Why do plants need magnesium?
If your goal is to be a good plant parent, then you need to feed your plant the proper nutrients. This includes essential nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, and sulfur. But what do these nutrients do for your plants and why are they so important? Let’s continue our journey into essential plant nutrients by answering the question, “Why do plants need magnesium?”
What is magnesium?
Magnesium is an element on the periodic table that all living things need, especially humans. When people have low magnesium levels, they’re more prone to conditions such as diabetes and osteoporosis. Magnesium is also used to make everyday items like lightbulbs, cameras, and laptops.
But when it comes to our green friends, why do plants need magnesium to remain healthy?
Why is magnesium important for plants?
Plants need magnesium for a variety of reasons — much like other essential plant nutrients, magnesium fulfills a variety of duties within a plant. But what are the primary reasons a plant needs magnesium? Here are a few of the heavy hitters:
- Magnesium is used for photosynthesis
- Magnesium promotes cell membrane stabilization
- Magnesium activates growth enzymes
- Magnesium aids in protein synthesis
One of the most important uses for magnesium lies within photosynthesis. This essential plant nutrient works with chlorophyll and the sun to turn leaves green.
How do I know if my plants need more magnesium?
If you’re wondering, “How do I know if my plants need more magnesium?” the answer can be found one of two ways.
The first way is to take a look at the plant itself. The physical appearance of a plant can often help you determine what nutrient(s) it’s missing. In the case of magnesium, the leaves may start to yellow and could also develop red or purple areas, as well. But like we’ve mentioned in our other essential nutrients articles, you don’t want to jump to conclusions. For example, yellowing leaves can indicate a deficiency in a number of nutrients — like iron, zinc, and nitrogen. Just be careful and do your research before you start adding amendments to your soil.
The second way to check for magnesium deficiency is to perform a soil test. However, soil tests can be tricky, and they aren’t always accurate.
While a soil test is designed to help you determine what your soil might be lacking, it doesn’t test all of your soil — only one part of it. In other words, the results for one small section of your soil may not be accurate for the rest of your soil. If you add amendments to your soil based on one test result from one section, you could end up damaging the other sections of your soil.
Secondly, soil tests are designed to tell you what nutrients are in the soil, but it won’t tell you what (or how much) nutrients are in a plant-available form. It would be something like the difference between cows and hamburgers. We eat hamburgers — not cows. This same concept holds true with the nutrients in your soil. Many can be in a form that plants simply can’t absorb. Needless to say, soil tests don’t always give us the information we are looking for.
What if my plant is not magnesium-deficient but it still looks bad?
Magnesium is only one of the 16 essential plant nutrients, and your plant needs all 16 nutrients to remain healthy. If your plant is not lacking magnesium but still looks to be in bad shape, then your plant might be deficient in a different nutrient.
If you want to learn more about these nutrients, take a look at the following articles:
But if you don’t want to get a PhD in chemistry, we recommend using a soil treatment like GardenMAX or TurfMAX. Not only do these treatments contain all 16 essential plant nutrients, but they also have a ton of other great benefits. For example, they can correct pH imbalances, add beneficial microbes to the soil, and slow-release fertilizer. Even better, they’re super easy to use — apply on top and water in.
Magnesium is essential for plants, so if you think your plant is missing this nutrient, you need to act fast. Unfortunately, testing for nutrient deficiencies in plants isn’t the clearest thing to do. But luckily, there’s another way to overcome this hurdle.
With a soil treatment from Green As It Gets, you can easily transform your soil into a place where plants love to grow. These soil treatments work fast to correct pH imbalances and supply your soil with any missing nutrients. It’s intelligent, advanced, and ready to go to work for your soil.