Diagnose and treat Nutrient Deficiency

Aeroponic growing has become increasingly more popular over the past decade and has allowed agriculturists the ability to get a 99% success rate when performed correctly. The amazing benefit of growing through a medium is that it limits the number of variables that can affect the growth of each plant. To see our recommendations on setting up your TurboKlone you can check out this article:

The best way to ensure cuttings survival is by choosing a healthy mother plant. A nutrient-rich mother plant is likely to perform better than cuttings from a near-dead plant. If a cutting is showing symptoms of deficiency it is important to diagnose the proper nutrient fast and correctly. 


The three main nutrients that plants need to grow are Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium their atomic symbols are N-P-K which is a common ratio displayed on all fertilizers. The N-P-K of any product will generally be presented with a numerical value to represent the percentage of volume within each solution. If a fertilizer is labeled 12-6-0 with the proportions a solution would be 12% Nitrogen, 6% Phosphorus, and 0% Potassium . Each element provided a different property to a plant, so if you can understand these nutrients you can diagnose your cuttings from an eyes view.   


Nitrogen is the single most important element to a plant's health and is the most common element to be deficient with growing. Nitrogen is an element in Chlorophyll the component that gives plants their lush green and is the active ingredient for plant growth. Nitrogen is a mobile nutrient meaning any deficiency will occur at the bottom of the plant and start at the tips of the leaves. Unlike other nutrient deficiencies, Nitrogen deficiencies will have Chlorosis (yellowing of a plant's anatomy) in the tissue of the leaves, in the veins, and eventually everywhere. It will start in the tissue and work its way through the veins and down into the stem, eventually, the whole leave will look like a light yellow.  



Phosphorus is a key nutrient in the development of root growth, is the vital nutrient for the flowering of any plant, and essential for photosynthesis. Phosphorus is a mobile nutrient and will move from older growth to new growth, so leaves near the bottom of the plant will show symptoms first. An easy indicator of phosphorous deficiency will be a discoloration of the leaves most likely a purple or dark red. However, some plants are supposed to grow these colors so be careful when diagnosing this way. Another way to tell a plant is deficient in Phosphorus is a clear lack of growth meaning the roots will likely grow at a slower rate. 




Potassium is referred to as the “quality nutrient” and helps with the overall strength of the plant. Potassium is key in root development it helps with the movement of water, sugars, and other nutrients throughout the plant. A Potassium deficiency is not as noticeable at first, one of the only signs will be stuned growth.

Potassium is a mobile nutrient so the deficiency will start at the tips and move in. later stages will show signs of Chlorosis and Necrosis (brown or black crisping/drying up). The tissue on the outside margins of the leaves will begin to turn yellow but the veins and tissue will stay relatively green. The main indicator of Potassium deficiency will be necrosis on the tip and then moving along the outside of the leaves.  

How Do You Treat a Nutrient Deficient Plant?  

Recognizing a deficiency early and correctly will save a cutting 99% of the time, so being familiar with your cuttings is very important. When treating Nitrogen, Phosphorus, and Potassium deficiencies be aware of the fact that they are all mobile nutrients meaning once treated the old vegetation will not show signs of better health. The nutrient boost will focus on the root system and new growth rather than previously affected areas. 

The best way to save a batch of cuttings from this issue is by adding some solution into your reservoir, go back and check the N-P-K on your original solution and see the contents. An easy fix is to put some solution with the proper ppm and spray the leaves and stems with the solution. This method is effective especially if you want to treat some of your cuttings but not all of them. If, however you see a general lack of nutrients throughout the whole batch you can put some solution directly into the reservoir. 

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published