There are several aspects of plant nutrition, which need to be considered for better growth of plants. The basic nutrients required for growth are divided into two main categories namely micronutrients and macronutrients.
Macronutrients: They are required by plants in larger quantities. There are six elements in the soil that are included under this category: nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, and sulfur.
Micronutrients: They are required in smaller quantities by the plants. There exist eight elements included under this category: iron, zinc, molybdenum, manganese, boron, copper, cobalt, and chlorine.
Water: A majority of growing plants contains as much as 90 percent water. Water is one of the most essential factors required in growth of plants. Water plays a crucial role for efficient photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, and transportation of minerals and other nutrients through the plant. Water is responsible for functioning of the stomatal opening of leaves, and also as the source of pressure for the directed growth of roots through the soil.
Light: Various sources can be used to provide light to the plants, and they can be classified into two types: natural and artificial. The former category includes sunlight, whereas the latter includes various types of lighting equipment. Blue light is essential for the growth of the leaves, whereas a combination of red and blue light promotes flowering of plants. The artificial sources can also be manipulated to adjust the intensity of light. While it is always good to rely on the natural type, during extreme weather conditions, and lack of sunlight, artificial lighting is the best option. Also, there are certain plants that require less light for the growth. In such cases, light can be filtered using protective shelters for plants to allow minimum required amount of exposure.
Temperature: Temperature is a crucial element that influences the growth of plants. Temperature of the surrounding atmosphere as well as that of the soil matters for the plant growth. Optimum temperature is one of the pre-requisites for many plant processes like photosynthesis, respiration, germination, and flowering. Usually the cold season flora require 55-65 degrees Fahrenheit as the optimum temperature for germination, whereas warm-season plants germinate at 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature ranges for optimum photosynthesis and respiration vary with the species of plants and their individual requirements.
Relative Humidity: Moisture is animportant factor in growth of plants, and is defined as the ratio of water vapor in the air to the amount of water in the air. The relative humidity is used by the flora, and is crucial for transpiration. This process is highest when hot, windy, and dry days are present, while it decreases during cool and humid days.
Carbon dioxide and Oxygen The manufacturing of sugar by flora requires the presence of carbon dioxide, and hence it is one of the most vital elements for plant growth. Plants can use as much as 1500 parts per million of carbon dioxide. In case the natural carbon dioxide available in the air is not enough, there exist Carbon dioxide injectors that promote enhanced plant growth. Oxygen is essential for plant respiration and utilization of photosynthesis byproducts.
Soil: Soil with proper humidity, and the right balance of all the minerals and nutrients is one of the essential factors instrumental in plant growth. The type of soil and the quality and the nutrients required in it vary according to the plant species. The right pH balance, which measures the alkalinity or acidity of the soil and presence of certain chemicals, is also instrumental in the growth of plants.