Author: Mr. Guy Sela, CEO of SMART! Fertilizer Management software and an international expert in plant nutrition and irrigation.
Potassium is an essential plant nutrient and is required in large amounts for proper growth and reproduction of plants. Potassium is considered second only to nitrogen, when it comes to nutrients needed by plants, and is commonly considered as the “quality nutrient.”
It affects the plant shape, size, color, taste and other measurements attributed to healthy produce.
Plants absorb potassium in its ionic form, K+.
Potassium has many different roles in plants:
Potassium deficiency might cause abnormalities in plants, usually the symptoms are growth related.
Potassium deficiency Potassium deficiency Potassium deficiency
in banana in citrus in potato
Cholrosis – scorching of plant leaves, with yellowing of the margins of the leaf. This is one of the first symptoms of Potassium deficiency. Symptoms appear on middle and lower leaves.
Slow or Stunted growth – as potassium is an important growth catalyst in plants, potassium deficient plants will have slower or stunted growth.
Poor resistance to temperature changes and to drought – Poor potassium uptake will result in less water circulation in the plant. This will make the plant more susceptible to drought and temperature changes.
Defoliation - left unattended, potassium deficiency in plants results in plants losing their leaves sooner than they should. This process might become even faster if the plant is exposed to drought or high temperatures. Leaves turn yellow, then brown and eventually fall off one by one.
Other symptoms of Potassium deficiency:
Proper fertilizer management can avoid potassium deficiencies and damage to crops.
A database of the potassium requirements of hundreds of crops is available Here.
Continue reading about potassium in soil.