How to fix nitrogen deficiency in plants is vital information you need to know as a gardener since nitrogen is one of the three most essential nutrients when it comes to proper plant growth. Along with phosphorus and potassium, nitrogen plays a decisive role in the adequate development and nutrition of the plants in your indoor or outdoor spaces.

How To Fix Nitrogen Deficiency in Plants

If there is a lack of nitrogen in your plants, then you will see that the foliage will not be able to grow properly and will eventually die completely. The following sections will therefore help you understand how to identify nutrient deficiency in your plant soil and boost your plants’ health back to normal!

How Can You Fix Nitrogen Deficiency in Your Plants?

You can fix nitrogen deficiency in your plants by adding manure or coffee grounds to the soil, using green cover crops, and adding extra plants high in nitrogen. Moreover, you can also do this by using grass clippings or water from the fish tank as fertilizer.

1. Adding Manure

One of the methods that you can use to fix nitrogen deficiency in your plants is adding manure to them. Manure is animal waste and has several benefits that can be great for your plants. It is pretty high in nitrogen, so you should never add manure directly onto your plant’s soil. Adding manure directly into the ground can cause the plants to get burnt.

Adding Manure

You must use manure according to its “hotness” so your plant is not harmed. Before using the manure in your garden, you must compost it for at least six months. To do so, you can put it into your compost through food or garden waste. As you must know, chicken manure is also known as the hottest manure, so it is essential to compost it before using it.

On the other hand, cow and goat manure is not so hot, and you can still directly add it to your soil without worrying that the plant will burn intensely. However, rabbit manure is the safest manure to add to your ground.

When it comes to decomposing animal manure, it takes a good enough time. During this process, the manure goes through the soil and may take a while to get nutrients. However, this method will allow the nutrients to stay longer in the ground once they are there.

2. Using Green Manure Cover Crops

If you want to finish the nitrogen deficiency issue in your plants, using green manure cover crops would be a suitable method for you. You can also plant some of your products, which are hungry for nitrogen, in your garden bed to prevent nitrogen deficiency.

You must also remember that when you grow a green manure cover crop, it is not for harvest but to fix the nitrogen deficiency. On the other hand, planting beans could lead to a harvest and would not affect the nitrogen deficiency present in the plant.

It is best to plant a green manure cover crop at the start of a new season or, if not, at the end of the season. The issue with using green cover crops is that, once you use them, it can take a lot of work to remove them. Removing the green cover crops will take a lot of your time and effort.

3. Planting Plants That Provide High Nitrogen

One of the simplest methods you can use is planting plants that provide us with high nitrogen. These plants are also known as nitrogen-fixing plants since they keep growing and add nitrogen to your soil.

Planting Plants That Provide High Nitrogen

You can use two plants to add to your pot: beans and legumes. Both of the plants mentioned above do not take in nitrogen from the soil; instead, they fix the nutrients in the plant’s soil.

If you grew plants hungry for nitrogen, it is best to plant beans or legumes in the place where you developed the previous plants. Remember not to fertilize the garden bed areas where you grew the previous bean crops. If you do not follow as told, you might have excessive nitrogen in your plant’s soil.

4. Mixing Coffee Grounds Into the Plant Soil

Another method is by mixing coffee grounds into your plant’s soil. As you must be aware, coffee grounds are an excellent nitrogen source and can be pretty helpful in this matter. There are two ways to use coffee grounds with plant soil. Firstly, you can add the coffee grounds to the compost.

Secondly, you can directly mix the coffee grounds into your plant’s soil. It is important to remember that the coffee ground will take up some time to break in the soil and be released. However, once they do so, they will help to freshen the environment, and they will improve drainage as well.

5. Using Water From the Fish Tank

If you have a fish tank with you, you must remember not to throw out the water in the fish tank. Water is essential for your plants as well. The fish dropping in the fish tank also has a lot of nitrogen; therefore, they must not be thrown away. You can use the water in the fish tank to water your plants.

When you water your plant with this water, the plant will instantly make nutrients that can be used. Fish water can be used as a nitrogen fertilizer.

6. Using Grass Clippings

When it is summer, you cut lots of grass, and you can even use the grass clipping that you cut to help you. However, you must remember not to use them if you use any chemicals or pesticides on your grass.

Using Grass Clippings

To put the grass clippings to use, you must take them and then apply them to your garden bed. Once the grass clipping decomposes, it will add nitrogen back inside your soil.

7. Using Plant Fertilizers

One of the methods is to use plant fertilizers, as a lot of nitrogen is present in the fertilizers. When choosing a plant fertilizer, you must ensure that you find a fertilizer with a high NPK ratio. You can find the NPK ratio on the packet of the fertilizer. The first number on the ratio shows how much nitrogen is present, and if you find one with a high number, it can boost your plant soil greatly.

However, if you pick the one that is negative, it can cause your plants to burn by giving them too much nitrogen at once. Usually, organic fertilizers have lower numbers and take a lot of time to absorb.

How Can I Identify Nitrogen Deficiency in Plants?

You can identify nitrogen deficiencies in plants by noticing sudden stunted growth. It may also grow in an irregular manner, as opposed to before. Leaves might start to turn yellow, and the flowers might also begin to fall as symptoms of nitrogen deficiency.

– Identifying Deficiencies in the Garden Soil

You can identify if your soil has nitrogen deficiency by testing it. You must never forget that whatever homemade tests you will try to use, you will not be able to know the exact plant nitrogen levels.

If you want to know the precise level, you can buy a soil testing kit to help you or take your soil to any professional and get it tested there. One of the simplest things you can do is take your soil and go over to your local extension office that offers testing services.

From there, you can ask to get your soil tested, and you usually have to pay them a small amount of money; however, it is also possible that it is done for free. On the other hand, if you want to test your soil while at home, use the aforementioned kit.

The kit is mainly found at several hardware stores and gardening centers. Even though homemade tests do not provide accurate results, their result is close to the precise answer of whether your plant has nutrient deficiencies.

You should test your soil if you think your plant has nitrogen deficiency. However, if you try to add excessive nitrogen to your ground, it can harm your plant instead of improving it. Excessive amounts of nitrogen can kill off many of your garden plants.

– Identifying Deficiencies in the Plants

To identify if your plant has nitrogen deficiency, you can see it on the plant. Nitrogen is an essential nutrient for plants, and when the plant does not get enough of it, you will see several signs showing problems. One of the reasons why nitrogen is essential is for the normal development and growth of the plant. It is evident in young plants when a plant seems to have a nitrogen deficiency.

Identifying Deficiencies in the Garden Soil

Therefore, if you notice nitrogen deficiency in a young plant, it is better since you can fix the problem sooner. Once you solve the problem, the plant starts growing as it was growing first. Some signs of a plant having nitrogen deficiency are that its growth will suddenly be slow and not develop correctly. The leaves of the plants will be smaller than the eaves of regular plants.

You might even notice the leaves of the plant will start to turn yellow from below and even begin to fall out. If not taken care of, the leaves will turn yellow. You will see tiny flowers appear and disappear faster than regular flowers. If your plant lives long enough to have fruits, the fruit will be small and not taste good.


Ultimately, it is vital to remember that nitrogen is very important to the good health of plants, but too much of it is just as bad as a lack of it. Therefore, be careful not to follow all the methods given in the article and pick the one that works best for you while keeping these points in mind:

  • To fix nitrogen deficiency in your plants, you can add manure or coffee grounds to the soil.
  • Alternatively, you can also use green cover crops or add extra plants that are high in nitrogen.
  • You can also use the grass clippings left after you mow the lawn or the water from the fish tank as fertilizer.

Nitrogen deficiencies can be spotted easily, and if they are not treated swiftly, they can damage your plants in the long run and even kill them off completely. Therefore, once you have identified that your plants are facing nitrogen deficiency, follow one of the methods in an adequate manner above to help your plants regain their health!

5/5 - (15 votes)