" What are Micro/Macro Nutrients? | Herbal House

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What are Micro/Macro Nutrients?

You’re probably aware that plants need water and light to grow. But what is it that they’re actually getting out of these two elements that helps? And what else do your plants need?

In today’s post, we’re going to share with you all the nutrients your plants need to thrive, so that you can ensure they’re getting everything they need. If your plants need an extra boost, check out the offers we have on nutrients for veg, flowers and other types of plants. 

Macronutrients your plant needs 

There are more than a dozen nutrients your plants need to thrive and they’re usually split up into macro, and micronutrients. You might’ve guessed, macronutrients are those your plants need a lot of, while they only need a small dose of micronutrients.

It’s important to make sure your plants are getting both their macro and micronutrients. It can be tempting to assume they can go without micros, as they are only needed in a small amount. But this small dose can massively impact your plant’s health and performance. 

Carbon, Hydrogen & Oxygen (C, H, O)

These three macronutrients are at the forefront of everything we do in the growth cycle. And it’s not just for plants, everything on the planet needs this trio of elements. 

Plants use air and water to get their full fix of these nutrients, so they can create sugars (or starches). These starches can be used to strengthen the plant’s cells, its leaves and their stems. 

But there are six more macronutrients your plants need: 

Nitrogen, Phosphorus & Potassium (N, P, K)

These are used by the plant to break down other nutrients. Phosphorus has a particularly significant role in the energy system, and helps to strengthen the cell membrane. Potassium plays an integral role in the process of photosynthesis and can be a plant life saver during periods of drought. 

Calcium Magnesium and Sulfur (Ca, Mg, S)

Another three macronutrients your plants use in their growth cycle are calcium, magnesium and sulfur. This trio isn’t used as much as the previous elements, but are still important. Like us humans, calcium can help the plants stay strong. It also helps to keep delivering nutrients to your plants when they are in a stressful environment. Magnesium is used to break down enzymes and for boosting chlorophyll production and function. 

Sulfur is also an integral element for chlorophyll production and assists the creation of protein. 

Micronutrients your plant needs 


Iron is a micronutrient, and works like a taxi for nitrogen: It helps get nitrogen to all the right places within the plant. Iron is also a catalyst for the synthesis of chlorophyll. 

Manganese (Mn)

This micronutrient makes phosphorus and calcium readily available for your plant. It also aids in the process of photosynthesis.

Chlorine (Cl)

Small doses of chlorine work within the leaves to open up the cells so they can breathe. 

Copper (Cu)

Copper activates the enzymes within the plant that produce Vitamin A. Vitamin A is integral to your plants growth cycle, as it is used to create protein.  Copper is also necessary for nitrogen metabolism. Is also sometimes a part of the enzyme systems that use protein and carbohydrates, depending on the plant.

Silicon (Si)

important components of cell walls. By increasing and stiffening the structure of cell walls, sap-sucking insects such as aphids or Spider-mites will struggle to infest a plant that has been given proper dosages of Silicon. Also, Silicon helps cold, heat and drought tolerances while also reducing transpiration rates.

Molybdenum (Mo)

Although it can be difficult to find molybdenum in other nutrients, it plays a handy role in the production of amino acids. Molybdenum is also required by nitrogen fixing bacteria. Without Molybdenum, synthesis of proteins is blocked.

Nickel (Ni)

Without nickel, the nitrogen your plant needs can become incredibly toxic. Nickel is used to convert urea (which can’t really be used by your plants) into ammonia – which can then be used by the plant.  Seeds need nickel to germinate.

Zinc (Zn)

Zinc is a vital part of enzymes including Auxin, a growth hormone. 

Zinc also helps with the carbohydrate metabolism of a plant, general stem grows and protein synthesis. 

Please note that if the PH of a plant's medium is too low, this can make zinc too readily available for the plant and in turn, can cause toxicity.

Boron (B)

Boron works to strengthen the structure of your plant, as well as encouraging normal function within plant cells.

Cobalt (Co)

Cobalt is required by nitrogen fixing bacteria and the formation of B12 vitamin and DNA. Cobalt also helps prolong the life of cut flowers such as roses and hydrangeas.