Plant Uses of Phosphorus (P): Phosphorus is a macro nutrient and used in a variety of ways. Here are some of the major roles that Phosphorus plays:

  • Phosphorus is required to form nucleic acids (DNA and RNA)
  • It is also needed for the plant to efficiently store and transfer energy.
  • Phosphorus is essential during the flowering and fruiting phases of growth.
  • Overall plant health and resistance to diseases.
  • Stimulates root development.
648_Grape_leaf_showing_nutrient_deficiency, Grape leaf showing nutrient deficiency, CC BY 2.0

How to identify Phosphorus deficiency: Significant deficiencies of phosphorus can be identified as:

  • In some plants the fringes of the plants will turn purple or bluish.
  • Plant growth will be stunted.
  • Leaves may curl. 


Organic sources of Phosphorus: (A word of caution, many online sources will tell you that phosphorus sources require acidic soil of 5.5 or below. This is rubbish, it is a well know fact that if you have healthy soil, rich with organic matter, the microbes will release acids that will break down the phosphorus containing compounds in the soil and make them available to the plant. Again the design in nature has this all figured out, you just need to stay out of the way)

Bone Meal: Bone meal is derived from finely ground animal bones. If you are a meat eater like me, use of bone meal is a good way to ensure no part of the animal is wasted.

Rock Phosphate: Rocks containing phosphorus that are mined from clay deposits. These rocks will also add other trace minerals to the soil.

Compost: Amount will depend on what inputs were uses to make the compost. As with all nutrients feeding the micro-organisms in the soil is the best way to ensure proper nutrition for the plant.

Manure: Highest Phosphorus in Chicken and Rabbit manures, however all animal manures contain phosphorus. Upon decomposition, phosphorus update will be higher because of the acidic compounds that are released increasing the availability of phosphorus to the plants roots.