Silica Strengthens Plant Cell Walls
An Article By Kevin Reed
A grower’s top priority is to ensure their plants are healthy and protected from disease and stressors. Plain and simple, fit plants yield a bountiful harvest.
Plants deprived of important micronutrients display weak growth, susceptibility to pest infestation, and heavy metal poisoning. The major nutrients are well understood – nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium. One of the lesser understood plant nutrients is silica.
Silica alleviates the toxic effects caused by abiotic stresses such as salt stress, drought, heavy metals, and many others. Although silica is not considered “essential” for plant growth and development, your plant is far more vulnerable without it and that’s a risk you don’t want to take. Essentially, silica makes your plants tougher and less vulnerable to unpredictable changes in the environment. Think of silica like an insurance plan for your plants. If you’re looking for quality and consistency in your cultivars, silica is your best bet.
Just as steel is used to strengthen concrete during construction, silica (bright green) acts to strengthen cell walls and thus the overall plant structure. [BMC Plant Biology volume 11, Article number: 112 (2011)]
One of the primary reasons silica is so helpful is that it’s a major component of plant cell walls and acts as a mechanical barrier between the plant and the outside world. Imagine silica as an extra layer of armor. Without enough silica, the armor is weak, and the plant is far more vulnerable to outside stressors. Research has shown that high uptake of Si improves growth and productivity by alleviating adverse effects of biotic and abiotic stress.