I hope this is of use to some

Major plant nutrients
• Nitrogen
• Phosphorus
• Potassium
• Magnesium
• Calcium
• Sulphur


Nitrogen (N)
Encourages vegetative growth and is therefore important in lawns and leaf crops
Easily leached from the soil
Constituent of proteins, nucleic acids and chlorophyll
Symptoms of deficiency
Slow, spindly growth
Yellowing of leaves (chlorosis) – old leaves first
Flowers and fruits small

Phosphorus (P)
Important for root growth and the ripening of fruit
Must be present in seeds for germination to take place
Recycled within the plant
Tends to build up in regularly fertised soil and deficiencies are rare
Constituent of proteins, nucleic acid and enzymes
Symptoms of deficiency
Growth retarded
Leaves dull blue/green and may fall prematurely
Flowers and fruit delayed and small

Potassium (K)
Essential for good flower and fruit formation
Increases the general hardiness of the plant
Symptoms of deficiency
Poor quality fruits and seeds
Leaf scorch on older leaves
Leaves bronzed and rolled inwards and downwards

Magnesium (Mg)
Required for correct functioning of photosynthesis and movement of phosphorus
A constituent of chlorophyll
Symptoms of deficiency
Intervein chlorosis
Leaf tips curl upwards
Early leaf fall

Calcium (Ca)
Required for activity in meristems (growth tip)
A major constituent of cell walls
May be unavailable in acid soils
Symptoms of deficiency
Weakened cell walls leading to tissue dying
Inward curling, pale young leaves
Examples are ‘bitter pit’ in apples, ‘blossom end rot’ in tomatoes

Sulphur (S)
Required for production of chlorophyll
Constituent of proteins and enzymes
Rarely deficient
Symptoms of deficiency
Chlorosis – younger leaves first

Minor plant nutrients
• Iron
• Manganese
• Boron
• Copper
• Zinc
• Molybdenum


Iron (Fe)
Required for the production of chlorophyll
Constituents of enzymes
Symptoms of deficiency
Intervein chlorosis – young leaves first
Failure to flower and fruit

Manganese (Mn)
Required for the production of chlorophyll
Constituent of enzymes
Symptoms of deficiency
Intervein chlorosis – older leaves first

Boron (B)
Makes calcium available within the plant
Involved with the movement of sugars and synthesis of gibberellins (plant hormones)
Symptoms of deficiency
Leaves misshapen and fruit malformed
Flowering suppressed
Examples are ‘corky core’in apples, ‘brown heart’ in turnips

Copper (Cu)
Involved in the correct functioning of enzymes
Rarely deficient
Symptoms of deficiency
Varies in species
Dark green leaves becoming twisted and withering – young leaves first

Zinc (Zn)
Involved in the correct functioning of enzymes
Required for pollen production
Symptoms of deficiency
Varies in species
Poor development of leaves
Examples are ‘little leaf’ in citrus fruits, ‘rosette leaf’ in apples

Molybdenum (Mo)
Helps in the uptake of nitrogen and in rood nodule activity
Rarely deficient
Symptoms of deficiency
Chlorosis in older leaves
Suppression of leaf growth
Example is ‘whiptail’ in brassicas