Ashleigh Smith + photo

Ashleigh Smith

Jun 28
3 min read
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chlorosis raspberry leaves

Plants aren’t exactly the easiest things to care for. Just like a child can catch a cold or develop a cough for a number of reasons, plants are also susceptible to a number of problems. Some of the most common include nutrient deficiencies that result in various patterns of discolored foliage. Observing the color and location of discoloration will help you know what is lacking. After identifying what nutrient is deficient, consider creating a regular fertilizing schedule. We highly recommend using the organic and water-soluble solutions mentioned below. They not only deliver vital nutrients but encourage good long-term soil health.

Signs of Common Nutrient Deficiency in Plants

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Nitrogen (N)

When plants aren’t accessing enough nitrogen, foliage starts to turn pale and eventually yellow. The discoloration may appear uniformly throughout the plant, starting with older leaves. This happens as the plants build less chlorophyll, the pigment that gives foliage its green coloration. Growth is also slowed with smaller than normal fruits developing.

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Phosphorus (P)

A lack of phosphorus will result in reduced growth and fruit development. Leaves will turn darker and blue or reddish in color starting with older growth. This occurs with an increase in anthocyanin production. New leaves will appear smaller than normal.

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Potassium (K)

This deficiency is not very common in home gardens. However, it can occur. Potassium deficiency is identified by the blotchy yellowing of leaves and a wilted or droopy appearance. Foliage may also appear dark or bluish-green. Because of the role potassium plays in water regulation, plants deficient in this nutrient may experience added water stress.

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Iron (Fe)

Low iron available in the soil will result in iron chlorosis. This is identified by faded leaf coloration that sometimes appears as a light yellow on new growth. The whole plant may appear weak. If the problem is not addressed, the leaves will eventually become translucent. Chlorosis may occur due to a lack of iron in the soil or a lack of its availability due to the way nutrients interact with each other and the soil ph.

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Magnesium (Mg)

Plants lacking magnesium will have yellowing and pale leaves, similar to a lack of iron. However, the veins will remain a dark green that is distinctly different from the rest of the leaf. The discoloration will start with older leaves but may appear uniform if the transition is slow.

Treat and Prevent Plant Problems

Before Planting

Whether you are growing in a new or old garden, soil conditions can be improved by adding worm castings or compost tea. Adding these will encourage soil microorganism activity that aids plants' ability to access nutrients.

When Transplanting

Whether you are transplanting vegetable starts, flowers, shrubs, or trees, be sure to apply a root stimulator. This will help stimulate microbial activity and encourage stronger root development. When this product is applied at transplanting, the effects of transplant shock are reduced.

Throughout the Season

As plants grow throughout the season, it can be helpful to apply general-purpose plant food. This organically sourced plant food delivers not only necessary macronutrients but also includes amino acids, peptides, and biostimulants that improve nutrient uptake for stronger plants all season long.

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