Plant nutrition is the study of the chemical elements and compounds necessary for plant growth, plant metabolism and their external supply. In its absence the plant is unable to complete a normal life cycle, or that the element is part of some essential plant constituent or metabolite. This is in accordance with Justus von Liebig’s law of the minimum. The total essential plant nutrients include seventeen different elements: carbon, oxygen and hydrogen which are absorbed from the air, whereas other nutrients including nitrogen are typically obtained from the soil (exceptions include some parasitic or carnivorous plants).

Carbon, hydrogen and oxygen are the basic nutrients plants receive from air and water. Justus von Liebig proved in 1840 that plants needed nitrogen, potassium and phosphorus. Liebig’s law of the minimum states that a plant’s growth is limited by nutrient deficiency. Plant cultivation in media other than soil