry out, fall off and become almost black.

The plant develops poorly, the young leaves are weak, and flowering is delayed.

Signs of phosphorus deficiency? Use BioBizz fertiliser with this macronutrient.


Too much phosphorus in the soil leads to a massive yellowing and falling off of the leaves. Leaves will be irregularly shaped.


plant minerals


Macronutrient important for the normal development of the root system.


Mineral deficiency is first manifested on young shoots and leaves. They are covered with light gray or brown spots, become twisted, curved. Over time, the shoots and the top die off. The houseplant does not grow well, it is low, stunted.

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Valagro fertilizers can help replenish the calcium in your collection. They contain this macronutrient.


Too much calcium is indicated by bright, unevenly shaped spots on the leaves. These spots are in between the veins.


plant minerals


One of the most important macronutrients necessary for good plant immunity and normal water balance.


The main symptom of potassium deficiency is the drying of the edges of the leaves, similar to a burn. In addition, brownish spots form on the leaf plate and the veins appear dented.

Stems and shoots are weak, drooping, and flowers do not develop or form small ones.

It is very important to recognize signs of potassium deficiency in time. To help your pet, use Osmocote fertilizer.


Excess potassium leads to stunted flower growth, small young leaves and darkened old leaves.


plant minerals


This trace element is necessary for the processes of photosynthesis, the proper functioning of the immune system of the plant.


Initially, whitish or yellowish spots appear between the veins at the base of the upper leaves. Gradually they proliferate and take over the entire disc. This leads to its withering, falling off. The growth of the house flower slows down.

If you notice such phenomena, feed the plant with a fertilizer such as B. brand HESI.


An excess of one or another micronutrient is dangerous in case of general stunting of the pet. Brown spots form on the leaf plate.

plant minerals


A micronutrient necessary for the emergence of discs and flowers, fighting infections.


Shoots become brittle from bormatuha, top traps. Small brown dots form on the leaf plates, which gradually increase in size. The veins turn black and burst. The leaf curls up into a tube. Flowers fall off, new buds do not form.

If you notice these unpleasant symptoms, apply Valagro boron fertilizer immediately.


Boron-containing soil causes brown spots on older leaves. They dry out and fall off.

plant minerals


This trace element is important for photosynthesis and respiration processes, resistance to fungal diseases.


The process of defeat begins with the upper leaves. They become large, whitish, the ends of the shields dry up. Points wither, new shoots do not form, flowering stops.

Feeding is the first signs of copper deficiency. HESI fertilizers containing the trace element give a good effect.

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This condition is quite dangerous. An excess of copper leads to stunted growth of the indoor flower. The lower leaves turn brown and fall off. Gradually, the process of wilting covers the entire plant.

Macro- and micronutrients are very important for the growth, development and lush flowering of indoor collections. Keep an eye on the condition of your pets and feed them in time. And you are sure to thank you with beautiful flowers and bright greenery.

Finding nutrient deficiencies on a plant’s leaves

Determining nutrient deficiencies in plant leaves


Lack of nutrients in the soil inevitably affects the appearance of plants. This fact has long been accepted by agronomists and farmers. It’s not always possible to quickly carry out a soil analysis to find out what the plants are missing. And with a precise inspection of the leaves, this can be determined quite accurately and appropriate fertilization can be carried out.

This method of rapid diagnosis is useful not only for farmers who work on large areas, but also for dacha farmers, gardeners, floriculturists and owners of greenhouses. It can also be successfully used in the cultivation of indoor plants. The main thing is to learn to recognize the signs of a lack of certain elements and immediately respond to the needs of growing plants.

Nutrient deficiencies

Nitrogen (n)

Nitrogen is the most important growth regulator. Therefore, if it is lacking, the development and growth of the whole plant is inhibited: new shoots are short and thin, inflorescences are weak, leaves are small. First, yellowing and lightening of the leaves – veins – begins. Then the nitrogen deficiency spreads throughout the plant, which can lead to leaf drop and early ripening of the fruit.

Signs of Nitrogen deficiency on leaves

Solution. To compensate for the lack of nitrogen, you need to apply ammonium nitrate: 45-50 g per 1 m 2.

Phosphorus (P).

Phosphorus is the main activator of flowering and fruiting of plants. A lack of phosphorus is easy to identify: First, a slight blueness appears, which turns into brown coloring of the leaves. At the same time, the color of the leaves remains dark green, sometimes bluish, matte. Brown spots and a purple tint may also appear on the stems.

Signs of leaf phosphorus deficiency

Solution. To compensate for the lack of phosphorus, superphosphate fertilizer should be applied: 65 g per 1 m 2.

Potassium (K)

Potassium is the basic building block of all plants. Its deficiency is evident in the shape of the edge of the leaves. Sometimes it can be confused with sun scald, but unlike potassium deficiency, the lesion starts with older leaves and spreads to the youngest leaves. This problem is especially noticeable during flowering and fruiting seasons. Small brown spots may also appear on the leaves. If the potassium deficiency is severe, the leaves begin to dry out and fall off.

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Signs of potassium deficiency on leaves

Solution. To compensate for the lack of this element, you can produce potassium nitrate: 45-55 g per 1 m 2.

Calcium (approx.).

Calcium deficiency is immediately noticeable by the young leaves: they are deformed, bubbling and curling. However, the plant continues to develop, so that to an inexperienced observer it seems that everything is fine.

Signs of calcium deficiency on leaves

Solution. Calcium is a substance that is difficult to obtain. It is better to make up for its deficiency in two ways.

Magnesium (mg).

If magnesium is deficient, the veins remain dark, the rest of the leaf is lighter. There are small spots of yellow, red and brown between the veins. The edges of the leaves curl, form a dome shape, and then gradually die off.

Signs of magnesium deficiency on leaves

Solution. You need to take potassium magnesia and prepare a solution of 7-10 g per 2 liters of water. With the prepared solution, spray the entire plant and fill the main area.

Iron (Fe).

If iron deficiency occurs, the leaves become pale – known as chlorosis. The plant continues to grow, but the lack of iron is clearly visible on the young leaves: all new leaves have a light green, light yellow or even white hue.

Signs of iron deficiency on leaves, chlorosis

Solution. To make up for the lack of iron, you need to create the following solution: 5 g of iron vitriol and 3.5 g of citric acid per 2 liters of water. The liquid should be well shaken and allowed to boil for 10 minutes. Water the soil liberally with the solution obtained.

Copper (Cu)

If there is a lack of copper, a whitish shade appears all over the leaves, starting with the leaves. Young shoots begin to wilt and stunt their growth. The plant suffers a severe shock and stalking is delayed.

Signs of copper deficiency on leaves

Solution. Add 5 g of copper sulfate to the floor in the basal area or prepare a solution: add 10 g of copper sulfate and 12 g of potassium nitrate to 2 liters of water. Spray the whole system with this solution.

Zinc (ZN).

The lack of this element is clearly visible. Leaves turn yellow and take on a light green color, the small ashes are brownish in color. In especially neglected cases, the entire foliage turns bronze in color. Zinc deficiency first appears on older leaves, but then new leaves with small yellow spots grow. The spots gradually spread to the stems of the plant, and the edges of the leaves begin to curl.

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Signs of Zinc deficiency on leaves

Solution. To make up for the lack of this element, you need zinc fertilizer – salpetic acid. 8 g of this substance is taken in 2 liters of water, the solution is well poured and infused for 10 minutes. The resulting solution is abundant.

Boron (B).

Boron is the main carrier of nutrients throughout the plant. With a lack of this trace element, plant growth slows dramatically: the upper buds die off, side shoots begin to develop intensively, the plant bushy. Leaves become light green, sometimes ruffled.

Signs of boron deficiency on leaves

Solution. To make up for the lack of this element you need boric acid: 5 g per 2 liters of water. Whisk well, spray the whole plant and water the root zone.

Manganese (Mn)

Manganese is the most important regulating element in the formation of sugar in the plant. If this element is deficient, slight chlorosis and yellowing of leaf margins can be observed. At the same time, the veins themselves retain their green color. Manganese deficiency can sometimes be confused with magnesium deficiency, but manganese deficiency is not as pronounced on the leaves.

Signs of manganese deficiency on leaves

Solution. You will need manganese sulfate, which must be diluted in the proportion of 4 g per 0.5 L of water. Shake well and sprinkle it onto the root zone, you can also spray the whole plant.

Molybdenum (Mo)

Molybdenum is involved in photosynthesis and the formation of some sugars. If you lack this element you will notice a yellowing of the leaves and light brown or brown spots. Leaf edges begin to die off and curl inward.

Signs of molybdenum deficiency on leaves

Solution. It is best to take a complex microfertilizer “Humate +7 iodine”, which contains molybdenum. Add 2 g of the preparation to 0,5 l of water, shake well and wait 5 minutes. Then water the entire root zone of the plant well.

Sulfur (S)

Small amounts of sulphur are found in plants and take part in photosynthesis and oxygen uptake. Its deficiency leads to yellowing and wilting of the leaves, which is very similar to nitrogen deficiency.

Signs of sulfur deficiency on leaves

Solution. Potassium sulfate or other sulfates are sufficient.

Note that chelated fertilizers are most effective in eliminating nutrient deficiencies. Unlike the inorganic compounds mentioned above, they are absorbed quickly and almost 100%. For example, highly concentrated chelate fertilizers from the Ukrainian manufacturer “Dolina” have proven themselves well.

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