top of page
  • Naomi Stephens | Permaculture Designer

Calcium Deficiency in Plants Causes and Treatment

Updated: Mar 4

Calcium is an essential mineral for plants. Plants must build strong cell walls, which helps with other metabolic processes.

A lack of calcium can cause problems for plants, leading to deficiencies in other minerals and reduced growth.

Fortunately, growers can do a few things 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 plant cell growth and strength, just as it is for humans.

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

Causes of calcium deficiency in plants

One of the plants' most common causes of calcium deficiency 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 potassium levels, which helps plants regulate calcium absorption.

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

Lastly, certain 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, injecting toxins that damage plant tissues in the process. 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 plant calcium deficiencies.

How to treat calcium deficiency in plants

The first step is to feed 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 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.


Thank you for reading! Please share this content if you find it helpful.



Get free resources, useful, well researched new ideas. Subscribe.

Subscribe for free Permaculture resources periodically. 

Subscribe for more relevant information on small space gardening and Urban permaculture. Be the first to see exclusive and new content. Be updated on the latest on what's going on in the urban gardening world.

See More

bottom of page