Are you ready to grow delectable fruits and vegetables in your garden this summer? A healthy application of phosphorus-infused fertilizer could be just what your plants need to grow big and strong. Still, you may wonder, “How do plants get phosphorus?”
At A Garden Patch, we help gardeners like you get the most out of their crop yields. Below, our team created a comprehensive article unpacking phosphorus and how to use it effectively.
After reading, check out our GrowBox solutions for your home garden. You can apply Jobe’s Organic fertilizer to the GrowBox to feed your plants with the nutrient-dense minerals they need. The fertilization process is quick and easy, so you can get the most out of your gardening experience.
In the late 17th century, Henning Brandt — a German alchemist — discovered phosphorus while attempting to uncover a chemical reaction that would transmute metals, like iron, into gold. Phosphorus is an essential nutrient found in every living organism. In fact, it is one of over a dozen essential nutrients, such as calcium, sulfur, and nitrogen, that most vegetables need to grow and multiply.
Phosphorus is a critical component in nucleic acids like RNA and DNA. These biological functions help fruits and vegetables synthesize proteins and metabolize other nutrients. Phosphorus also plays a primary role in absorbing and transforming UV light into biomolecules that improve root strength and shoot hardness.
Phosphorus is naturally abundant in foods like red meat, nuts, and dairy. Phosphorus in fertilizer comes from the phosphate rock, which forms deep within the earth’s crust.
How Phosphorus Interacts with Plants
Phosphorus interacts with organic matter in several ways. For example, humans and animals metabolize phosphorus, which results in higher red blood cell production and improved muscle strength.
Plants depend on phosphorus to survive. You cannot use any other ingredient to replace phosphorus if your plants are deficient in this key nutrient. The primary purpose of phosphorus is to capture and move energy, photosynthesize, and fortify the plant against hot temperatures and pests.
Phosphorus also gives fruit and veggies their bright colors and helps them produce more seeds. With the right phosphorus balance, these plants may even withstand frost.
When a plant eventually dies, its phosphorus will recycle back into the soil. At this point, insects and nearby root systems can collect it and continue the fertilization cycle.
How Phosphorus Interacts with Soil
So how do plants get phosphorus?
In the wild, plants use phosphorus dissolved by water from the soil to synthesize core functions. Plants consume phosphorus quickly, so the soil must have a constant supply of water and organic matter to provide adequate nutrients for nearby fruits or vegetables.
Phosphorus-deficient soil can result in patches of infertile land.
Many external factors determine the availability of phosphorus in soil. For example, high aeration and compaction levels can significantly reduce phosphorus uptake and prevent plant growth. Low acid and alkaline levels in the soil may also reduce phosphorus availability.
Few environments provide the phosphorus-rich soil needed to grow fruits and veggies without additional fertilizers. That is why many people choose gardening products like the GrowBox to improve yields. These incubators provide automatic fertilization and the perfect spacing between seeds, so you can grow your plants properly.
The Phosphorus Uptake Process
Plants require a healthy root system to uptake phosphorus nutrients.
Diffusion allows nutrient molecules to travel through the soil over time, eventually attaching to organic matter. Water can hasten this process, but only in short distances between phosphorus and the plant.
Mass flow is the process of water transporting minerals to the root system of a plant. However, this step is not the most efficient way to feed plants with phosphorus.
Root interception is the process in which a plant’s roots penetrate new soil to consume a healthy supply of phosphorus and other nutrient-dense minerals. This uptake method is one of the most efficient ways for plants to consume phosphorus.
Phosphorus deficiencies typically occur in arid or wet climates. Most plants with phosphorus deficiencies display symptoms during the early stages of growth. These symptoms include delayed growth, dark green and purple leaves, and brittle shoots.
You may wonder, “How do plants get phosphorus if the soil is too dry?” A mixture of water and natural phosphorus fertilizers, such as animal manure or compost, may restore the sick plant’s health. However, these products may not be accessible to many gardeners.
Phosphorus fertilizers like Jobe’s Organic fertilizer are a cost-efficient alternative that can provide the nutrients your garden needs during hot summers.
Adding and Removing Phosphorus From Plants
Adding the right amount of phosphorus to your soil can be challenging. First, you’ll need to assess your plants and determine how much water and space they need to grow. Unless you live near phosphorus-rich soil, you should purchase fertilizer to ensure your plant receives adequate minerals.
Monitoring your crops during the early growth stage is essential. If you notice discoloration, you may need to add or remove fertilizer and water. Too much fertilizer can create compaction, while too much water could reduce phosphorus availability in soil.
Phosphorus is harder to remove from soil than other nutrients, like nitrogen, despite being reactive to the soil. Hence, lab testing your soil is the most reliable way to monitor and adjust phosphorus levels throughout the season. However, this method is not ideal for the average home gardener.
Finding a Perfect Balance with the GrowBox
Eliminate the guesswork when it comes time to plant your onions, carrots, and potatoes. At A Garden Patch, we offer the GrowBox to simplify your gardening experience. This product provides the perfect mineral balance for your crops and takes up little space in your yard.
Reduce the risk of nutrient deficiency in tomatoes by planting them in the GrowBox for optimal calcium and magnesium (dolomite) levels. Enjoy bountiful fruit and vegetable harvests by investing in this scientifically proven gardening solution.
How do plants get phosphorus? Contact A Garden Patch in Louisiana, MO, to learn more. Call (800) 519-1955.