The three Macronutrients that plants need besides NPK

Over the last few weeks we have focussed on the major macronutrients N, P and K. Now, we will look at the remaining three macronutrients which are Calcium, Magnesium, and Sulphur.

Most of you who have grown tomatoes would have faced the issue of tomato fruit turning brown (and then black) at the base. This phenomenon, known as ‘Blossom End Rot’, is a classic symptom of deficiency of Calcium. Calcium is a vital macronutrient which forms a part of the plants’ cell wall. An adequate amount of calcium in early days is important to ensure healthy root development. A lack of calcium can also lead to reduced growth or stunting in plants.

Hardly any plants can survive without photosynthesis. The molecule that helps plants carry out the process of photosynthesis is ‘Chlorophyll.’ Magnesium is a major constituent of chlorophyll. Thus, for any plant to convert light energy into food, they need Magnesium. Lack of Magnesium will mean that a plant will not be able to meet its energy requirements and growth will be sub-optimal.

We know that Nitrogen is the major macronutrient (to be supplied) externally to the plant. Without Sulphur, Nitrates cannot be converted into amino acids. Thus, for a plant to be able to use the Nitrogen and convert it into proteins, it needs to have the right proportion of Sulphur. Plants cannot manufacture Sulphur and it needs to be provided externally. A deficiency of Sulphur will lead to yellowing of leaves (as plants cannot use Nitrogen effectively which helps in imparting the green color to the leaves) and stunted growth.

Happy Farming!

Gaurav is an entrepreneur whose first Start-up was focused on providing services to patients suffering from Chronic Diseases. While researching about the causes of lifestyle diseases and the ways to reduce their incidence, he chanced upon the idea of growing healthy and nutritious food using advanced farming techniques.

He founded CityGreens with a mission to enable City Dwellers to access Safe, Healthy and Fresh food.

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