Biostimulant – Definition & Detailed Explanation – Horticultural Terms Glossary

What is a biostimulant?

A biostimulant is a substance or microorganism that, when applied to plants, enhances their growth, development, and overall health. Biostimulants are not considered fertilizers, as they do not provide essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, or potassium. Instead, biostimulants work by improving the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients, resist stress, and promote beneficial microbial activity in the soil.

How do biostimulants work in horticulture?

Biostimulants work in horticulture by stimulating plant metabolism and enhancing nutrient uptake. They can also improve the plant’s tolerance to abiotic stressors such as drought, salinity, and extreme temperatures. Biostimulants can also promote root development, increase chlorophyll production, and enhance photosynthesis, leading to improved plant growth and yield.

What are the benefits of using biostimulants in horticulture?

There are several benefits to using biostimulants in horticulture. These include increased crop yield, improved plant health, enhanced nutrient uptake, and reduced reliance on chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Biostimulants can also help plants recover from stress more quickly, resulting in better overall resilience and productivity.

How are biostimulants different from fertilizers?

Biostimulants differ from fertilizers in that they do not contain essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Instead, biostimulants work by enhancing the plant’s natural processes and improving its ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. Fertilizers, on the other hand, provide plants with essential nutrients directly, helping to address specific nutrient deficiencies.

What are the different types of biostimulants available?

There are several different types of biostimulants available, including humic substances, seaweed extracts, amino acids, and beneficial microorganisms. Humic substances are organic compounds derived from decomposed plant material that can improve soil structure and nutrient availability. Seaweed extracts contain growth-promoting hormones and trace elements that can stimulate plant growth and development. Amino acids are essential building blocks for plant proteins and enzymes, while beneficial microorganisms can enhance soil health and promote plant growth.

How should biostimulants be applied in horticulture practices?

Biostimulants can be applied in horticulture practices through foliar sprays, soil drenches, or seed treatments. Foliar sprays are applied directly to the leaves of the plant and are absorbed through the stomata, while soil drenches are applied to the soil around the plant’s roots. Seed treatments involve coating seeds with biostimulant solutions before planting. The timing and frequency of biostimulant applications will vary depending on the specific product and the needs of the plant. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines for proper application to achieve the best results.