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  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

Calcium Deficiency in Plants Causes and Treatment

Calcium is an important mineral for plants. It is necessary for plants to build strong cell walls and it helps with other metabolic processes. A lack of calcium can cause problems for plants, leading to deficiencies in other minerals and reduced growth. Fortunately, there are a few things that growers can do to prevent calcium deficiencies in their plants.

What is a calcium deficiency and what are the symptoms

Are your plants struggling to stand tall and strong? Are their leaves looking yellow and wilted? They may be experiencing a lack of calcium in their diet. Calcium is crucial for cell growth and strength in plants, just as it is for humans.

Without enough calcium, plants will struggle to build sturdy cell walls, leading to weak stems and yellowed leaves. In severe cases, this deficiency can cause stunted growth or tip burn in leafy vegetables like lettuce or cabbage. There are many fertilizers that contain extra calcium to help prevent this deficiency from occurring.

Causes of calcium deficiency in plants

One of the most common causes of calcium deficiency in plants is inadequate soil fertility. When the soil does not contain enough calcium, it can be difficult for plants to absorb and utilize it effectively. In addition, acidic soil can also prevent plants from being able to access calcium. Another potential cause is low levels of potassium, which helps plants regulate the absorption of calcium.

Additionally, improper watering techniques such as frequent and heavy watering can wash away calcium from the root zone, causing a deficiency.

Lastly, certain types of pests or diseases can interfere with a plant's ability to absorb and use calcium.

Pests that interfere with a plant's ability to absorb calcium are typically sap-sucking insects such as aphids, whiteflies, and scale. These pests extract sap from plants and in the process they inject toxins that damage plant tissues. This makes it difficult for plants to take up essential minerals like calcium, leading to deficiencies.

Diseases that interfere with a plant's ability to absorb calcium include verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, and phytophthora. These diseases are caused by pathogens that damage the plant's vascular system, which prevents the plant from being able to take up nutrients from the soil.

By identifying and addressing these potential causes, gardeners can effectively reduce or prevent calcium deficiencies in their plants.

How to treat calcium deficiency in plants

The first step is to start feeding your plants a calcium-rich fertilizer, like lime or gypsum. You can also add crushed eggshells or bone meal to the soil.

Another effective method is to spray the leaves with a calcium solution made from eggshells or chalk mixed with water.

Just make sure to only do it in the early morning or evening, when the sun isn't at its strongest, to avoid scorching the leaves.


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