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Plant Deficiency Guide

Plant Nutrient Deficiency

Pinpointing a nutrient deficiency early can be the difference from having a healthy productive plant and a plant that has stunted growth and at worst fails to grow. With this in mind, it is vital that gardeners know the signs of a nutrient deficiency and how to treat it.

Nitrogen Deficiency

SymptomsNitrogen deficiency

Symptoms of nitrogen deficiency can start showing on the older leaves of plants with light green clorosis. After time the whole plant will become yellow green which subsequently restricts growth and delays crop development. Finally older leaves may start to decay and die.

Reason Behind Nitrogen Deficiency

A Nitrogen deficiency can be caused by incorrect feeding or giving feed that doesn’t have the right amount of nutrient elements. Such feeds that can cause a Nitrogen deficiency are feeds that are full of organic materials as the microorganisms present in the feed bind to nitrogen. A lot of nitrogen can be bound, particularly in the first weeks; this is released later but it is generally too late.


  • Use a nutrient that has Nitrogen present, for example, Plagron Terra Grow has been proven to improve Nitrogen deficiency in plants.

Potassium Deficiency

SymptomsPotassium deficiency

The signs of a Potassium deficiency are that the tips of older leaves start to get chlorotic spots which get larger over time. With a more severe deficiency, the leaf colour turns to a mottled green and the plant appears to be wilted. Furthermore, growth is restricted as well as the plants ability to produce crops.

Reason Behind Potassium Deficiency

One of the main reasons behind a Potassium deficiency is that the Ph level is too low, however, it can also be caused by the wrong nutrient being used.


  • If you are growing your plants organically, one of the best ways to improve Potassium levels is to bury a Banana skin just above the roots as Bananas are full of Potassium. However, if you’re not, you can dissolve 5 – 10 grams of Potassium Nitrate in some water an apply that to your plants.

Phosphate Deficiency

Symptomsphosphate deficiency

With a Phosphate deficiency, the growth of a plant is drastically stunted, furthermore, the leaves are darker than normal. One of the issues with a Phosphate Deficiency is that gardeners can easily miss the signs as they think they just have a small plant.

Reasons Behind Phosphate Deficiency

There are numerous reasons why a plant may suffer from a Phosphate deficiency, for example, acidic soils can reduce Phosphate levels. Another reason is low organic matter present in the soil, cold or wet conditions, poor root development and iron rich soils.


  • One of the best ways to improve Phosphate levels is to directly introduce it to your plant. This can be done with a liquid mineral like Canna Phosphate Mono-Nutrient.

Magnesium Deficiency

Symptomsmagnesium deficiency

One of the main signs of a Magnesium deficiency is that older leaves start to show interveinal chlorosis which spreads inward from the leaf margins. These areas are also curled up.

Reasons Behind Magnesium Deficiency

Typically if your soil is too sandy or acidic then your plant may suffer from a Magnesium deficiency. Also a spell of cold wet weather can also impact Magnesium levels.


  • In the long term, mulching with organic matter (such as well rotted garden compost or manure) provides a steady trickle of nitrogen to stabilise levels. In the short term, applying high nitrogen fertilisers such as sulphate of ammonia or poultry manure pellets will remedy the problem.

Iron Deficiency

Symptomsiron deficiency

Typically an Iron deficiency does not stunt a plants growth. Instead you tend to see yellow interveinal chlorosis develop on young leaves. In extreme conditions, the veins of all leaves show symptoms.

Reasons Behind Iron Deficiency

Poor soil conditions are the main reason behind an Iron deficiency. For example, waterlogged soil, calcareous soil and soils with high levels of copper and zinc can all cause an Iron deficiency.


  • Apply chelated iron and manganese treatments, such as Sequestrene, to the soil around the plant roots.

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