In understanding how plants thrive and survive, it's hard not to notice a striking resemblance they share with the ways of human survival. Like humans, plants are living organisms that need nutrients to grow and thrive. Air and water are natural and primary sources of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Including these basic elements, blooming plants survive by taking in, storing and processing approximately 20 elements essential for healthy flower formations.
Six elements, known as macronutrients (taken in large quantities) come from fertilizers; they are nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, magnesium and calcium. Nitrogen is a major component of proteins, hormones, chlorophyll, vitamins and enzymes. It plays an important role in the stem and leaf development. Chlorophyll is responsible for the green colors in leaves, and the lack of nitrogen can discolor leaves and ruin the flowering process.
Phosphorus is essential for photosynthesis, protein build-up and metabolism. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants generate carbohydrates and oxygen. The lack of phosphorous will cause sluggish growth, reduced bloom production or untimely loss of flowers.
Potassium is useful in forming sugars, starches and carbohydrates that are essential in plant protein synthesis and cell division. It controls water intake and deficiency as well as making the plants tough and capable of enduring cold. When plants lack potassium, they appear speckled and blemished, with bent and charred leaves.
Sulfur helps produce chlorophyll. Just like nitrogen, it comes from amino acids, proteins, vitamins and enzymes. Light-colored leaves appear when plants lack sulfur.
Magnesium is another important component of the chlorophyll and aids in the way carbohydrates, sugars and fats function. Yellowing, droopy leaves are signs of magnesium-deficiency.
Calcium is a component of the cell walls and helps manage the volume of water. It is vital for cell growth and division (mitosis). Calcium-deficient plants may show little or underdeveloped bloom production. Twisted new growth, black spotted leaves, pale or yellow leaf margins are also signs that the plant lacks calcium.
Micronutrients, as opposed to macronutrients, are nutrients taken in small quantities. Boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, sodium, zinc, molybdenum and nickel are macronutrients. Each one may contribute in the flowering, pollen germination, seed propagation, cell distributions, seed propagation, water management, osmosis and movement of hormones of flowering plants.
Silicon and cobalt provide supplemental nutrients to flowering plants. Plants with ample amounts of soluble silicon will generate more resilient and robust cell walls, rendering them less susceptible to extreme heat and dry surroundings. Silicon may also prevent fungal infection. Cobalt helps secure nitrogen, which is a major macronutrient.