Pioneering Hydroponics

Since 1976

What Does Iron Do for Plants?

Plants need a wide variety of nutrients such as nitrogen to function properly. Iron is another essential nutrient for plants, allowing them to grow strong and healthy. This nutrient is very important for photosynthesis. Even though it’s classified as a micronutrient, iron is extremely vital.


What Role Does Iron Play?

Iron has several important roles in plants. One of its more important functions is how it helps plants during photosynthesis, as it’s a vital component of both proteins and enzymes. This nutrient also helps in manufacturing chlorophyll alongside being responsible for the structure, function, and maintenance of chloroplasts.

In a soluble form, iron is extremely useful to plants. It’s at its most soluble within a pH range from 5 to 6.5. Any pH level outside of this range and a deficiency occurs. This results in less nutritious plants, less yield, and aesthetically displeasing plants.

 

Iron in Excess in Plants

Too much iron in plants will make plants weaker and it will eventually kill them. 12 to 24 hours is all that’s needed for plants to being affected with content levels of 100 mg or above. This doesn’t mean that lower levels won’t affect your plants, it might just take longer.

  • Nutrient absorption. You’ll find your plants will lose their ability to absorb nutrients, which will translate into the inability to absorb nitrogen and phosphate. Vital tissues in leaves and stems will decay and plants will eventually die.

  • Chlorophyll. Iron in excess will change chlorophyll and inhibit your plants’ ability to absorb energy.

  • Synthesis. If your plants have too much iron, they won’t be able to undertake vital processes such as synthesising proteins and nutrients at a cellular level. The plants eventually starve.


Iron Deficiency in Plants

One of the most common signs of iron deficiency is chlorosis, which is a yellowing of plants’ leaves. Where and how this sign appears will help you determine whether it’s actually an iron deficiency or other nutrient deficiencies appearing. When it is an iron deficiency, the new growth will be the first to present signs.

The interveinal area of leaves will still be green but, as the deficiency worsens, the entire leaf will eventually become yellow or even white. Any new growth that is still produced will be stunted. You may find brown lesions and droopy leaves beginning with new growth.

With zinc deficiency being almost identical, one way to distinguish it is how the interveinal lesions are more rounded with zinc deficiencies and more angular with iron deficiencies.

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