We all want to grow strong pest- and pathogen-resistant plants. Crops are expensive, and losing a crop to pests or disease can mean tens of thousands of dollars down the drain. But what would you say if we told you there’s an easy way to safeguard your crops against bugs and contamination?
You’d probably say, “Tell me more!”
Well, now we’re going to tell you all about the benefits of silica for plant growth. If you’re not using silica in the form of a potassium silicate protectant, then you’re creating a huge gap in your crops’ preventive care and actively increasing your chance of losing the investment you made in your crops. And knowing how all the elements present in your garden work together for your crops’ benefit makes you a better grower.
In this article, we’ll cover:
- What silica is
- The benefits of silica
- How silica works in plant tissue
- Using Advanced Nutrients potassium silicate
What Is Silica?
Silicon dioxide, or SiO2, is found in living organisms, is a major component of sand, and occurs naturally in quartz. For some organisms, silica is one of life’s necessary building blocks. For others, it has no health effect whatsoever. Silica can even be harmful to certain organisms.
For crops, however, silica is a key nutrient that is necessary for building and supporting cell structures within plant tissue. Being that plants are intelligent, they use the silica in their environment, however they need it most.
When a plant needs to store water molecules between its cells, it turns the available silica into hydrated silicon dioxide, or silicic acid. When a plant is building stronger leaves, or growing more permeable roots, the silica becomes a gel-like substance. Both of these tasks are accomplished by the plant’s transpiration system.
Silica is the second most abundant element found in the earth’s crust. It’s present in most soils, so if you grow in this medium, your crops are already exposed to silica. But if you grow hydroponically, you need to add the silica to your crop’s environment.
What Silica Does For Plants
Silica is like the mortar that holds bricks together. Inside plant tissue, the cells are like individual bricks and the silica is the binding, strengthening material between them.
Without sufficient silica levels, a plant’s body is weak. The stalk droops and the flowers are puny, while leaves are yellow, curling and prone to falling off their stems.
Think about the role mortar plays in a brick wall. A wall of stacked bricks can easily be toppled, and if you catapult a big rock at it, it’s certainly going down. But a wall made of bricks mortared together? That’s a solid structure that needs a pretty huge rock whipped at it pretty hard if it’s gonna come down, if at all.
Silica also acts as your plants’ immune system. Just like a mammal’s white blood cells rush to an injury or infection site to fight off invading pathogens, accumulated silica in a plant’s body creates a barrier around its cells that makes it more difficult for pathogens to penetrate. And for pests that bite down on stem and leaf surfaces to suck crops dry, a protective silica barrier makes it a lot more difficult to latch on.
What Are The Best Silica Types?
Plants need potassium silicate, or K2O3SI. When you’re choosing a silica product for your crops, make sure it’s a potassium silicate.
Advanced Nutrients Rhino Skin®
Creating a silica product that dissolves easily for use in hydroponic gardens is a challenge many manufacturers face. Silica, after all, is the main component of sand. And as anybody who’s ever been to the beach knows, sand doesn’t dissolve in water.
So, how can you deliver the silica your plants need in a form they can absorb? Simple: By adding Rhino Skin® to your grow plan.
Though some manufacturers have potassium silicate foliar sprays available, we don’t recommend delivering silica in this manner. To use silica most effectively, your plants need to take it up through their roots, not through their leaves. When the silica is in your grow environment, it’s right within roots’ reach. Simply shake well and add it to your nutrient mix grow media during the bloom phase.
When certain nutrients are present in a plant’s environment, they make it easier for the plant to take in other nutrients, like silica. The process of making nutrients available for uptake is known as chelation. Read more about the chelation process here.
Using Advanced Nutrients Silica In Your Grow
Rhino Skin is Advanced Nutrients’ solution to some of the biggest difficulties growers face, like reducing toxic heavy metals in your grow environment and building stronger, more pest- and pathogen-resistant crops.
With silica fortifying plant cells and surfaces against pathogens by creating a strong barrier, we thought the name Rhino Skin perfectly communicated the benefits of using Advanced Nutrients potassium silicate.
By making crops stronger, Rhino Skin enables plants to perform other processes more efficiently. After all, fighting off pathogens is hard work, and when your plants don’t have to worry about doing that, they’re free to pour their energy into growing big, succulent flowers.
Read about the 10 most common hydroponic pests and diseases and learn how to combat them here.
Crops grown with potassium silicate hydroponic solutions have higher chlorophyll concentrations in their leaves than crops grown without them. For a plant, more chlorophyll means more power. More power to use the nutrients in its environment to reach its maximum size and production prowess. If you’re using a bloom booster like Big Bud® or Overdrive®, Rhino Skin gives your plants the power to make full use of these late-stage nutrient blasts.
The resulting crops are also healthier for anybody who consumes them. When toxic heavy metals like lead and arsenic are present in a grow environment, they travel up plant roots alongside the nutrients the plants need. Everything the plant takes in ends up in its final product.
How does silica keep heavy metals from reaching crops? You guessed it: By creating that rock-solid barrier around plant cells.
Smart Growers Use Potassium Silicate For Plants
The numbers don’t lie — Rhino Skin gets results. Among growers who’ve made Rhino Skin part of their growing systems:
- 41% report increased trichome structures
- 35% report increased heat resistance
- 27% report better mold, mildew and mite resistance
- 49% report sturdier plants
- 43% report higher-value flowers
As a grower, getting your crops’ nutrition plan just right is the only way to unlock their genetic potential. You have the power to direct life in a way that produces a profitable harvest. There’s a lot of information to digest, understand, and apply to your garden if you want to be a next-level grower.
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