The Role Calcium and Magnesium Play in Indoor Gardening
Nutrition is everything in a hydroponics system, and the lack or overabundance of certain minerals can be obvious. No two minerals play a more important role than calcium and magnesium. If you aren’t keeping these two at optimal levels in your nutrient solution, your plants will send a signal—whether through color or position—that they’re struggling to survive. Here’s a quick breakdown of the role calcium and magnesium play in indoor gardening.
How Do Calcium and Magnesium Help Plants?
As a child, your parents probably told you to drink your milk to build strong teeth and bones—that’s because of the calcium it contains. Among other reasons, like making muscles stronger and helping our blood clot, our nerves deliver signals, and our hearts beat and transport blood, calcium helps our bones grow stronger. Similarly, calcium helps plants build a tough framework so they can stand tall. Magnesium is necessary to help our bodies make DNA, build bones, regulate blood pressure and sugar levels, and more. Similarly, plants also require magnesium to grow, as well as because it aids in photosynthesis. Magnesium is part of the chlorophyll molecule, which is the reason why plants are generally green.
But let’s say your plants are getting too much of either magnesium or calcium. The signs may or not be obvious. If your solution is too high in calcium, your plants may not immediately show it, but there are signs to watch out for. Excessive calcium prevents the other nutrients from doing their work, so you may notice discoloration or diminished growth without knowing the immediate cause. Often, the calcium will interact with any sulfur in your solution and collect in your tank. As for too much magnesium, when it meets with calcium it can keep the latter mineral from doing its job. Plants will start to look shrimpy and darkly discolored. In both cases of mineral overabundance, it’s time to remix and remeasure your nutrient solution. Don’t discount the importance of cleaning and sterilizing your grow supplies and system to remove remaining minerals that might sully the new solution.
Too little of either element is a bit easier to detect. A lack of calcium manifests itself in plants through the leaves. Watch for crinkling, small, or deformed leaves with curled edges and brown or dead spots. Also, calcium-deficient plants are more susceptible to heat and may develop “burns.” A lack of magnesium, conversely, announces itself with brown or yellow spots between the leaves’ veins. These will grow larger and expand, and the plants’ overall growth and flower development will likewise be delayed. Incidentally, a lack of magnesium can sometimes be fixed by lightly spraying an Epsom salt solution on the leaves.
Overall, if your plants appear to be shriveling, yellowing, or otherwise failing, consider the role calcium and magnesium play in indoor gardening. Often, conditions like these can be easily remedied by remeasuring and remixing your nutrient solution. These and other grow supplies are available through us, sometimes at a discount, including balanced and premixed hydroponics grow solutions.