How to Choose Nutrients and Supplements for Your Plants

nutrients and supplements plant foodPlants require more than just water to function and thrive.

They also need a wide variety of nutrients that can help them overcome stressful growth conditions, increase their nutrient absorption and become more resistant to diseases, among other benefits.

With so many nutrient and supplement options available, selecting the right option for your plants and your garden may seem overwhelming.

Without belaboring the finer details, this general explanation of the basic options you have when it comes to nutrients and supplements should help point you in the right direction for boosting your plant health and growth.

Regardless of the size of your garden—from a container up to a commercial greenhouse—you can choose either synthetic or organic nutrient and supplement options.

Your synthetic options can be further broken down into water-soluble or controlled-release options. As their name suggests, water-soluble foods completely dissolve in water and release their nutrients immediately. In comparison, controlled-release foods take considerably longer for their nutrients to be released.

Water-soluble nutrient options have several advantages. They may provide a quick solution to a problem, and nursery growers may find them ideal for use in drip irrigation systems. However, because their impact is short-lived, this will require more frequent application.

More serious concerns for using water-soluble foods include leaching and burn. Frequent watering or application can lead to excessive nutrient loss. Burn, or dehydration, can be the result of too much fertilizer or too much or too little water—both of which could be related to your nutrient and supplement use.

Getting back to your basic options, the second option you have is organic nutrients and supplements. Unlike synthetic options, these are derived from plants, animals or minerals that contain one or more nutrients essential for plant growth.

Though it takes longer for organic foods to nourish plants, this option has quite a few advantages. This process takes longer because soil microorganisms digest the natural organic foods, then release the nutrients in a form that is available to plants.

During this process, humus, a spongy material that improves soil structure, is produced. Improving soil structure helps plants better absorb needed nutrients, but they also develop larger root systems that support growth, make them resistant to drought, diseases and insects.

Organic foods also possess a low salt index, which means that there is little risk of dehydrating or burning plants, even if too much nutrient is applied or climate conditions are overly dry.

Gothic Arch Greenhouses carries an extensive line of nutrients and supplements suitable for any size gardening application. To learn even more about which options are best for you, call us at 1-800-531-4769 to speak with one of our friendly representatives or visit our website www.GothicArchGreenhouses.com.