Why Plants LOVE Silicon

Why Plants LOVE Silicon

Simon Spinks
Simon Spinks
14 Nov 2013

Ever heard of liquid silicon? Plants will survive without it, but they’ll be much hardier with it! 

When absorbed by plants, it:

  • Strengthens roots, stems, leaves & branches
  • Improves disease & pest resistance
  • Builds heat, cold, humidity & wind tolerance
  • Prevents nutrient deficiencies
  • Enhances growth

Use it, and you'll get bigger, stronger crops that grow and yield better. Here’s the science behind silicon:

What's Silicon?

It’s a natural element that helps create everything in the universe.

You can find it as sand (silicate dioxide).

It’s also in sheet silicates, which form over 90% of the earth’s crust! Sheet silicates are made of silicon, oxygen, metals & minerals.

Silicon is extracted from sheet silicates as a monosilic acid, which makes it available to plants.

Silicon Silicon

How It Works

Silicon mostly strengthens the physical structure of your plants.

It thickens cell walls and the bonds between cells.

When plants take in silicon, they’ve got about 24 hours to decide where to put it (between or in cell walls). Silicon deposits then set in place - like cement! As a result, cells become thicker and stronger.

All areas of your plant are affected – roots, stems, branches, leaves. 

Silicon Silicon

Increases Disease & Pest Resistance

Silicon bolsters cell walls and the bonds between them. This makes it tougher for pests and diseases to get a foothold & spread.

On top of this, plants are able to create a thick outer coating that bugs won’t break through (even aphids & spider mites). Diseases won’t fare much better - that includes powdery mildew, Pythium (root rot) & botrytis (bud rot).

Silicon Silicon

Best of all, plants are pretty clever when it comes to silicon. They can direct freshly absorbed supplies to stressed or vulnerable areas when under attack! That's an intelligent natural defense system for you! It's one of the reasons why you need to dose often.

Prevents Wind Damage

Over time, stems strengthen to the point bulky plants can stay upright through challenging conditions. That’s without support devices like yo-yo’snetting (still use them).

With a structure like that, rushes of air are less of a risk. Plants are way less likely to snap or topple over when hit by gushes of air. Instead, they’ll bend and flex with the movement of air.

Silicon Silicon

Supports a Bigger Yield

In flowering, plants can support heavier fruits and flowers, encouraging plants to yield more.

Silicon Silicon

Enhances Growth & Development

Silicon helps build a bigger, stronger Phloem and Xylem in the stem structure. This means plants can translocate more nutrients and water, at a quicker pace.

This, in turn, means plants absorb more elements that are tough to uptake (e.g. calcium). As a result, plants grow bigger and faster.

Silicon Silicon

Boosts Heat, Humidity & Stress Resistance

Since plants are working more efficiently, they can function better under heat, humidity & other extremes (like lack of water!).

For example, at temperatures over 30oC, plants stop turning food into energy. They just don’t have the water they need for it - too much is lost through transpiration (sweating).

With silicon strengthening cell walls, water can be moved at higher temperatures and the rate of transpiration drops. This means plants can continue turning food into energy.

Silicon Silicon

Strengthens Cuttings & Seedlings

Toughen cuttings and seedlings from day 1 by applying silicon as a foliar spray.

Doing this lays the foundations for future growth!

Silicon Silicon

Increases Photosynthesis

All of those rich, green, wide spanning leaves that silicon helps plants produce are exposed to sunlight, CO2 and water. That means plants can photosynthesise more.

That’s where plants use CO2, H2O and sunlight to make sugars.

Silicon Silicon

Prevents Nutrient Deficiencies & Toxicity

Silicon encourages plants to absorb more:

  • zinc (for growth & photosynthesis)
  • calcium (for growth, enzyme activity metabolism & uptake)
  • nitrogen in soil (for veg growth & most plant functions)
Silicon Silicon

It also balances the uptake of phosphorus, to prevent toxicity.

Because plants absorb more zinc, calcium and nitrogen, they absorb less of the nutrients they don’t need much of - like aluminium, manganese & iron. This stops unhealthy & excessive nutrient consumption.

How to Add Silicon

In soil, hydro & coco, you can boost silicon levels with SHOGUN Silicon.

It provides a soluble form of silicon (potassium silicate), which is readily available to plants. As a bonus, it’s a good source of potassium, which we all know is vital in flowering.

Bottled base nutrients do not contain silicon because it needs a high pH to stay soluble.

So, to include it in your base feed:

  • Add your silicon to water
  • Mix through and reduce your pH to just below 7
  • Add your base nutrients

Remember, plants only have 24 hours after absorption to deposit silicon. This means, a little and often dosing strategy is best.

Silicon Silicon

To really see the benefits of silicon, you need to apply on a regular basis, throughout your grow.  We recommend applying it as a root feed, with an occasional foliar spray when needed.

Propagation:

Propagating plants are still very delicate. Apply silicon as a foliar spray

In Soil:

Soil already contains some silicon – about half the amount plants can use.

To get the best out of plants, add some more as a foliar spray.

In Hydro & Coco:

Unless you add it yourself, plants won’t get any silicon. You can add it as a root feed or foliar spray.

Foliar Spray

Foliar spray at 5ml/L. Make sure your pH is 5 - 7 or you could physically harm the plant. 

Simon Spinks
Simon Spinks
About the author

Simon's one of the big brains behind the SHOGUN range! He's a biochemist with a passion for plants - what's not to love?

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