It has been known to heighten growth and prevent disease in plants for centuries. It is present in significant amounts in the epidermal cells of plants; and acts as a barrier and repellent against invading insects and fungi. Silicon has also been found to accumulate around diseased parts of the plant, implying that it is not only preventive but also highly curative too.
Silicon is abundant in the root cells where plants are most likely to be exposed to pathogens and parasites.
Presence of this element makes the cells harder and highly resistant to disease or attack. In fact, silicon protects the plants against pathogens, such as pythium, fungal spores, aphids, sucking insects and powdery mildew. Apart from directly resisting plant infections, silicon stimulates creation of other disease resistant elements, such as polyphenolic compounds.
Silicon improves plant resistance to water deficiency.
Heavy concentrations of silica in the outer cells of plants reduces transpiration of moisture. It also resists wilt and negative impact from excessive occurrence of many essential nutrients.
Concentrations of chlorophyll as well as utilization of carbon dioxide is directly affected by the presence of silica in plants.
That is why silicon deficiency is reflected in malformation of young leaves and either deformed or no fruits at all.
Silicon is also instrumental in ameliorating mineral imbalances and diseases caused by abiotic stresses.
For example, silicon can prevent manganese and iron toxicity as well as prove beneficial for aluminum toxicity.
Plants absorb silicon better through the leaves.
That is why soluble silicon is one of the best ways of providing plants with supplemental silicon. Potassium silicate is a great source of soluble silicon and provides small amounts of potassium too. Supplemental silica is approved by the USDA as a supplemental fertilizer for agricultural use. To learn more about the role of silica in plant health click here.