Plants complete their lifecycles if they have all the essential nutrients and elements. These include phosphorus, nitrogen, and potassium. However, non-essential elements like silicon also offer some benefits to some plants.
Silica or Silicon dioxide is abundant in the soil but it can only be taken up by the plant through mono-silicic acid. The majority of broadleaf plants take up small quantities of silica. Some grasses like rice and wetland grasses accumulate up to 5% to 10% silica in their tissue.
What Silica Does for Plants
Silica benefits some plants when they are under stress. Studies have found out that it can enhance tolerance to drought and environmental stress as well as delay wilting in some crops where irrigation is withheld. Also, it can improve the ability of the plant to resist metal toxicities and pathogens.
Effects of Silica Deficiency
Because silica is not an essential element, the majority of plants will grow normally without it. But, a few plants experience effects if silica is withheld. Plants like wheat and rice show decreased incidence of lodging when silica is given. Studies also discovered the importance of silica during flowering of some plants. For instance, a deficiency in silica will cause tomatoes, strawberry, and cucumber to have abnormal flower development, resulting in reduced fruit set and malformed fruit. In some plants, a silicon deficiency may increase the possibility of iron, copper, and manganese toxicity.
How to Use Silica for Plants
Silica can be introduced to plants and crops through a nutrient solution delivered throughout the plant’s entire lifecycle. Growers usually increase the amount of nutrient solution while the plant matures; however, it is important to read the product instructions and follow them accordingly. Silica features an alkalizing effect. Since too much of it can affect other nutrients’ uptake, the solution must be diluted and mixed thoroughly before added with extra nutrients.
The best nutrient solution contains naturally occurring and beneficial plant nutrients. It incorporates natural silica, macronutrients, and micronutrients that become bioavailable to surrounding plants when watered. Such silica and nutrients delivery method is unique that amplifies the growth of plants throughout the entire season by offering consistent nutrition.
Silica is an excellent compound mineral that helps increase a plant’s resistance to environmental stress and pathogens, leading to stronger plants and abundant harvests. Using a non-toxic, chemical-free solution that continuously feeds without damaging the soil will benefit both growers and plants.