Plants have been integral to the prosperity of humanity since the development of agriculture. We have learned a connection between a stable food source and survival. However, how do we help the plants survive in return?
Our green friends have a few basic requirements: light, water, air, nutrients, and a comfortable temperature. The list, of course, might vary significantly within different species. Let’s find out in detail what plants need to thrive.
What Does a Plant Need to Survive and Grow?
Flora has evolved quite a bit from its first days as photosynthetic cyanobacteria living in freshwater. Now there is a wide variety of complex terrestrial flowering beauties everywhere! Even though there are definitely some similarities, there is no common survival rule for all members of the flora kingdom. Plant needs will always vary depending on the type (family, genus). In other words, sun-loving herbs will not thrive under the same conditions a vining tropical plant might! Fortunately, even in this variety, we can distinguish some patterns in plant needs.
Light. Sun or other light sources are essential for plants’ survival, as they fuel the process of photosynthesis. Greenies use water and carbon dioxide combined with light photons and transform them into chemical energy (starches and sugars). These starches and sugars feed the plant and help it develop.
Even in complete darkness, plants can determine the location of a light source and choose the most illuminated spot to break through the soil. This process is called geotaxis and allows seeds to right themselves by relying on the force of gravity. This is how they decide which way their roots should grow.
Before inviting your new green roommate, it’s best to research whether he’s sun- or shade-loving. This way, you can determine the best location for your plant. For example, a south-facing window would be best for greenies that enjoy direct sun rays!
Water. The liquid is another essential component of photosynthesis and almost all plant cellular functions. Like any other being, our green buddy needs water to live. Aside from being vital for photosynthesis, water is also responsible for giving the plant its structure. Known as turgor pressure, the liquid flow throughout the cells allows vegetation to stand up rigidly. Water also transports nutrients from the soil to the leaves. These nutrients fuel up all the plant’s functions!
Nutrients. Most organisms cannot live without some form of nutrients, whether extracted parasitically from a host, retrieved from the soils or taken from the water. Plants are no exception. They need constant nourishment to ensure they can perform all the complex cellular operations, such as splitting water for photosynthesis (the basis of all other functions in a plant).
There are 17 key nutrients needed to maintain plant growth. They are classified as macronutrients (elements needed in higher qualities) and micronutrients (elements needed in smaller percentages). These two groups need to be in perfect balance. Too much of either kind can lead to tissue damage and hinder your green pet’s chance of survival. For example, if you overfertilize your greenie, it can suffer from burns. An improper diet can cause the salts to form at the roots of your flowering friend, which usually draws out moisture from its system. In this sad scenario, the outcome can be wilting or even death of the plant.
Air. Have you ever noticed how different the air feels in the forest? That’s because plants produce oxygen! When we breathe, we exhale carbon dioxide. Plants use it to photosynthesize and release oxygen. A perfect example of a mutually beneficial relationship! Luckily, a few indoor plants can make your living area look and feel like a fresh forest. We especially recommend getting greenies with lush foliage because they can significantly improve the air quality in your dwelling.
Temperature. All plants are unique and have their preferences. Generally speaking, our green pets prefer stable temperatures within their comfort zones. Did you know that the temperature you grow your plants in influences their pollinators, too? For instance, plants that flower before the ground warms up are detrimental to bees’ survival. So, both the bee and this early-blossoming beauty get their benefits.
Additionally, temperature changes constitute a significant indicator to a seed that it is time to break its dormancy for timely arrival to the surface and return to its life cycle. In an ecosystem, everything is connected. It's essential to ensure that the ecosystem in your home is also harmonious! If there are some cold drafts or air conditioning in your living space, you should be extra careful with your green guests.
Ideal Conditions for Plants to Thrive
Plants only need a few things to survive, but those few things are of utmost importance. Adaptation is the key to prolonged life, and these green heroes have mastered the ability to adapt and overcome challenges to be able to persist in their environment and exist as we know them today. Let’s take a look at some of these important basic survival rules.
- Steady, stable temperature in the range of that plant’s needs. The environment shouldn’t be too cold during dormancy and scorching hot during the growing season. Like with other things in life, balance is the key to keeping all the processes running.
- Water in the right amounts. If you have a plant that has adjusted to living in arid conditions, such as succulents, it will need less irrigation than a tropical or fruit-bearing plant. Similarly, many tropical plants need a specific humidity level to hydrate their leaves properly.
- Sufficient light. Ornamental plants valued for their flowers typically need bright, more direct sunlight for more extended parts of the day. The same is true for drought-tolerant green pets, like cacti and succulents. On the contrary, decorative plants valued for their foliage, like Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum), and some tropicals, prefer dappled or indirect light for most of the day.
- Enough nutrition. The appropriate amount of fertilizer at the right time can turn a sad and sick-looking plant into a thriving one. Heavy feeders, such as fruiting or vegetable plants, are best fertilized multiple times throughout the growing season to ensure a bountiful harvest. On the other hand, most plants commonly growing indoors, such as pothos or peace lilies, do not require frequent nourishment and can only handle one or two doses of fertilizer a year between repottings.
What Do Flowers Need to Grow?
Flowers need the same basic requirements as any other plant, though changing the fertilizer concentrations at different times of the growing season can provide the best results. It’s recommended to nourish flower seedlings with high nitrogen fertilizers. Then, it would help if you stuck to the mediums with lower nitrogen concentration in favor of higher phosphorus and potassium proportions.
What Do Trees Require in Order to Survive?
All plants have similar basic needs. The primary conditions are light, air, water, nutrients, and proper temperature. What differs is the amount of these elements. Remember, your best bet is to help your green pet thrive, not just survive. So pay close attention to the unique requirements of every species! Trees, in general, need mulching and pruning. However, these procedures differ from one kind of tree to another.
What Are 5 Things Plants Need to Grow?
The five things plants need to grow are:
- Light, to have energy for transforming water and carbon dioxide into chemical energy.
- Water as a hydrogen source for photosynthesis.
- Nutrients for building blocks for cellular processes.
- Air, as a carbon dioxide source.
- Proper temperature (warmth) for development and growth.
What Are Things That Help Plants Grow?
Each representative of the vast kingdom of flora has its own needs. Sometimes even if all the basic conditions are met, your plant won’t respond with growth and beauty. So, ensure you pay close attention to the particular taste of the species. Make sure to provide your leafy friend with consistent care and a steady supply of nutrients.
Why Do Plants Need Water?
Plants need water to complete the reaction generating glucose. Glucose is a simple sugar used by plants as an energy source. Water also helps maintain the plant’s structure.
What Things Do Plants’ Seeds Need to Grow?
Plant seeds need water, nutrients, and warmth to sprout. Warmth signals that the seed should break dormancy and begin to emerge from its protective outer layer.
Thanks to gravity, plants can determine which way to send shoots to break the soil. They also use the information gathered from the environment to find the best direction for their roots to grow to draw the most nutrients and moisture from the soil.
Our flowering friends come in all shapes and sizes, and it would take a lifetime to get to know them all. After reading our guide, you will hopefully feel more aware of their essential needs and use this knowledge to make your green pets happy!