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What are plant micronutrients?

Map of areas in the world with zinc deficiencies in their crops.So, what are micronutrients?  Simply put, micronutrients are anything required by plants for proper growth that are needed only in very small quantities.  Plant micronutrients are analagous to human vitamins and minerals --- without them, plants usually keep growing, but they often grow slower or have problems.

Wikipedia lists eight main micronutrients which affect plant growth:

  • Boron
  • Chlorine 
  • Cobalt (especially important for nitrogen fixing plants like legumes)
  • Copper
  • Iron
  • Manganese (availability depends on soil pH)
  • Molybdenum (especially important for nitrogen fixing plants like legumes)
  • Zinc



This post is part of our Micronutrient lunchtime series.  Read all of the entries:





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Plants absorb more than just eight micronutrients. If you check your multivitamin you'll see many nutrients that could potentially come from the soil. Next time I garden, I want to test Sea-90 which supposedly has all 90 naturally-occurring minerals in the element chart, found in seawater.
Comment by Chris de Vidal Fri Jul 1 17:37:53 2011
You might be interested in this related blog post I made the next day: How many plant micronutrients are there?.
Comment by anna Fri Jul 1 17:43:45 2011