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Nitrogen – Things you need to know in Hydroponics

Nitrogen is probably most discussed Nutrient element in hydroponics community. And it deserve so because Nitrogen probably has a greater total influence on plant growth than most of the other essential elements. A plant leaves contains N, around low of 2.00 to a high of 5.00% of the dry weight. Nitrogen is a major constituent of amino acids and proteins that play essential roles in plant growth and development. Here we will figure out thins to remember for Hydroponics cultivator.

Nitrogen Deficiency Symptoms in Hydroponics


Nitrogen deficiency appears as a lightening of the normal green color associated with a healthy plant appearance. First symptoms of N deficiency appear on the older leaves, which become light green in color. Nitrogen deficiency will shift the morpho-genetics of the plant, reducing growth, bringing an early onset of flowering and early completion of the life cycle.

The Sulphur Mimic


Sulphur deficiency symptoms can mimic those of N deficiency, although S deficiency symptoms appear over the entire plant, while N deficiency symptoms initially appear on the older tissue, and then advance over the entire plant as the severity of the deficiency increases.

Excess is dangerous too


There is as much danger in N excess as deficiency, particu


larly for fruiting crops. Excess Nitrogen in hydroponics system frequently does more permanent damage to the plant than does N deficiency. Excess N produces lush plants with dark green foliage. Such plants are susceptible to disease and insect attack and have greater sensitivity to changing environmental conditions.

Ammonium versus Nitrate


NH4+ in the nutrient solution stimulates the uptake of NO3–. It has been shown that as little as 5% of the total N in solution as NH4 + in a flowing nutrient solution system is sufficient. Experience has shown that the percentage of NH4 + ions in the nutrient solution should not exceed 50% of the total N concentration; the best ion ratio is 75% NO3 – to 25% NH4+.



Ammonium Toxicity


Ammonium can be toxic to plants when it is the major source of N, resulting in slowed growth and development. Lesions will develop on the stem and leaves, and leaves will develop a cupping appearance. The vascular tissue may begin to deteriorate. Another factor that needs to be considered when selecting the proper ion ratio of NH4 + to NO3 – in the nutrient solution is plant species. Fruiting plants, such as tomato and pepper, are particularly sensitive to NH4 + nutrition.

Roots and Elemental Uptake




It is known that the N concentration in the nutrient solution can influence the character of root growth. As the NO3– concentration increases, the number and length of root hairs decreases. Concentrations of the other major elements, P, K, Ca, and Mg, have no similar effect. Even a change in the NH4 + content of the nutrient solution has no effect on root hairs.





Nitrogen is considered most important nutrition element in Hydroponics system. Nitrogen deficiency and excess can be easily figure out during plants growth stage. But one must check Ammonium and Nitrate ratio in Hydroponics Nutrition Recipe.