One of the major advantages of hydroponic gardening is that you have total control over the kind of and amount of nutrients that your plants receive. But this can also be one of its major drawbacks, as you have to be extra cautious in how you change your hydroponic nutrients to create optimal growth. Here are the most common symptoms of a few vital nutrient solutions.
Nitrogen - If your plants are deficient in nitrogen, your leaves may turn a pale green, or perhaps even yellow in cases of more extreme nitrogen deficiency. You may also notice stunted growth or a slight purple tint on stems and the undersides of leaves. If your nutrient solution contains excess nitrogen, your roots may become stunted and cause a delaying in flowering.
Phosphorous - Too little phosphorous may result in darkly hued leaves, small roots, very small flowers, and leaves that have a red or purple appearance. Signs of phosphorous deficiency may not be the result of a lack of phosphorous in the nutrient solution. It may be the result of the nutrient solution being too cold, which may decrease uptake.
Potassium - Not enough potassium in your hydroponic nutrients will create leaves that have edges that look blackened or "burned." They may also develop brown, dead spots. These signs typically show on the older leaves first. The fruits and flowers of a potassium deficient plant may also be lighter in weight than normal.
Magnesium -This deficiency will first reveal itself in the yellowing around your leaf edges. The worse the deficiency, the yellowier the edges, and the more of the leaf will be affected. This is most commonly seen in tomato plants.
Calcium - Calcium deficiency usually affects newer leaves before it will affect older leaves. These leaves usually have dead spots, and may look mangled and very small in size.
Iron - A plant that is receiving too little iron will typically have yellowing on its younger leaves. In more severe cases, the leaves will become extremely pale, or almost white. Like with phosphorous deficiency, iron deficiency may be the result of too cold water rather than any actual deficiency in the solution.
Manganese - Manganese deficiency has many similarities in appearance to iron deficiency, except it may affect the older leaves first rather than the younger leaves. If your nutrient solution is too rich in manganese, it might actually cause an iron deficiency because of decreased uptake.
Copper - Plants do not need very much copper, and therefore copper deficiency is very rare. However, it is entirely possible to have too little copper, and it may result in weak, distorted, or mutated young leaves. Too much copper may decrease branching and create roots that are have greater girth and are darker than usual.
Boron - Not enough boron may create roots that appear "fleshy" and look darker than normal. It may also make fruits and roots that deteriorate easily. This deficiency may also create an iron deficiency.
Molybdenum - Too little of this hydroponic nutrient may make the edges of the leaves of your plant darken and curl. Even a slight deficiency may create smaller than usual flowers.