Plants require 14 essential nutrients for growth and reproduction. Without a sufficient amount of each of these nutrients a plant’s growth will be negatively affected.
Nutrients are considered essential to plants if they meet one of the following criteria:
1. In its absence the plant is unable to complete a normal life cycle; or
2. That the nutrient is part of some essential plant constituent or metabolite.
Plant nutrients are divided into 2 general categories based on the amount that is required by plants; macronutrients and secondary nutrients are required at high levels and micronutrients are required at much lower levels. It is important to stress that micronutrients, though required at lower levels are just as fundamental to plant growth and development as macronutrients. There is also a group of nutrients that are not considered essential but are beneficial to plant growth and development.