What Nutrients do Hydroponic Plants Need?

Hydroponic plants require the same essential nutrients as soil-grown plants, but in a readily available form since their roots don’t have access to the complex interactions that occur in soil. These essential nutrients can be broadly categorized into two groups:


  • Nitrogen (N): Essential for plant growth and development, responsible for chlorophyll production and overall leaf health. Deficiency symptoms include stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and poor fruit development.
  • Phosphorus (P): Crucial for root development, flowering, and fruit production. Deficiency symptoms include weak root systems, stunted growth, and delayed flowering.
  • Potassium (K): Plays a vital role in water management, enzyme activation, and stress resistance. Deficiency symptoms include weak stems, brown leaf margins, and reduced fruit quality.
  • Calcium (Ca): Important for cell wall structure, root development, and fruit quality. Deficiency symptoms include distorted leaves, blossom end rot in fruits, and weak stems.
  • Magnesium (Mg): Essential component of chlorophyll and plays a role in photosynthesis and enzyme activation. Deficiency symptoms include chlorosis between leaf veins, stunted growth, and poor fruit set.
  • Sulfur (S): Necessary for protein synthesis, enzyme activation, and flavor development. Deficiency symptoms include stunted growth, yellowing leaves, and poor fruit quality.


  • Iron (Fe): Essential for chlorophyll production and enzyme activation. Deficiency symptoms include chlorosis, stunted growth, and poor leaf development.
  • Boron (B): Plays a role in cell wall formation, pollen germination, and fruit set. Deficiency symptoms include distorted leaves, poor fruit set, and internal browning of fruits.
  • Manganese (Mn): Important for enzyme activation, photosynthesis, and chlorophyll production. Deficiency symptoms include interveinal chlorosis, stunted growth, and poor fruit development.
  • Zinc (Zn): Crucial for enzyme activation, protein synthesis, and auxin production. Deficiency symptoms include stunted growth, interveinal chlorosis, and poor fruit set.
  • Copper (Cu): Plays a role in enzyme activation, protein synthesis, and photosynthesis. Deficiency symptoms include chlorosis, leaf tip dieback, and poor fruit development.
  • Molybdenum (Mo): Essential for nitrogen fixation and enzyme activation. Deficiency symptoms include stunted growth, interveinal chlorosis, and poor fruit development.
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Miles Alexander Alvarez

Miles Alexander Alvarez, the founder of HydroponicInsider.com, is a hydroponic gardening expert with over 26 years of experience in the industry. Holding degrees in Horticulture and Sustainable Agriculture from UC Davis and Cornell University, he has dedicated his career to advancing modern agriculture through innovative hydroponic solutions. Currently based in Sri Lanka, Miles works with a leading agricultural company to implement sustainable farming practices. As a published author and recognized authority in the field, his insights and expertise make HydroponicInsider.com an invaluable resource for hydroponic gardening enthusiasts worldwide.

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