How to identify and treat a calcium deficiency in plants

If your plants are not looking their best, your plants may be suffering from a nutrient deficiency. While it’s not always easy to pinpoint a particular deficiency, if your plants have a low growth rate, have curling leaves, or browning apical meristems (growing points), low calcium may be the culprit. 

Calcium plays such a pivotal part in plant growth that left untreated, young leaves will struggle to grow and flowering and fruiting are inhibited. Catch a calcium nutrient deficiency in time, though, and you just might save your crop! 

It is helpful to remember that when calcium is absorbed, it becomes immovable and will stay within the developed and older plant tissues, which is why a calcium deficiency affects younger leaves. Having a stable supply of calcium is important so it can be absorbed by other younger developing parts of the plant.

How to fix a calcium deficiency in plants
Firstly, it’s important to make sure you are using a water-soluble calcium source, such as calcium nitrate so this nutrient can move through the plants. When growing in soil, you can opt to apply calcium sources such as lime, bone meal, or gypsum. However, keep in mind this can alter your pH or add additional nutrients along with calcium.

When you are growing in hydroponics, you don’t want to oversupply your plants with other nutrients, so it is best to use a calcium-only additive. If you’re using hard water for your plants, it’s essential to note this particular type of water normally contains a high level of dissolved calcium and other nutrients.

If you are seeing signs of calcium deficiency in your plants, it may be tempting to simply add more calcium. However, this could cause other issues and it is possible your soil or solution does not require more calcium. The problem could be that this nutrient isn’t making its way into your plants.

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