The Importance of Plant Nutrients

We Need Nutrients to Survive 

            There are so many benefits of nutrients in plants that I think it’s important we talk about them. As humans, we benefit so much from plants in so many different ways. For those of you who don’t know exactly what nutrients are, they are chemical substances found in every living thing on earth. Nutrients help us break down food to give organisms energy. These nutrients help growth and building cells, healing wounds, and breathing. I mean, those are all pretty vital needs if you ask me. Plants must get an adequate amount of nutrients so that we can get nutrients from the plant, that’s how the cycle goes. Essential plant nutrients come from the soil and water.

Plants are known as autotrophs, which means that they can make their own food[1]. The most important nutrients they need are carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Other common nutrients needed by plants are nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur[2].

How the Synthesis Process Works

            Plants are one of the most independent organisms on this planet. They can do almost everything on their own. They use these essential plant nutrients to create their own nutrients such as sugars. The human body can only synthesize some nutrients, like amino acids, but for the most part, we get most of our nutrients from food intake. These essential nutrients that we need include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. These nutrients are all grouped into one category referred to as “macronutrients”. Essential plant nutrient-rich soil or water contains large amounts of nitrogen, carbon, phosphorus, sulfur, and potassium. As plants and animals die, they decompose and release nutrients into the environment. Thus, the cycle starts over. All of this is vital to our survival because nutrients in plants play a huge role in our lives.

Humans Help Create Nutrients

            Like most things, humans tend to affect the environment in more ways than one. Our interference has many effects on the ecosystem. Human activity can often add nutrients to soil and water. There are many surprising ways in which we affect the addition of nutrients into the environment. The first example is sewage and wastewater, these are full of nutrients such as carbon. Treated wastewater is sometimes released directly into the environment. That’s a positive way that the environment benefits. This one seems pretty obvious, but fertilizer is a big one. Fertilizer, which is used predominantly in agriculture, for those of you who do not know, is rich in carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus. Farmers use fertilizer on crops such as grains, fruits, and vegetables, but I think we all knew that. I don’t love fertilizer use but it is a way in which we provide plants with nutrients.  


Everything Is About Balance

            Like everything in life, there has to be a balance. Some areas have low nutrients and other areas that have an excess amount of nutrients. Too many nutrients in the soil are not good either. Areas with little nutrients cannot support biodiversity which can be a real issue. If there aren’t enough nutrients in plants, then the soil will not be rich in plant minerals either. For example, bogs, which are wetlands found in cool climates, have very poor nutrient levels.

The soil of bogs is very acidic therefore it is not rich enough to promote diverse growth. There are only a few types of plants that can grow in that soil because it lacks a certain richness. There is a way to add nutrients to certain ecosystems. Upwelling is a process where nutrient-rich water is pushed to the upper layers of the ocean. Upwelling wrings a very healthy supply of nutrients to fish, seaweeds, and marine mammals[3]

Plants Help Us In More Ways Than One 

            Plants are vital to every aspect of our lives. They provide us with food, shelter, medicine, and fuel. The basic food needed for every organism can be traced back to a plant. In the process of food production, oxygen is also released. This oxygen, as we all know, is essential to life. Without plants, we wouldn’t have this oxygen. Without this oxygen, there would be no life of any kind. Plants also help a good deal with our mental health. Many studies have shown that have plants around the home and workplace helps concentration and memory retention. We don’t just benefit from plant minerals, we also benefit from their visual aspects. The calming nature of the plant creates a positive workspace. There isn’t a real explanation for it, but this is a common belief that plants affect the quality of work that is done. 


More Ways That We Benefit from Plants

            A lot of educational programs have been centered around plants as well. Many parks and botanical gardens host a variety of programs really impact the residents around them. Not to mention, keeping flowers around the house has been proven to reduce stress levels and increase happiness. It has been shown that people that keep flowers in their homes feel happier, less stressed, and are more relaxed. Parks help with people’s health as well because they provide people with a recreational space to exercise and move their bodies. Not to mention, plants provide us with the best natural medicines as well. Aloe is a very well-known fix that comes straight from a plant. Plants are medicine for both your physical and mental well-being. I mean there is literally a therapy, called horticulture therapy, that is centered around nurturing for plants as a way of recovery. 

We Must Look Out for Our Earth

            The benefits we get from plants are endless. The nutrients in plants help us in unmatched ways. They are so important to our well-being that we must take the time to care for them the right way. They are so important to us so why shouldn’t we give back to them? Everything in life is about mutual respect. We should respect the organisms that provide us with the very air we breathe. Without them, there is no life. I don’t understand how people can continuously disrespect mother earth when her creations do so much for us. Human beings are inherently very selfish creatures. We put ourselves first and make decisions based on convenience. We are lazy so we don’t take the time to recycle or we would rather litter than find a garbage can. This is crazy to me. I don’t understand how people don’t understand the importance of consideration. 

Surround Yourself With Beautiful Things 

            I think everyone could benefit from having plants in the home. Whether you need an extra boost of happiness or not, they will affect your life even if you don’t realize it. Not to mention, gardening itself is very relaxing and therapeutic as well. It is truly crazy to think about how self-sufficient these organisms are. While there are ways to give plants nutrients, for the most part, they can do it themselves. So, plant some beautiful plants in your home and watch them grow. Give them love because they will love you back. They work hard to create good things for this earth. It is important to surround yourself with good things, you deserve it. 

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