How Important Is Iron in My Potted Plants?


Iron is a very important nutrient for plants and helps with photosynthesis and respiration. Plants respond not only to iron deficiency but also its overload. Excess iron is not good either since it can prove to be toxic.(

Iron Deficiency in Potted Plants

Iron deficiency is the most common deficiency in potted plants. Ready to use fertilizers provide the essential macronutrients such as nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous, but often fail to provide the microelements like boron and iron.

Signs of Deficiency

Plants indicate iron deficiency when their leaves start to yellow while the veins stay green. This commonly occurs in alkaline soils since the levels of calcium hinders the absorption of iron.

Requirements of Iron

Iron is a micronutrient or a trace element. Hence though it is important, it is only required in very small amounts.

Causes of Deficiency

Peat moss which is often used in potted plants is one of the most common causes of iron deficiency. It not only blocks the absorption of iron but also other nutrients.

Root Rot

Root rot is also a major reason that affects the ability of roots to absorb iron. Root rot is caused by excess watering which reduces soil aeration in potted plants.


Iron deficiency can be remedied by adding one tablespoon of fish emulsion in a gallon of water. You can also acidify soil by adding organic compost like leaf mold or chelated iron directly to the soil.


  • "Genome Biology: Iron Stress in Plants"
  • "Mother Nature's Herbal;" Judith Griffin; 2008
  • "Top Tropicals: Essential Nutrients"
Keywords: iron deficiency in plants, causes for potted plant iron deficiency, remedies for iron deficiency in plants

About this Author

Irum Sarfaraz is a freelance writer with over twenty years of non-fiction writing experience in newspaper op-eds and magazine writing, book editing, translating and research writing. Sarfaraz is originally from Pakistan and has been published in both American and Pakistani newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Literature, and diplomas in non-fiction writing.

Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How Important Is Iron in My Potted Plants?