Chemistry of Gardening | Chemistry | CSEC CXC lessons online – Study Guide

Chemistry of Gardening


List at least 6 elements needed for plant growth

Identify sources of  the essential elements



Elements needed for plant growth

Plants need as many as 20 different elements

The three most important are C, H and O

which are obtained from the air in the form of Carbon dioxide and

from the soil in the form of water.

These are readily available to the plant.

These along with six other elements that are required in relatively large amounts are listed below along with their function and deficiency symptoms.







Deficiency Symptoms


   Nitrogen For making proteins Stunted growth
Phosphorus For development of roots especially plants with bulbs Poor root development leaves and stems get purplish colour
Potassium For flower and fruit  development Stunted growth, easy loss of leaves, flower and fruit
Calcium Structural strength and root growth Deformity of tips and roots
Magnesium For formation of chlorophyll Slow growth, older leaves are light green
Sulphur For making protein Stunted yellowish plants


Sources of the essential elements

Nitrogen         -   Nitrogen fixation, humus, urea, ammonium sulphate, excreta

Phosphorus   -    manure, iron, aluminium phosphates in the soil

Potassium      - pig manure, potassium chloride, potassium sulphate, potassium nitrate

Calcium          -   lime (calcium carbonate), calcium phosphate, calcium sulphate

Magnesium    -   Magnesium sulphate, magnesium carbonate

Sulphur          -   Humus, ammonium sulphate, potassium sulphate, magnesium sulphate and calcium sulphate.