Researchers have identified some nutrients that are essential for plant life.
- These nutrients are broadly divided into two groups: macronutrients and micronutrients. Macronutrients are needed in much greater quantities than micronutrients, which are often needed in minuscule amounts (although they are still necessary).
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The macronutrients include:
- Carbon (C)
- Hydrogen (H)
- Oxygen (O)
- Nitrogen (N)
- Phosphorus (P)
- Potassium (K)
- Calcium (Ca)
- Magnesium (Mg)
- Sulfur (S)
The first three—carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen—are known as structural elements and are present in the atmosphere and growing environment.
The next three are sometimes called the “fertilizer elements” since they are the familiar N-P-K identified on fertilizer labels.
The next two macronutrients, calcium, and magnesium are crucial for many cellular functions in plants, as well as fruit and flower formation.
The micronutrients include:
- The microminerals or trace elements include at least Iron, Chlorine, Cobalt, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Manganese, Selenium, Zinc, Boron, Nickel and Molybdenum.
- Micronutrients also include vitamins, which are organic compounds required as nutrients in trace amounts.