The correct diagnosis of nutritional deficiencies is
important in maintaining optimum plant growth. The recognition of
these symptoms allows growers to fine tune their nutritional regime
as well as minimize stress conditions. However, the
symptoms expressed are often dependent on the species of plant
growth, stage of growth or other controlling factors. Therefore,
growers should become familiar with nutritional deficiencies on a
Record keeping and photographs are excellent
tools for assisting in the diagnosis of nutrient deficiencies.
Photographs allow growers to compare symptoms to previous situations
in a step-by-step approach to problem solving. Accurate records
help in establishing trends as well as responses to corrective
You will find pictures and
brief descriptions of some of the most common deficiencies in the
plant world. Should you not find the picture that resembles on of
these deficiencies, check our plant disease page as it could be a
growth of tops and roots especially lateral shoots. Plants become
spindly with general chlorosis of entire plant to a light green and
then a yellowing of older leaves which proceeds toward younger
leaves. Older leaves defoliate early.
and spindly growth similar to that of nitrogen deficiency. Leaf
color is usually dull dark green to bluish green with purpling of
petioles and the veins on underside of younger leaves. Younger
leaves may be yellowish green with purple veins with N deficiency
and darker green with P deficiency. Otherwise, N and P deficiencies
are very much alike.
leaves show interveinal chlorosis and marginal necrotic spots or
scorching which progresses inward and also upward toward younger
leaves as deficiency becomes more severe.
slight chlorosis to brown to black scorching of new leaf tips and
die- back of growing points. The scorched and die-back portion of
tissue is very slow to dry so that it does not crumble easily.
Boron deficiency also causes scorching of new leaf tips and
die-back of growing points, but calcium deficiency does not promote
the growth of lateral shoots and short internodes as does boron
chlorotic mottling or marbling of the older leaves which proceeds
toward the younger leaves as the deficiency becomes more severe.
The chlorotic Interveinal yellow patches usually occur toward the
center of leaf with the margins being the last to turn yellow. In
some crops, the interveinal yellow patches are followed by necrotic
spots or patches and marginal scorching of the leaves.
chlorosis to brown to black scorching of new leaf tips and die- back
of the growing points similar to calcium deficiency. Also the brown
and black die- back tissue is very slow to dry so that it can be
crumbled easily. Both the pith and epidermis of stems may be
affected as exhibited by hollow stems to roughened and cracked
nitrogen deficiency in that older leaves become yellowish green and
the stems thin, hard and woody. Some plants show colorful orange
and red tints rather than yellowing. The stems, although hard and
woody, increase in length but not in diameter.
with interveinal chlorotic mottling of immature leaves and in
severe cases, the new leaves become completely lacking in
chlorophyll but with little or no necrotic spots. The chlorotic
mottling on immature leaves may start first near the bases of the
leaflets so that in effect the middle of the leaf appears to have a
with interveinal chlorotic mottling of immature leaves and in many
plants it is indistinguishable from that of iron. On fruiting
plants, the blossom buds often do not fully develop and turn
yellow or abort. As the deficiency becomes more severe, the new
growth becomes completely yellow, but in contrast to iron necrotic
spots usually appear in the interveinal tissue.
some plants, the interveinal chlorotic mottling first appears on the
older leaves and in others, it appears on the immature leaves. It
eventually affects the growing points of all plants. The
interveinal chlorotic mottling may be the same as that for iron and
manganese except for the development of exceptionally small leaves.
When zinc deficiency onset is sudden such as the zinc left out of
the nutrient solution, the chlorosis can appear identical to that
of iron and manganese without the little leaf.
at top of the plant wilt easily followed by chlorotic and necrotic
areas in the leaves. Leaves on top half of plant may show unusual
puckering with veinal chlorosis. Absence of a knot on leaf where
petiole joins the main stem of plant beginning about 10 or more
leaves below growing point.
deficiency symptoms in legumes are mainly exhibited as
nitrogen-deficiency symptoms because of the primary role of
molybdenum in nitrogen fixation. Unlike the other micronutrients,
molybdenum-deficiency symptoms are not confined mainly to the
youngest leaves because molybdenum is mobile in plants. The
characteristic molybdenum deficiency symptom in some vegetable crops
is irregular leaf blade formation known as whiptail, but interveinal
mottling and marginal chlorosis of older leaves also have been
Learn More From Us
To learn more about Plant Deficiencies
come in and talk to our knowledgeable staff and where you'll find more
information. We can provide you with the solutions to rid
yourself of these deficiencies. Remember, whether you are our customer
or a customer of one of our competitors, we are always here to help you.