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Manganese (Mn) Nutrient Deficiencies

Manganese is one of the essential elements that manage the growth process of plants. Manganese deficiencies are relatively common indoors.

Manganese (Mn) Nutrient Deficiencies

The role of manganese in plants is crucial for most plants to grow and reproduce. It is one of the essential elements that are the building blocks and works to manage the growth process of plants. It plays a critical role in the oxidation-reduction process of photosynthesis. Manganese deficiencies are relatively common in indoor plants.

Why Is Manganese Important?

Manganese is an activator of the enzymes used during chlorophyll production and is responsible for aiding in the absorption of light to provide energy for photosynthesis. Manganese is used by plants for several important processes responsible for health and development, including nitrogen metabolization, respiration functions, and is essential to photosynthesis. It also plays an important part in the chloroplast membrane system.

Identifying Manganese Deficiency In Plants

Manganese deficiency symptoms begin with yellowing of upper, young leaves between the leaf veins. The leaf will have a netted appearance, because the veins of the leaves will remain green. Blossom buds may not develop and will fall off. Overall there can be a reduction in the size of the plant. Severe cases can appear to look like a magnesium deficiency. An excess of iron can also cause a deficiency. The condition is further made worse by cold and high levels of pH.

  • Younger leaves turn yellow between veins
  • Necrosis spots appear in advanced stages

Examples Of Manganese Deficiency



How To Correct Manganese Deficiency

Any time a nutrient deficiency is suspected, one of the first things to take a look at is pH balance, in both soil and hydroponic growing systems. A pH imbalance will block nutrient uptake through the plant’s roots. It is important to regularly check the pH, and to be sure to keep the pH within the appropriate range for soil or hydroponics. The optimal pH range for most plants is between 5.5 and 6.5. In this range, the nutrients present in the soil or water are soluble, and are easily taken up through the plant’s root system. When the pH level is outside of this range, even when the proper nutrients are present, they are not able to be absorbed by the plant.

Manganese is a nutrient which could also cause harm when too much is present, resulting in toxicity. This is compounded by low humidity due to lower transpiration rates in the leaves. Excess manganese can also cause iron and zinc deficiencies.

If you suspect your plants have a manganese deficiency, the safest approach will be to flush your growing medium liberally with fresh, pH balanced water containing the appropriate nutrients, including manganese. In hydroponic systems, some water should be drained off and replaced with pH balanced and nutrient balanced clean water in order to correct the deficiency.



This flush will give a pH reset and will remove any buildup of iron and salts that may be affecting the uptake of manganese.

A foliar spray of chelated manganese or manganese sulfate will give a very quick but temporary greening of the plant’s foliage. For the most part, foliar sprays only treat the leaves that have been sprayed and not those produced later in the growing season, so the long term goal should be to correct and amend the growing medium.

Now that you know the benefits of monitoring the manganese content in your soil and hydroponic growing systems, and what to do when you spot a deficiency, you can be sure to have the necessary tools on hand to keep your plants at their best.


Want to learn more about nutrient deficiencies?

Read our entire nutrient deficiency series as well as learning about micro vs macronutrients.