Pioneering Hydroponics

Since 1976

What Does Nitrogen Do for Plants?

Nitrogen can be absorbed by plants in either ammonium or nitrate form, or even through small organic molecules. The environment surrounding the roots, the rhizosphere, needs to maintain a balanced pH. If it’s too high, it can influence both the storage life and the taste of the plants. Hydroponic nutrients need to be perfectly balanced for healthy crops.

This nutrient is essential for all enzyme reactions within plants and it plays an important, active role in their metabolism. All plants are affected by nutrient deficiency and special care needs to be taken so that crops aren’t lost due to nitrogen deficiency  


Role of Nitrogen in Plants

Required in large amounts, nitrogen is a vital element for plants to build protein blocks, to develop important cells and tissues such as chlorophyll, and for plants’ growth. Chlorophyll is needed for photosynthesis and carbohydrate formation, while giving plants their typical green colour.

Nitrogen also helps to hold the genetic code in plants’ nucleus, allowing for the transfer of crop traits and characteristics that help plants survive. This is especially important during plants’ vegetative growth state, as they take up around 80% of nitrogen needed for their entire life.


Symptoms of Nitrogen Deficiency

One of the first signs you’ll notice on plants is yellowing of the bottom leaves. Should plants not have access to enough nitrogen, they will break down any stored nitrogen from the lower leaves. They then transport it to where it’s needed the most: new growth.

Eventually, the older leaves will turn a pale yellow before yellowing completely and falling off. Nitrogen and magnesium deficiencies can be confused due to the yellowing of leaves, however, a magnesium deficiency appears as an interveinal yellowing.

But what happens if nitrogen is available at an unusually high level?

Plants try to metabolise excess nitrogen by diverting water, carbohydrates, energy, and minerals, which unbalances the plants’ system, which results in:

  • Plants become weak and fall over

  • Copper, boron, and other trace elements being deficient

  • No available starches or sugars

  • Uneven ripening of fruits

  • Overly succulent plants

  • Delayed flowering and fruiting

  • Accumulation of water in tubers, leading to rotting


How to Fix a Nitrogen Deficiency

Fixing a nitrogen deficiency in hydroponics isn’t as complicated as it may seem. You can raise the electrical conductivity (EC) of the feeding, making sure to properly rinsing the substrate with it. EC can be measured with an EC meter.

Plant Magic Platinum, for example, is a unique blend of nutrients, including nitrogen, to ensure plants have everything they need to grow healthy and strong since day one.

Need to find an efficient solution to maintain a balanced nitrogen level for hydroponics? Make sure to get in touch with our team by giving us a call on 01695 554 080 or 01226 320 850. We’re always happy to answer any questions you might have.

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