Complete Plant Nutrition

What is Plant Nutrition?

Plants use only inorganic minerals for nutrition.  Complex interactions involving decomposition of rocks by lichens and weathering, break down of organic matter by bacteria and mycorrhizae take place to form inorganic nutrient ions in soil solutions.  Note: plants do not take up any organic material.  Roots absorb these inorganic mineral ions if they are readily available in solution.  They can be tied up (become insoluble) by combining with other elements or by alkaline or acidic soils.  If these ions become insoluble due to pH extremes or other causes, plants can no longer take them up.  This means that even though present in the soil, they are unavailable to plants.   Soil microbes also assist in ion uptake by breaking down insoluble compounds releasing the nutrients.

Why Doesn’t My Soil Have What it Takes?

Even in the most well kept garden or greenhouse ideal conditions for uptake of ions may not exist.  Soils do not have all the minerals required for optimum plant growth year after year.  Potting mixes generally contain few, if any, plant nutrients.  They are sterilized and so may lack microbes to break down organic matter.  Within months plants have used the available supply.  Because of plant uptake, mineral nutrients must be replaced in the field or container.

The ABCs or NPKs of The Nutrition Solution®

Dyna-Gro is more than a fertilizer.  Dyna-Gro® is a complete nutrient solution – The Nutrition Solution® – the only formulas containing all the mineral elements required for optimum plant growth in one, easy to use, liquid concentrate.  Ordinary fertilizers are incomplete.  Many simply contain only N-P-K!  Some contain additional elements but are still not complete.  This requires the purchase of multiple incomplete products in an attempt to provide plants with complete nutrition.  Only Dyna-Gro® formulas contain all of the minerals essential for plant growth in one, easy to use, liquid concentrate.  A little known fact is that all plants require more calcium than phosphorus, yet common fertilizers contain enormous amounts of phosphorus and NO calcium.

The Elements of Complete Plant Nutrition

Complete nutrition results in superior plant growth.  Why choose anything less for your plants?

Mineral Nutrients. Green plants must absorb certain minerals through their roots to survive. In the garden, these minerals are supplied by the soil and by the addition of fertilizers such as manure, compost, and fertilizer salts.

There are 21 total elements necessary for optimum plant growth.  7 Macronutrients, required by plants in large amounts: nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfur and silicon. Air and water supply carbon, hydrogen and oxygen.  And 10 Micronutrients, required in much smaller amounts: iron, sodium, manganese, boron, cobalt, nickel, zinc, copper, molybdenum, and chlorine   Eliminate any of these elements, and plants will display abnormal growth, deficiencies or may not reproduce. The following is a brief guide to the role played by each of these essential nutrient elements.


Nitrogen: Component of proteins, hormones, chlorophyll, vitamins and enzymes.  Promotes stem and leaf growth.  The ammoniacal and nitrate forms are used directly by plants for stem and leaf growth.  The urea form of nitrogen must be broken down by soil borne microorganisms or urease before it can be utilized by the plant.  Urea can cause leaf tip and root burn.  Deficiency symptoms: reduced yields, yellowing of leaves, stunted growth.  Excess nitrogen can delay fruiting and flowering.
Phosphorus: Essential for seed germination, photosynthesis, protein formation, overall growth and metabolism, flower and fruit formation.  Deficiency symptoms: purple stems and leaves, retarded growth and maturity, poor flowering and fruiting.  Large amounts without zinc cause zinc deficiency.  Low pH (<4) ties up phosphates in organic soils.  Excessive amounts may be toxic to plants.
Potassium: Essential for formation of sugars, carbohydrates, proteins, cell division.  Adjusts water balance; improves stem rigidity and cold hardiness; enhances flavor, color and oil content of fruits; important for leafy crops. Deficiency symptoms: spotted, curled or burned look to leaves; lower yields.
Calcium: Activates enzymes; structural part of cell walls; influences water movement, cell growth and division.  Required for uptake of nitrogen and other minerals.  Leached from soil by watering.  Immobile: requires a constant supply for growth.  Deficiency symptoms: stunting of new growth in stems, flowers, roots; black spots on leaves and fruit; yellow leaf margins.
Magnesium: Critical component of chlorophyll; needed for functioning of enzymes for carbohydrates, sugars and fats; fruit and nut formation; germination of seeds.  Deficiency symptoms: yellowing between veins of older leaves; chlorosis; leaf droop.  Leached by watering. Foliar spray to correct deficiencies.
Sulfur: Component of amino acids, proteins, vitamins, enzymes.  Essential for chlorophyll.  Imparts flavor to many vegetables.  Deficiency symptoms: light green leaves.  Water supply may contain sulfur.  Leached by watering.
Silicon: Component of cell walls; enhances resistance to sucking insects and fungi.  Foliar sprays reduce populations of aphids on some plants.  Enhances leaf presentation; improves heat, drought and cold tolerance; improves photosynthesis; extends bloom life.  Deficiency symptoms: wilting, poor fruit and flower set, increased susceptibility to insects and disease.  Disease resistance is enhanced by regular foliar feeding.  (Si is a macronutrient for most plants.)


Boron: Affects at least 16 functions: flowering, pollen germination, fruiting, cell division, water relationships, movement of hormones, cell wall formation, membrane integrity, calcium uptake, movement of sugars.  Immobile; easily leached.  Deficiency symptoms: terminal bud die back causes rosette of thick, curled, brittle leaves or brown, discolored, cracked fruits, tubers and roots.
Chlorine: Involved in osmosis (movement of water or solutes in cells), ionic balance necessary to take up mineral elements and photosynthesis.  Deficiency symptoms: wilting, stubby roots, yellowing, bronzing.  Scents in some plants may be decreased.  Leached by watering.  Excessive amounts may be toxic to plants.
Cobalt: Required by nitrogen fixing bacteria; formation of B12 vitamin; formation of DNA.  Will extend life of cut flowers such as roses.  Deficiency symptoms: may result in nitrogen deficiency.
Copper: Necessary for nitrogen metabolism; component of enzymes – may be part of enzyme systems that use carbohydrates and proteins.  Bound tightly in organic matter.  May be deficient in highly organic soils.  Not readily lost from soil but may be unavailable.  Deficiency symptoms: die back of shoot tips; terminal leaves develop brown spots.  Excessive amounts may be toxic to plants.
Iron: Enzyme functions; catalyst for synthesis of chlorophyll; essential for new growth.  Deficiency symptoms: pale leaves, yellowing of leaves and veins.  Leached by water and held in lower parts of soil.  High pH soils may have iron present but unavailable to plants.
Manganese: Enzyme activity for photosynthesis, respiration and nitrogen metabolism.  Deficiency symptoms: young leaves are pale with green veins similar to iron deficiency; advanced stages-leaves are white and drop; brown, black or gray spots may appear next to veins.  Plants in neutral or alkaline soils often show deficiencies.  Acid soils may increase uptake causing toxicity.
Molybdenum: Structural part of enzymes that reduce nitrates to ammonia for amino acid development essential to protein formation; required by nitrogen fixing bacteria.  Deficiency symptoms: pale leaves with rolled, cupped margins.  Seeds may not form.  Nitrogen deficiency may occur if plants are lacking Mo.
Nickel: Recently recognized as essential.  Ni is an essential mineral  for the urease enzyme which breaks down urea into usable forms of nitrogen.  It is also essential  for iron uptake.  Seeds will not germinate without Ni.
Sodium: Improves nitrogen metabolism in many plants, involved in osmotic (water movement) and ionic balance in plants.  Deficiency symptoms: yellowing of leaves and leaf tip burn; may inhibit flower formation.  Excessive amounts may be toxic to plants.
Zinc: Improves nitrogen metabolism in many plants, involved in osmotic (water movement) and ionic balance in plants.  Deficiency symptoms: yellowing of leaves and leaf tip burn; may inhibit flower formation.