Plants need nutrients for healthy growth. These nutrients are available to plants through water-soluble minerals from the ground. If these nutrients deplete from the soil, they can be supplemented by applying organic manures like farmyard manure, green manure, leaf mould, oil cake, earth worm compost, fish / bone meal, sheep droppings and poultry litter.


Alternatively the nutrients can be supplied to plants by applying inorganic fertilizers, which are also called as chemical fertilizers.

The nutrients are divided in two groups, namely - macro nutrients and micro nutrients. The plants need macro nutrients in larger quantity than the micro nutrients. Macro nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium (N = nitrogen, P = phosphorus, K = potassium).


Calcium, magnesium, iron, and sulphur are micro nutrients.

There are some other nutrients, which are needed by plants in very minute quantities. Such nutrients are called as 'Trace elements'. Zinc, manganese, copper and boron are the trace elements.


Organic Manures: Organic manures not only supply nutrients to plants but also help in aeration of soil. They help excess water to drain out fast, but at the same time help to retain the moisture in the soil.


By using the organic manures soil remains friable and thus encourages growth of hair roots. Organic manures are not water soluble; thus, the plants can not use these by themselves. Certain bacteria work upon these organic manures and gradually turn them to water soluble minerals. As this conversion process is slow and prolonged, the organic manures once applied will continue to provide nutrients to plants for quite some time.

Chemical Fertilizers: Chemical fertilizers are water soluble minerals. So, as soon as they are applied to plants and water given, they dissolve in water and are absorbed by the plants.

Thus, a slight overdose of a chemical fertilizer could damage the plant or may even kill it. Due to their water solubility, the chemical fertilizers are easily washed out of soil.

This too makes them unavailable to plants. When used with caution and along with organic manures, chemical fertilisers can give good results.

Symptoms of Nitrogen Deficiency (Choruses): Nitrogen encourages growth of chlorophyll and proteins. This helps plants to produce more food. Due to nitrogen deficiency plants get stunted, leaves turn yellowish. Normally lower leaves turn yellow first.

Symptoms of Phosphorus Deficiency: Phosphorus encourages healthy growth of cells. It also helps in fruit and seed formation. Stunted growth of stems, leaves and roots is due to deficiency of this nutrient. Twiggy branches and poor fruit and seed formation is a symptom of phosphorus deficiency.

Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency: Potassium helps in protein formation. It also helps in photosynthesis and in transportation of food. Plants get vigour and resistance to diseases because of potassium. Due to potassium deficiency edges of leaves turn dry and yellowish. Leaves get wrinkled and turn downwards. New shoots start drying.

Home made mix fertiliser for flowering and fruiting plants: An ideal fertiliser mix can be made at home. Purchase the following ingredients in the quantity shown against each and mix them well.

  • Super phosphate - 4 kg
  • Ammonium sulphate - 750 grams
  • Potassium nitrate - 1.5 kg
  • Potassium sulphate - 2 kg
  • Magnesium sulphate - 500 grams
  • Iron sulphate - 125 grams

Apply 1 level tablespoon of this fertilizer to each potted rose/flower or fruit plant, once a month. The fertilser should be applied in a trench dug around the edge of the pot. After placing the fertiliser in the circular trench, cover it with soil and feed water.

Except for Super phosphate mix all the ingredients and powder them. Mix Super phosphate with the above mix and store in airtight container.


Note that Potassium nitrate should be powdered separately as on impact it can explode.


Foliar fertilizer spray: Mix together the following ingredients:

  • Urea - 500 grams
  • DAP - 500 grams
  • Muriate of Potash - 500 grams

Store the mix in an in air tight container. Add 3 grams of above mixture in 1 liter of water and spray the same on all parts of the plants; particularly undersides of the leaves.

Foliar micro-nutrient spray: Mix together the following ingredients:

  • Zinc sulphate - 100 grams
  • Copper sulphate - 100 grams
  • Ferrous sulphate - 300 grams
  • Manganese sulphate - 300 grams
  • Boric acid - 200 grams.

Mix all the above ingredients and grind finely in the grinder. Store in airtight container.


Add 10 grams of this mixture in 5 liter of water and spray on all parts of the plants; particularly undersides of the leaves.