When and how to use iron chelate for plants?

Chlorotic leafchlorotic sheet


When we grow plants, we may find their yellowish leaves on more than one occasion, with very visible nerves. This is a very common problem called iron chlorosis, and if it is not corrected in time it would end up weakening them until the world that we could lose them forever.

To avoid reaching that situation, what is done is to provide them iron chelateWhat it will do is give the roots this much-needed mineral, thus making the new leaves that sprout come out with their natural green color. But, What exactly is this product and how is it used?

What is it?

Iron chelate is useful for chlorotic plantsIron chelate is useful for chlorotic plants

Image – Flickr / Scot Nelson

The iron chelate is a microgranulable that dissolves in water that is used to correct iron chlorosis; that is, iron deficiency in plants. And it is that when the vegetal beings begin to yellow, getting to remain with chlorophyll -green substance- only the nerves of the surface, we can assume that their roots are not finding the iron they need or, even worse, that said mineral is not is available to them due to the high pH (hydrogen potential) of the soil or substrate.

There are different types of chelates:

  • YES: they can be very stable and very efficient in the long term, or less stable but have a quick response from the plants.
  • EDDHMA, EDDHSA and EEDCHA: they are very stable. The last two are used in liquid fertilizers as they are very soluble.
  • EDTA, HEEDTA and DTPA: they are not very stable, so they are used in crops less sensitive to chlorosis.

When it’s used?

The best time of day is morningjust before the sun rises or when a short time has passed since its sunrise. In this way, the roots can take advantage of it throughout the day, which is when they need it most when growing.

The dose indicated on the product container is added and watered, so that the soil or substrate is well soaked.

How is iron chelate used?

It will depend a lot on the product, but In general, what is done is to put a small spoonful in a liter of water, and mix. Then, the plant is watered, pouring the solution in the substrate (not in the soil).

If it is a liquid iron chelate, you can put the dose indicated on the container in the water to irrigate; or dissolving about 5 mm in two liters of water and using it as a foliar fertilizer, spraying the leaves.

Where to buy?

You can get it in nurseries, garden stores and also by clicking here!.

How to provide iron to plants naturally?

One option to get our plants to stop having iron chlorosis problems, or to prevent them from having them again, is to add iron from time to time, naturally. For this, what we need are nails, screws, and / or iron rods, and a little sulfur (more or less, a small spoonful).

We put everything in a container with water, and mix. Then, we fill a sprayer with the resulting liquid, and then spray the plants with it.

What plants need iron?

Liquidambar does not grow in clay soilsLiquidambar does not grow on clayey soils.

Image – Flickr / Salome Bielsa

All plants need ironto a greater or lesser extent. The problem is that when you grow maples, azaleas, magnolias, gardenias, … in short, acid plants, in a land whose soil has a pH higher than 6, and / or if irrigation water with a pH of 7 or higher is used, then they will have a deficiency of this mineral.

Because it is very important to know the symptoms of chlorosissince when they lack iron, the growth stops. These symptoms are easy to distinguish: the leaves turn yellow, leaving only the green nerves.

The affected leaves will not return to their original color (and in fact, they will most likely end up falling), but hopefully the new ones that the plant removes will be healthy.

How to lower the pH of the water?

Watering with a water with a very high pH will prevent the roots of the plants from having iron. Therefore we will have to lower it, until it is between 4 to 6. There are two fast, safe and effective ways to do it: with lemon or with vinegar.

If you are going to use lemon, you will probably have to add more quantity than if you opt for vinegar. Depending on what type of water you have, you may need about 100-150ml of lemon, or about 20ml of vinegar to lower the pH of 1 liter of that liquid. Anyway, it is very important that you have a pH meter on handto go checking it, since it would not be good for the pH to drop below 4.

What is the role of iron in the plant?

We have talked about the fact that plants can have chlorosis without iron, but… what exactly does it do? Well, iron, despite being a micronutrient (that is, one that you need but in small amounts), is essential for chlorophyll to formthe pigment that gives plants the green color, and which is also essential for the photosynthesis.

Another of its functions is to reduce nitrates and sulfates, as well as to help produce energy.

Why do plants become chlorotic from lack of iron?

Iron is blocked when the soil pH is above 6.5Therefore, it is important to know the pH of the soil / substrate and of the water that will be used to irrigate before choosing which plants to buy. For example, in clay soil you should not plant camellias, hydrangeas, or heather, among many others, since they would soon have yellow leaves.

Can they have problems with excess iron?

Yeah right. When there is an excess of iron, it is because the pH of the soil is lower than 4 (or 5, if it is marigolds, balsamines, zonal geraniums, or pentas, among others), or if more iron has been applied than necessary. The clearest symptom is yellowing of the edge of the leafwhich usually dries quickly.

To correct it, check the pH of the soil, and do the following:

  • Apply a basic fertilizer, that is, one that has little or no phosphorus (P), following the directions on the container.
  • Do not add any acid, be it chemical or natural (citrus: orange, lemon, etc.).

Check the pH again until it reaches normal values ​​(between 4-5 and 6.5 if they are acidic plants, or from 6 to 7.5 the rest).

Chlorosis is a common problem in plants

Chlorosis is a common problem in plants

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When and how to use iron chelate for plants?

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