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What is a Plant Nutrition?

The study of the substances and chemical elements required for plant metabolism, development, and reproduction is known as plant nutrition. If the element is missing, the plant cannot complete its regular life cycle, or it is a component of crucial plant nutrients or metabolites.

This follows Justus von Liebig's principle of the minimum. The seventeen separate elements that are all necessary for plants to grow include carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen, which are taken in from the air. Other nutrients, like nitrogen, are often taken up from the soil (exceptions include some parasitic or carnivorous plants).

The following mineral nutrients that plants require from their developing medium are:

Macronutrients: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), calcium (Ca), sulfur (S), magnesium (Mg), carbon (C), oxygen (O), hydrogen (H)

Micronutrients (or trace minerals): iron (Fe), boron (B), chlorine (Cl), manganese (Mn), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), molybdenum (Mo), nickel (Ni)

These substances are absorbed by plants as ions because they remain in the soil as salts. The macronutrients are absorbed in greater amounts; on a dry matter weight basis, the biomass of a plant is composed of over 95% hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and carbon. Plant tissue contains parts per million (ppm) levels of micronutrients that range from 0.1 to 200 ppm, or less than 0.02% dry weight.

About Plant Nutrients?

All plants need three primary base plant nutrients on a regular basis throughout their life cycle: nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). These three macro-nutrients are usually displayed on the packaging of plant nutrients as NPK ratio.

Nitrogen (N) - Nitrogen is very mobile in the soil, and nitrogen in the form of nitrate has a tendency to leach away from the root zone. Nitrogen can also be lost to the atmosphere. Certain fertilizers, particularly urea, are easily converted to volatile forms of nitrogen if watered or incorporated into the soil after application. Soil testing for nitrogen is unreliable because it is so mobile in the soil. Timing of nitrogen fertilizer application should be crop-specific Excessive nitrates in drinking water are an environmental concern—another reason to maximize nitrogen utilization by plants and minimize excessive applications.

Phosphorus (P) - Phosphorus is essential in energy transformations in the plant. Without adequate phosphorus, carbohydrates manufactured in the leaves could not be transported to the flower or developing fruit, or stored in roots or bulbs. Phosphorus is usually associated with flowers, fruiting, and carbohydrate storage in roots, tubers, and bulbs.

Potassium (K) - Potassium is essential for photosynthesis, regulating cell turgidity, respiration, and water movement in the plant. It also controls the opening and closing of the plant’s stomata. Adequate potassium fertilization helps plants cope with drought stress, increases disease resistance, improves winter hardiness, and improves crop quality.

However, there are many more, commonly called micronutrients.

Here’s what the most important ones do:

  • Calcium - promotes strong cells and root growth.
  • Sulfur - is necessary for the formation of chlorophyll (the green pigment in plants that converts light to energy).
  • Magnesium - is a component of chlorophyll. Without enough magnesium, plants may have yellowish older leaves with green veins.
  • Manganese - is involved in the formation of chlorophyll and helps plants use nitrogen.
  • Iron - is more available to plants if the soil is acidic. Since iron is also associated with chlorophyll, a lack of iron may result in stunted plant growth and younger leaves turning yellow.
  • Chlorine - is important to plant metabolism and influences water movement within the plant.
  • Zinc - helps the plant use sugars, which influence plant size and growth rate.
  • Boron - influences how plants use and absorb other nutrients.
  • Copper - is a part of many proteins and is important to plant reproduction.
  • Molybdenum - influences how plants use nitrogen. Without enough of this mineral, plants may look as if they’re nitrogen deficient with pale-green or yellowish older leaves.

Difference: Fertilizer vs. Plant Food

Although the terms "fertilizer" and "plant food" are frequently used interchangeably, they are not the same thing. In order to provide their soil with the vital nutrients that plants require in order to grow and bloom properly, gardeners utilize fertilizers to assist enrich the soil. The 13 other plant nutrients that plants need in addition to hydrogen, oxygen, and carbon are typically obtained from the soil. The most important of these nutrients, or the, “big three,” are nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium, often referred to on fertilizer labels as N-P-K, for their periodic table abbreviations.


The ingredients that makeup plant fertilizers can be macronutrients, micronutrients, fillers, or ballast. The macronutrients nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, known as the "big three," are all present in equal proportions in some fertilizers. These are commonly labeled as N-P-K 10-10-10 or 20-20-20. The percentage of each nutrient in the fertilizer is shown by the numbers. Number one stands for nitrogen, number two for phosphorous, and number three for potassium.

Various fertilizers either use organic or chemical forms of nutrient sources. Manure, compost, or fish meal are the main components of organic fertilizers. Chemical plant nutrients are purer, yet they can be quite expensive.


Fertilizers are created with the sole intent of reviving the soil to supply plants with nutrients, but it is up to the plants to prepare their own food. The nutrients that plants take up from the earth, together with a unique combination of air, water, and sunlight, are what plants use to produce food. Carbon dioxide from the air enters the plant through its leaves. Plants won't get enough nourishment from fertilizers that are high in nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium but low in other essential micronutrients. For healthy growth and to produce a balanced diet, plants require all 13 nutrients.


We carry all the tried and tested favourites as well as the latest and greatest nutrient brands!


For plants to grow, more than simply water is required. This means that for plants to grow healthily and produce blooms or buds with nice flavor and perfume, specific nutrients must be present. Nutrients can be given to our plants in a variety of ways. Base nutrients are the main source of vital elements, including minerals and vitamins. 

The essential elements of a plant's capacity for growth are its base nutrients. They contain varying concentrations of sulfur, iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, nitrogen, and other minor elements.

All fertilizer products typically list the base nutrients first. The base nutrients assist maintain plants healthy and thriving and are normally administered to a plant during its whole growing phase. Additionally, they enable the plant to tolerate bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases as well as abrupt temperature fluctuations.

One, Two, or Three-Part Nutrients?

The majority of base nutrients are divided into sections that are designated for vegetative growth or the blooming or flower stage. When your plant exhibits shortages in a particular element, you can apply additives, which normally come in lower quantities. Additionally, additives are employed to induce your plant's traits like the taste, blossom size, or even root growth.

1 Part

New hydroponic growers are typically advised to start with 1-part base nutrients because they demystify "Hydroponic Growing" for the majority of individuals. They are less likely to cause errors, are simple to use and need little upkeep. One-part fertilizers are not just for inexperienced growers, contrary to popular belief. One-part nutrients are used by many commercial growers to streamline their feeding plans, especially when they are assigning the duty to numerous workers to assist reduce errors.

2 Part

For beginners who are a little more confident in their capacity to grow, a 2-part base nutrient is also a terrific option. Once they have a better understanding of how liquid nutrient functions, the majority of novices will eventually transition to a two-part. A "two-part" vitamin has the advantage of containing additional micronutrients in its formulations, which cannot be provided in a one-part due to their binding. These additional nutrients are ideal for promoting rapid plant growth and the general well-being of your crop.

3 Part

To avoid overfeeding or underfeeding when using a 3-part base nutrient, always adhere to the manufacturer's recommended feeding plan. A three-part will also provide you better control over the shifting needs of your plants after the right dosage. You can "Spoon Feed" your plants by keeping the Grow, Bloom, and Micronutrients separate in order to meet their individual demands. This means, for instance, that you can add a little bit more Grow formula to help fix the problem if you notice your Nitrogen levels are low even after the suggested feeding.


Supplements for plants are made up of particular nutrients that are intended to keep them strong and healthy. Plant supplements give plants additional nourishment that the soil can not deliver, much like humans take supplements to make up for the gaps in their diets that cannot be filled by food.

Canadian Garden Supply offers a wide array of supplements:


Remember that your crop's roots are its most crucial component. Your plants won't realize their maximum genetic potential if they aren't healthy and robust. Soil contains enzymes that interact with the surrounding soil constituents. These include, among many other things, minerals, nutrients, and rhizosphere. By accelerating vital biochemical processes for plants and rhizobacteria, enzymes operate as biocatalysts that also help to recycle nutrients and stabilize the soil.

The Benefits of Enzymes for Plant Growth

Along with the addition of manure and fertilizer, the nutritional quality of the soil can be increased by adding enzyme-producing bacteria or agricultural enzymatic formulations to it. When applied to soil, proteases break down proteins and increase the quantity of nitrogen that is available, increasing the fertility of the soil. Urease improves the amount of accessible nitrogen in the soil, which is good for plant nourishment. By introducing enzymes to the soil, one can increase agricultural productivity, decrease reliance on hazardous chemical fertilizers, and boost rhizobacteria that support plant growth.

What is Root Rot?

Hydroponic producers may face a significant issue as a result of root rot. A fungal illness mostly brought on by Pythium species. It is frequently known as water mold. Overwatering, a lack of dissolved oxygen in the root zone, high humidity and consistently warm temperatures, and a lack of light in the growth environment are just a few of the variables that make plants more prone to root rot. If root rot is not addressed, it may eventually cause the death of your plants or, at the at least, may significantly impair the plant's ability to absorb water and nutrients, leading to poor development and low yields.

How to Prevent Root Rot!

The usage of ROOTS & ENZYMES supplements as part of your feeding regimen is a wise investment because it is very difficult to reverse the effects of root rot on plants.


Foliar is a type of fertilizer or supplement intended to be administered directly to a plant's leaves. Foliar application is a reliable technique for treating nutritional issues that many plants experience quickly. Foliar feeding not only prevents many typical issues that lead to nutrient loss in the soil but also enables plants to absorb nutrients more quickly.

The best foliar feeding method depends on your plant type, the plant’s growth stage, and any nutrient deficiencies the soil may present. Foliar feeding can increase fruit size, speed up color development, minimize leaf chlorosis and stunted growth in row crops, and promote leaf growth and photosynthetic development with the proper foliar-feeding liquid fertilizer program.


The pH range for hydroponic nutrition products is normally between 5.5 and 6.0, which is ideal for the majority of crops. However, the pH range is dependent on the unique formulation. For instance, calcium salts produce a rise in pH, resulting in a more alkaline solution, but ammonium nitrate has a higher acidifying impact than nitrate and will cause a drop in pH.

For plants to absorb particular nutrients, a precise pH level is necessary. Too little or too much of a given nutrient can be a result of the improper pH level. For instance, plants may experience copper and iron toxicity or magnesium and calcium deficiency when the pH level falls below 5.0. However, an increase in pH above 6 or 6.5 can result in iron insufficiency.

Why pH Levels Change in Hydroponics Systems

The pH in hydroponic systems can alter for a number of reasons. The fertilizer solution becomes increasingly concentrated as plants take the nutrients when the volume of the solution falls below one gallon. This causes pH levels to vary greatly. Therefore, it's crucial to keep an eye on the pH of the reservoir, maintain a full reservoir, and monitor the amounts of nutritional solutions.


Flushing is the act of trying to remove all the extra salts, nutrients, and other impurities that build up in your plants just before you harvest. Most growers flush their plants by providing them with plain water devoid of nutrients for a certain amount of time. By watering like usual but with no nutrients, it serves to wash off the excess accumulation.

You might want to think twice before flushing your plants with plain water because there is a drawback to this method of flushing. It is recommended to use FLUSHING agents.

Why You Should Flush Before Harvest

Flushing is a simple and cost-free approach to improve the eventual harvest's quality. Why? Plants accumulate too many salts and other harsh compounds because they grow by absorbing compounds from nutrients, water, and the environment.

You risk lowering the final quality of your crops if you don't get rid of these surpluses prior to harvest.

Benefits of flushing your plants:

  • Can lessen harshness and increase the smoothness of the harvest.
  • Can aid in eliminating any chemical flavors from the harvest.
  • Heightened last bud swell in the days leading up to harvest
  • Increased terpenoid synthesis in response to the minor stress of nutritional deficiency.


Organics are readily available mineral sources with a modest concentration of vital minerals for plants. They have the ability to reduce issues brought on by synthetic fertilizers. They lessen the requirement for recurrent synthetic fertilizer applications to maintain soil fertility. They maintain nutrient balance for the proper growth of agricultural plants and gradually release nutrients into the soil solution. They also serve as a potent source of energy for soil bacteria, which enhances soil quality and crop growth.

The prevailing consensus is that organics release slowly and contain a variety of trace components. They are safer alternatives to chemical fertilizers. However, using organics incorrectly might result in overfertilization or nutrient deficiencies in the soil.


Packages of plant nutrients from Canadian Garden Supply make it simple to buy everything you need to get started gardening.

Check out our offered packages online HERE.


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