Thursday, January 8, 2015

Roles of The 16 Essential Nutrients in Plants Development

Sixteen plant food nutrients are essential for proper crop development. Each is equally important to the plant, yet each is required in vastly different amounts. These differences have led to the grouping of these essential elements into three categories; primary (macro) nutrients, secondary nutrients, and micronutrients.
PRIMARY (MACRO) NUTRIENTS
Primary (macro) nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. They are the most frequently required in a crop fertilization program. Also, they are need in the greatest total quantity by plants as fertilizer.
NITROGEN
· Necessary for formation of amino acids, the building blocks of protein
· Essential for plant cell division, vital for plant growth
· Directly involved in photosynthesis
· Necessary component of vitamins
· Aids in production and use of carbohydrates
· Affects energy reactions in the plant
PHOSPHORUS
· Involved in photosynthesis, respiration, energy storage and transfer, cell division, and enlargement
· Promotes early root formation and growth
· Improves quality of fruits, vegetables, and grains
· Vital to seed formation
· Helps plants survive harsh winter conditions
· Increases water-use efficiency
· Hastens maturity
POTASSIUM
· Carbohydrate metabolism and the break down and translocation of starches
· Increases photosynthesis
· Increases water-use efficiency
· Essential to protein synthesis
· Important in fruit formation
· Activates enzymes and controls their reaction rates
· Improves quality of seeds and fruit
· Improves winter hardiness
· Increases disease resistance
SECONDARY NUTRIENTS
The secondary nutrients are calcium, magnesium, and sulphur. For most crops, these three are needed in lesser amounts that the primary nutrients. They are growing in importance in crop fertilization programs due to more stringent clean air standards and efforts to improve the environment.
CALCIUM
· Utilized for Continuous cell division and formation
· Involved in nitrogen metabolism
· Reduces plant respiration
· Aids translocation of photosynthesis from leaves to fruiting organs
· Increases fruit set
· Essential for nut development in peanuts
· Stimulates microbial activity
MAGNESIUM
· Key element of chlorophyll production
· Improves utilization and mobility of phosphorus
· Activator and component of many plant enzymes
· Directly related to grass tetany
· Increases iron utilization in plants
· Influences earliness and uniformity of maturity
SULPHUR
· Integral part of amino acids
· Helps develop enzymes and vitamins
· Promotes nodule formation on legumes
· Aids in seed production
· Necessary in chlorophyll formation (though it isn’t one of the constituents)
MICRONUTRIENTS
The micronutrients are boron, chlorine, cooper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc. These plant food elements are used in very small amounts, but they are just as important to plant development and profitable crop production as the major nutrients. Especially, they work “behind the scene” as activators of many plant functions.
BORON
· Essential of germination of pollon grains and growth of pollen tubes
· Essential for seed and cell wall formation
· Promotes maturity
· Necessary for sugar translocation
· Affects nitrogen and carbohydrate
CHLORINE
· Not much information about its functions
· Interferes with P uptake
· Enhances maturity of small grains on some soils
COPPER
· Catalyzes several plant processes
· Major function in photosynthesis
· Major function in reproductive stages
· Indirect role in chlorophyll production
· Increases sugar content
· Intensifies color
· Improves flavor of fruits and vegetables
IRON
· Promotes formation of chlorophyll
· Acts as an oxygen carrier
· Reactions involving cell division and growth
MAGANESE
· Functions as a part of certain enzyme systems
· Aids in chlorophyll synthesis
· Increases the availability of P and CA
MOLYBDENUM
· Required to form the enzyme “nitrate reductas” which reduces nitrates to ammonium in plant
· Aids in the formation of legume nodules
· Needed to convert inorganic phosphates to organic forms in the plant
ZINC
· Aids plant growth hormones and enzyme system
· Necessary for chlorophyll production
· Necessary for carbohydrate formation
· Necessary for starch formation
· Aids in seed formation
In addition to the 13 nutrients listed above, plants require carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen, which are extracted from air and water to make up the bulk of plant weight.

All About Dracaena ( Plant, Grow and Take Care)

Among a huge variety of plants that are used for home, office, apartments, malls and landscape decoration, dracaena family is the one you can meet practically everywhere. This group of plants enumerates nearly 40 species that vary in sizes and forms.
As dracaena is a very beautiful plant, it requires proper care and attention. Unfortunately, not everyone knows how to grow it. If you’d like to have this flower in your home as well, then follow our tips and find out more about care for dracaena.

Types of Dracaena

Not all 40 kinds of this plant can be found in garden centers. In most cases, people choose those types of dracaena that grow between 2 and 10 feet. To the commonest of them belong:
  • marginata
  • sanderiana
  • fragrans
  • deremensis
  • draco
  • cinnabari
Marginata (the Madagascar dragon-tree or red-edged flower) is a quite thin dracaena plant with purplish-red leaves and curving stalks. It grows between 8 and 15 feet tall and has a spread of 3-8 feet.
Sanderiana (the lucky bamboo plant) is another type that is mainly chosen as an office or home plant. It requires less maintenance and is rather hardy.
Fragrans (the corn plant) grows best in tropical and sub-tropical climates. Its narrow arched foliage resembles corn plants, and when the plant grows in the wild, it can reach 40-50 feet.
Deremensis (the green plant) is characterized by a greater number of cultivars then specimen. The largest of them is Janet Craig (10 feet tall).
The description doesn’t give the full image of the plants. Viewing dracaena images you’ll be able to choose the species you like the most, but remember that pictures can’t provide the needed information about plant growing.

Dracaena Seed Germination

Instead of cutting dracaena seeds, you must sow them into the soil and keep the soil moist. No matter what type of plant you choose and where you are going to grow it, the seeds will take about 30-40 days to start sprouting. This is why it is recommended to soak them in warm water for about five days to improve germination. Don’t forget to change water daily.

Cutting Dracaena as an Effective Way of Plants Propagation

In case you have no seeds to plant, you can easily use cutting to propagate these plants. All you need for propagation is to take six or eight inch long cuttings of the plant you wish to spread and plant the cuttings into pots. About 2/3 of a cutting should be above the soil, which must be kept moist.
As a rule, it takes a few months before one can see the signs of new growth.

Dracaena Planting: How to Grow Dracaena Indoors?

Planting dracaena indoors is not as easy as it seems to be, especially, when you are going to place it in pots or containers to decorate any interior. So, how to plant dracaena?
  • take a container with drainage, fill it with a potting mix and then place the plant (cutting) into it;
  • choose bright area, but try to avoid direct light. The area should be warm, as these plants never do well in cold places;
  • drain the plant with water (distilled, rain or day-tap).

Right Outdoor Dracaena Growing

Growing this plant outdoors requires special consideration. To begin with, you are to select a proper place. It shouldn’t be too bright or too dark. Areas with filtered light are the most optimal. One more tip: the plant should be placed in soil that drains well.
Dig a hole in the chosen area. It should be twice as large as the plant’s root. The root system should be surrounded by soil in order to spread up quite easily. Stomp down the hole, fill the soil that remained and stomp it down again (this will ensure firmness of the ground).
When caring for dracaena water it not more than two or three times per week during the first 20 days, and then – once per week.

Why Do Dracaena Leaves Die?

Too many people are getting worried about the plant’s leaves: they start turning brown from the tip, and then the entire leaf becomes brown and dies. Pruning dead leaves away, you won’t settle up the problem.
Think of the reasons that led to such results. One of the commonest ones is that leaves were underwatered or overwatered. Always use well-drained soil to avoid problems in the future. Besides, it is important to make sure that the pot is well-drained too.

Essential Tips on Dracaena Care

Proper cultivation takes an important part in plant maintenance. Not everyone knows how to prune a  dracaena, when to start transplanting it and what care instructions to keep to. The following tips are going to be your guide in the process of proper plant growing.
  • Light: this plant is quite tolerant of a wide range of conditions. It grows best in bright and indirect light. Low light can be handled pretty fine as well, but the plant will grow much slower.
  • Temperature: it should always be warm, regardless of the season outside. When the temperature falls below 65°F, the plant will not grow. Sometimes, it even dies.
  • Humidity: if the surrounding humidity is high, the plant grows well. The humidity can be even increased with the help of pebbles placed below the plant.
  • Fertilizers: such needs are pretty simple. In summer and spring you can apply water-soluble house-plant fertilizer two times a month. When it is winter or autumn outside, the fertilizer is not needed.
  • Fluoride: these plants are very sensitive to it, so exposure to this chemical should be minimized. Fluoride can be found in tap water, that’s why it is essential not to use pure and clean water.

Potential Problems to Fight: Diseases and Pests

Dracaena can get various pests (mealy bugs, scale, spider mites, etc) and this is why it is highly important to know about natural solutions for them.
Spider mites are sucking insects that cause the leaves get ragged. To get rid of them, you can spray the plant with insecticides for houseplants. Mealy bugs, as well as scale, are easily avoided by an insecticide that contains pyrethrin.
The most common diseases that affect the plant include:
  • Flecking – leaves have yellow and white spots near tips. The disease is treated by maintaining moderate moisture, light conditions and temperature
  • Fluoride toxicity – leaves have dark brown and dead areas with yellow borders. Management: avoid using soil amendments that contain fluoride.
  • Fusarium leaf spot – reddish spots on young leaves. The plant can be saved with the help of applying iprodione, thiophanate methyl, mancozeb and chlorothalonil.
  • Soft rot – soft, brown rot and foul odor on rooted cuttings. Management: the only way out is to buy plants without diseases and get rid of those that have them.
Dracaena plants have beautiful color patterns (with pink, yellow, white and red stripes) and can spice up any area. If you know when to transplant, how to care for them and keep to all the above mentioned recommendations, you’ll have healthy plants that will amaze everyone around.