Fruits, vegetables and flowers utilize vitamins and minerals to grow. The plant absorbs nutrients in the soil and takes in water via the root system. Poor soil conditions created by excessive use, weather conditions or neglect deplete the natural vitamins found in the ground. However, adding vitamins to the soil can improve the soil conditions as well as ensure successful plants for seasons to come. Thirteen mineral nutrients are primarily used for plants as nutrition. However, of those 13 there are three, called primary macronutrients, which are most important.
Nitrogen (N) is a part of all living cells and is a necessary part of all proteins, North Carolina Department of Agriculture states. Specifically nitrogen is a vital component of chlorophyll, the green pigment produced by the plant to initiate photosynthesis. It helps with rapid growth and increases fruit and seed production as well as improves the foliage quality. Gardeners add nitrogen to the soil through an application of commercial fertilizers, compost and manure or plant rotation.
Phosphorus (P) allows plants to form oils, sugars and starches, important elements used during photosynthesis. In addition, phosphorus enables plants to develop viable root systems and prevents root rot. According to the University of Minnesota Extension, one of the main roles of phosphorus is the transformation of energy. It stimulates early plant growth and helps the plant reach maturity at an accelerated rate. Phosphorus is commonly found in commercial fertilizers, organic materials such as compost and manure, or soil minerals.
Potassium (K) is absorbed by plant in large quantities. This means that potassium is often lacking in soils that are used to support a large number of plants. Potassium is vital because it helps the plant build proteins, activates photosynthesis and influences both fruit production and disease resistance. The primary source of potassium soil supplementation comes from commercial fertilizers. However, organic materials are also effective. Specifically, compost is used as an inexpensive potassium additive for home gardeners, who can also use egg shells and banana peels in their compost as a direct source of potassium.