17 Essential Plant Nutrients and Their Deficiency Symptoms

Essential plant nutrients are those elements which mean that if one of them is not present in the soil, the plant cannot complete its life cycle. Plants mainly require 16 elements. In this article we will discuss about 17 essential plant nutrients their functions, and deficiency symptoms.

Essential plant nutrients

Those elements can be divided into 4 parts according to the plant’s needs. 

1.The naturally occurring elements are

 (a) Carbon (b) Hydrogen (c) Oxygen.

2. Major Elements 

The most essential plant nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. It is said to be the main element of the plant.

3. Auxiliary and sub-elements: 

Calcium, magnesium, and sulfur are among the elements that reach the plant in small amounts, which are called auxiliary elements or sub-elements.

4.Trace Elements:

Other food elements include boron, zinc, magnesium, molybdenum, copper, and iron (as they are less than auxiliary iron elements, they are called trace elements. About 90 percent of the plant’s weight is water.  Water is two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen. The remaining solid part contains more carbon. Carbon 45 percent, hydrogen 6 percent, and oxygen 43 percent are the nutrients that make up the structure of plants.

17 Essential Plant Nutrients:

1. Major elements:

 (a) Nitrogen:

Essential plant nutrients

 It ranks first among the essential elements required by plants.  This element makes plants green.  Accelerates plant growth.  If it is lacking in the plant, yellowing of the tip of the old leaves, especially of the pepper, starts to appear.  Usually, the leaves start to curl.

(b) Phosphorus: 

It is a secondary essential plant nutrients that helps in good root development in plants and the timely ripening of crops.  They help in forming root nodules for the leguminous crop which is the main source of nitrogen.  If it is lacking, the leaves of the plant appear purple in color.  Root development stops.  Grains cannot be lumpy.

(c) Potash:

This comes in the list of elements required for mental health.  It works as a resistance to protect the plant from various diseases and also contributes to making the grains soft.  If there is a lack of this element, the knots between the plant branches are shortened, weak, and the grains appear wrinkled.  Even the edge of the leaf looks like it has been burned by fire.

2. Subsidiary Elements:

 (a) Calcium

It activates the roots and root tips and prevents the soil from becoming acidic.  In its deficiency, a new leaf grows and fills the heart, and when a new leaf emerges, it is crushed and comes out Root development stops.

 (b) Magnesium

This element is the part that brings the green matter to life.  It acts as a propagator for other vegetables. If it is lacking, the veins of the leaves will begin to fade.  The edge of the leaf turns up and becomes bowl-shaped.

 (c) Sulphur

This element helps in making various enzymes in plants.  It helps in making mucus If this element is lacking, the juice in the fruit will be reduced, and the pulp will be thick.

3. Micro Elements:

 (a) Iron

Iron is not a greening element but acts as a catalyst for greening.  Which in English is called the work of a Satanist.  If it is lacking, the leaves will turn yellow.  The stalks of Viswa are fine and shriveled.

 (b) Manganese 

This element is used to form green matter in plants and to combine and dissociate oxygen.  If it is deficient, brown spots appear on the grain.  Leaf veins are the first to appear.

 (c) Copper

 It acts as an electron carrier to form amino acid and protein compounds, through respiration. It keeps the process going.  If it is lacking, colored spots appear on small branches.  The part of the internal knot is shortened.  Leaves start falling.  More buds appear than desired.

 (d) Zinc

Increases the reproductive hormones of Plants.  In grain crops, plants that produce more grains help in taking water from the soil.  If it is deficient, the internodes of the plant will be shortened.  Leaves appear discolored.

(e) Molybdenum

 It stabilizes the element called nitrogen.  To pick up and transport the iron element This element is required.  If it is deficient, the leaves will become wilted.  By moving the edge of the leaf goes 

 (f) Boron 

This element is required in cell growth and division, it brings about the immobility of hormones, and it transports sugar.  If it is deficient, symptoms such as changes in the rheumatism of the plant, cracks, etc will appear.

 (g) Chlorine 

This element is essential for light absorption.  If this element is lacking, the edge of the viva leaf will wither.  From the point of view of accessibility, compost, and other organic fertilizers should be given in the right amount at the right time and in the right way for water.  Without lettuce, the expected yield from any crop is impossible happens. More details about essential plant nutrients and their importance for plants.

Essential plant Nutrients Functions and their Deficiency Symptoms:

 Information on nutrients required by crop plants and their sources and forms taken by plants

Essential plant nutrients

Carbon, Hydrogen, Oxygen

 These essential plant nutrients are obtained by plants from air and water.  Therefore, the plant does not show the symptoms of deficiency of these elements, but the main parts of the plant such as stems, roots, and leaves are all made by them.  The main fluid of the plant is closed from this element. Common nutrient deficiencies in plants and how to fix them.

A)  Functions of Nitrogen:

  • Promote plant growth.
  • Building green matter.
  • Helps with acne.
  • Increasing the protein content of grains.  

 Deficiency symptoms

  • Old leaves turn yellow and said.
  • Greens turn yellow.
  • Inhibition of root development and spread.
  • The leaves become white as the green matter decreases.

 Symptoms of excess

  •  The plant will fall down.
  •  Leaves and stems grow more, but grains are less.


  • Using balanced fertilizers.
  • Do top dressing of urea fertilizer as recommended in crop fields.
  • Mix Nitrophos powder 3-5 grams per liter of water and spray.

B). Functions of Phosphorus: 

  • Improving root growth and development.
  • Helping flowers to bloom and crops to ripen.
  • Helping to increase the population of branches.

Deficiency symptoms

  • Maize leaves remain purple.
  • Walli Pawan will be late.
  •  Grind the plant and grind it.
  •  The development of new leaves will be reduced.
  •  Mango plant wilts in winter (the solubility of phosphorus is less in winter).
  • It looks like the red color is mixed with dark green.
  •  Root development stops.
  • Slow to grow and crop ready.
  •  Lower leaves become dry and the purple color transformed.
  •  Fruit and seed development is reduced.


  • Use the recommended amount with a balanced mind.
  • Spraying the field with Nitrophos crops.

C). Function of Potash:

  •  Protecting plants from diseases and insects.
  •  Improving the quality of seeds, fruits, etc. 
  •  Increased drought tolerance of plants

 Deficiency symptoms

  • Highly attacked of pests in plants.
  •  Wrinkling of grains.
  • Burning of leaf tips and edges.
  • Plants can not tolerate drought and frost.
  • Tomato fruit is not shiny.
  • Stems and stems are weak.
  • Seedlings fall, inability to grow, seeds become wrinkled, and the attack of diseases and insects increases.
  • Symptoms such as leaf tips and margins or shriveled growth towards the inner part of the leaf appear.


  • Use the recommended dosage of Balanced Mindfulness.  
  • Spray Nitrophoska or Multiplex or Fatmin foliar.

 D). Functions of Calcium:

  • Improving acidic soil.
  • Making new cells.
  • The growth of bipartite plants is very necessary for development.

 Deficiency symptoms

  • The bud of the plant will die.
  • Tearing off the edges of the leaf.
  • An empty spot inside the carrot.
  • Maize leaves cannot grow by sticking to each other.
  • When new leaves and stems emerge, they look like they are split and wrinkled.
  • In cabbage and cauliflower, light brown color can appear from the edges of the leaves and then turn into dark brown color and black.  In corn, the tip of the leaf becomes discolored, and the chapsticks out.


  • Calcium deficiency is seen in sandy soil and acidic soil.  Therefore, soil testing and agricultural lime recommendation are to be used as it is.

E). Functions of Magnesium:

  • Transmits the genetic traits of a plant to a new plant 
  • Assists in photosynthesis
  • Increases oil content in mustard seeds etc

 Deficiency symptoms

  •  Yellowing of midveins of leaves
  •  Animals get grass tetany if they eat grass that is low in magnesium

 F). Functions of Sulfur:

  • It works to increase the amount of oil in mustard oil crops and increase the flavor of the oil.
  • Helps to make amino acids.

 g) Functions of Boron:

  •  Helps in pollination.
  • Helps in making carbohydrates.

 Deficiency symptoms

  •  The skin of the orange fruit becomes thick and thin and deteriorates.
  •  The friend of the potato is a black empty spot.
  • The branch of the plant is limp.
  • Sterility increases in wheat as a result of which grains are not produced.
  • The leaves of the plant are wrinkled.
  • Cauliflower fruits turn gray-brown, stems become black and hollow inside, radishes, and carrots burst
  •  Dry the ends of the cucumber.

 Remedial measures

  •  Use 750 grams of borax per plant in the soil when cultivating in boron-deficient land.
  • If there are signs of deficiency in plants, mix 2 grams of borax per liter of water and sprinkle.

H). Functions of  Iron:

  •  It helps in the production of green cells.
  • Assists in the production of protein.

 Deficiency symptoms

  •  Maize plants will sprout.
  •  Rice plants turn white.

 I). Functions of Manganese:

  • Helps in the germination of seeds.

 Deficiency symptoms

  •  Brown spots appear on the seeds of pulses crops.

J). Functions of  Copper:

  • Increases the amount of sugar in oranges, etc.
  • Gives good color to apples, carrots, etc.

 Deficiency symptoms

  •  Grows many unwanted shoots on the plant.

 K). Functions of  Zinc:

  • Plants help absorb water from the ground.
  • It helps in the utilization of nitrogen.
  • Increases the activity of hormones.

 Deficiency symptoms

  •  Blight occurs in rice.
  •  Coconut will turn yellow.
  •  Arterial yellowing can appear on both new and old leaves, but most of the symptoms appear on older leaves.
  •  Dead cells appear in areas where yellowing occurs.  Symptoms such as shortening of stem and stem internodes, bushy, rosette appearance of leaves, the appearance of small and thick leaves, premature wilting of leaves, etc. are seen.
  • Other symptoms vary according to the crop.  Malformation of fruits, white bud in maize, small leaf in cotton, mottled leaf in orange, leaf blight in rice, red, plant rot the process of self-growth stops.

 Remedial measures

  • When cultivating on zinc-deficient land, mix zinc sulfate per plant at the rate of 1 kg.
  • If there are signs of deficiency in crops, mix 5 grams of zinc sulphate and 2.5 grams of lime in one liter of water.

 L).  Functions of molybdenum:

  • Helps in nitrogen fixation in coppice crops.

 Deficiency symptoms 

  • Cauliflower leaves become elongated like leaves.
  • Nitrogen fixation capacity is low in cell culture.

Remedial measures

  • When cultivating in molybdenum-deficient land, use sodium or ammonium molybdenum at the rate of 25-30 grams in the soil.
  • If the plant is deficient, sodium or ammonium molybdenum 250 grams per liter of water per plant Mix and sprinkle.

M). Functions of Chlorine:

  •  Helps to form the cell wall of the plant.
  •  Keeps the plant as a plant.

 Deficiency symptoms

  • The plant wilts.
  • The leaves of potatoes, Tomatoes, etc. are bearing.


I hope you understand the functions and deficiency symptoms of 17 essential plant nutrients. Which are most important for the growth and development of plants. Some nutrients are naturally occurred to the plants and other elements are required to incorporate into the soil. If you have any questions related to essential plant nutrients please leave the comment below.

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