Although silica is not considered an essential plant nutrient, it offers numerous benefits when used as a supplement to an existing nutrient regimen. For example, it is known to strengthen cell walls. This results in robust stems and tougher skin leading to improved insect and pathogen resistance. It also serves to mitigate the effects of metal toxicities, excess salinity, drought, and extremes of temperature. Perhaps most exciting of all is recent research indicating silica’s potential to improve glandular trichome production. Taken together, such factors have the potential to produce higher dry weight and improved quality. The majority of silica products are based on potassium silicate. Less common is the use of monosilicic acid, which offers a more readily available form of silica. Yet another approach hinges on the use of silicon dioxide. It is worth noting that most such products are alkaline in nature, and so will affect solution pH. Beyond this, given that most silica products contain potassium, they have the potential to impact nutrient profiles.

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