Plants need nutrients to grow well. However, there are different minerals that plants need in varied quantities to carry out the essential functions of life. Each nutrient has its importance. So, how important is the potassium of the plant?
Do plants need potassium?
Yes, plants need potassium to survive. Potassium is classified as a macronutrient as it is required in large quantities throughout the lifetime of the plant. It plays an important role in the growth of the plant. It also plays several other roles in ensuring the good health of the plant.
Functions of Potassium
Potassium enables the plant to use the water efficiently and resist drought. It facilitates the movement of nutrients to the different parts of the plant. It is also involved in the enzyme activation within the plant, which in turn regulates the production of proteins, starch, and ATP.
Another role that potassium plays is in the opening and closing of the stomata and controls the exchange of water vapor, oxygen and carbon dioxide. It also has various benefits to ensure that the plant remains strong and healthy.
Benefits of potassium for the plant
Let us explore the various benefits of potassium for the plant –
- Root Growth – It improves the root growth of the plant. Since the roots are healthier and grow deep, the plant becomes more tolerant of drought.
- Maintains Turgor – Turgor is essentially the water pressure of the plant. It helps maintain the posture of the plant and prevents it from drooping and wilting. Potassium helps in maintaining the turgor of the plant.
- Protein Content – Potassium helps in increasing the protein production of plants and helps produce grains that are rich in starch. It helps in the translocation of proteins, starch, and sugar to the different parts of the plant.
- Pest Resistance – Potassium helps maintain the overall health of the plant. A healthy plant is more resistant to attacks by pests and fungal infections.
- Aids in Photosynthesis – Potassium helps in the process of photosynthesis by activating the enzymes which increase the production of ATPs.
Some of the common symptoms of potassium deficiency in plants include curling of leaves, brown scorching, and yellowing between the veins. A lack of potassium may cause stunted growth in the plant. It may also make the plant more prone to pests and frost damage.
Since the roots cannot develop well, a potassium deficient plant is more likely to be prone to droughts. Further, the seeds and fruits produced tend to be of lower quality.
The best way to solve a potassium deficiency is to use organic manure such as compost and wood ash. They contain the required amount of potassium to help the plant grow well.
Another alternative is to use potassium enriched fertilizers. However, it is advised to use a soil test to determine the amount of potassium your soil requires. It will help you provide the required potassium to your plant.
Thus, we can see that potassium is essential for the health of the plant. If your plant is deficient in potassium, follow the given steps to help nurture your plant back to health.