Plants grow in their natural environment with everything they need. But when we create a garden, we make sure that we provide the plants with everything they need for them to survive and grow like the ones in nature.
Humans need air, food, and water to be alive. And like humans, plants also have certain needs for survival and growth.
We want our plants to grow well and look good in a garden environment.
What Does a Plant Need to Survive and Grow?
There are many things plants need to survive and grow. These are water, nutrients, water, light, temperature, space, and time.
We will look at why these things are important for our plants to grow really well.
Water and Nutrients
Plants are made up of around 90% water. Water acts like blood. It transports every part of the plant that needs it.
The water gets sucked up through wall root hairs and it evaporates through the leaves. As the water evaporates, the carbon dioxide enters. The process of water entering the root hairs is how plants absorb minerals… and nutrients from the soil.
The faster the plant grows, the more water it needs. Also, the hotter and drier the air, the more water your plant needs. But there are times when a plant can’t cope up with the amount of water needed. It usually happens when it’s too hot or there is not enough water at the roots. During that time, a plant will stop growing and the leaves will start to wilt.
When you see that the leaves start to wilt, your plant needs urgent attention. If you ignore it, your plant may die. Once the temperature drops or the plant has enough water and the water pressure returns to normal… then, normal growing conditions will resume.
That is why newly planted plants need watering on a regular basis. Do it until their root system is established into the surrounding soil. And they are able to gather water and moisture.
You need to know some useful tips in taking care of your plants so you are on the right track.
As humans, we need energy for growth. And we get our energy from food. In the same way, plants need the energy to grow. They get their energy from light.
Different plants need different amounts of light. Some need more than others. Some plants grow in low light. These are plants that we usually grow as houseplants and ferns. Also, the tropical plants that live naturally under the canopies of trees. The indoor conditions of our home are almost the same as that of the tropical jungle. When it comes to shade and temperature.
There are plants that love the sunlight. And they need a lot of direct sunlight. Otherwise, they will become leggy and grow weak. If they don’t get enough sunlight, they will not produce flowers either.
If you grow vegetables and plants from seed, provide seedlings with enough light. Give them light for the right amount of time. Otherwise, they will become leggy.
Plants have evolved. And some are able to adjust to suit different regimes.
We can see plants almost everywhere on earth. But there are temperature differences around the globe. The same plants don’t grow everywhere. For some plants, we need to use greenhouses or conservatories. Especially if the plants are exotic species.
That is why it is important to know your own garden temperature or climate. Also, know the hardiness of the plant.
Growing plants from seed need warmth to germinate. You may have heard of the terms “soil warmth” or “when the soil has warmed.”
If temperature drop reactions inside cells slow down… growth and metabolism also slow down. It is one of the greenhouse tips you need to know. Plants native to areas or environments with sub-freezing winters survive by going dormant. Warmer weather wakes them up and begins vegetative growth again.
Have you heard of the method of growing plants called “hydroponics”? It is the system of growing plants in the water and adding nutrients. This method is mainly used by commercial growers. And not your common gardener.
Plants can grow without soil. But they can’t grow without the necessities that soil provides.
So, why do plants need soil?
Soil is where plants can grow. And get the chemical elements (nutrients). They are mineral and non-mineral. But a plant’s capability of absorbing these nutrients depends on the composition of the soil. Its the amount of sand, clay, and organic matter within it. The ideal soil composition would be equal amounts of sand, clay, and organic matter. Soil composition can affect water retention and nutrients available. It provides support and anchor for roots to hold on to as the plant is growing. The plants use the roots to absorb moisture and nutrients from the soil.
Also, soil provides air for plants’ roots. They get the air from space between tiny soil particles.
Here are the two main reasons why plants need air:
- Plants need the air from above the ground
Air provides plants the oxygen and carbon that they need. This is for them to photosynthesize (the process of how plants grow).
- Plants need air from below the ground
They need oxygen to breathe. They get this air from tiny air spaces between soil particles.
Good soil drainage allows air to go to the soil for the roots to use. This prevents root failure. And plants cannot function properly when roots fail. It can greatly affect their ability to absorb water and nutrients. Also, root failure is a common cause of plant stress. This is quite common with houseplants.
Space and Time
Space is another factor to consider when growing plants. The root and leaves need room to grow. Because plants can become stunted or too small without enough space or room. Overcrowded plants are also more likely to suffer from diseases. Because airflow may be limited.
And finally, plants need time for growth. They don’t grow overnight; it takes time and patience to grow plants. Most of them need a particular number of days, months, or even years to produce flowers and fruits.
There are different types of plants growing in different environments. But they need the same things with different amounts of them for them to grow and survive. The elements above provide the plant the basic nutrients. They give the plants the ability to grow and survive.