Understanding How Plants Grow in Soil and Hydroponically
A basic understanding of how plants grow, and what they need to thrive is important to all gardeners. If you’re gardening outdoors, the old-fashioned way, Mother Nature provides most most of what a plant needs automatically. With hydroponic gardening, you supply the light, water, nutrients and temperature that a plant requires. However you garden, though, every plant has similar needs. This guide will help you understand the entire process and how to maximize production for your own garden.
Plants are made up of many different parts and each part has an important function in the growing process. Our main concern as gardeners is with the leaves, roots, root hairs and the vascular system. These are the parts of a plant that contribute to the health and yield of the flowers and fruits or seeds.
Leaves Supply Energy for All Plants
Leaves are where photosynthesis takes place and light and carbon dioxide are taken in, with oxygen released as a by-product. On the underside of leaves, small openings called stomata open and close, allowing carbon dioxide to enter and oxygen to exit. Plentiful, healthy leaves are essential for fast growth. In hydroponic gardening, grow lights replace natural sunlight, supplying the energy needed by leaves for photosynthesis.
Plant Stems Use a Vascular System as the Veins and Arteries
The stems are the heart of a plant’s vascular system and carry water and nutrients throughout the plant. Two types of living tubes circulate those necessities. The xylem carry water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves and the phloem transport food manufactured by the leaves to the stems and roots. The stems also support the plant and bear leaves, flowers buds, and fruits.
Roots Deliver Nutrients, Oxygen and Water
Roots anchor plants in the ground and absorb water, nutrients and air. Tiny root hairs increase the surface area of the root for faster absorption. These small root hairs are extremely delicate and must be kept moist at all times. Larger roots are similar to the plant’s stems, and transport water and dissolved minerals to the plant.
The 5 Basic Needs of a Plant
Plants have 5 basic needs and each one of these accounts for 20% of its ability to grow to its fullest potential. When all needs are met, maximum growth occurs.
- Air – Temperature, humidity, and carbon dioxide and oxygen content are factors.
- Light – Spectrum or light color, intensity and hours of light per day vary.
- Water – Temperature, pH or acidity, and oxygen content are important.
- Nutrients – Composition and purity are crucial factors.
- Growing – Air content, moisture, nutrients and light all contribute.
Strong Growth Depends on Delivering Everything a Plant Needs
If any of the needs above is only partially met, all five requirements are negatively affected in a complex chain reaction. For example, if a plant receives only 10% of necessary nutrients, that doesn’t cause just a 10% negative impact. It creates a 10% negative impact on all of the other 5 needs as well, causing an actual 50% negative impact on the entire plant. Maintaining a proper balance of all factors that affect a plant’s health is your best assurance of maximum yields.
For traditional outdoor, soil-based gardening, nature supplies all five needs, but many factors introduce variables that a gardener can only partially control. Irrigation, fertilization and garden location can help produce ideal conditions, but every gardener knows that it’s impossible to control everything. With hydroponic gardening under grow lights, you have complete control over all five basic requirements. That’s why hydroponic growing is able to produce outstanding, healthier fruits, herbs and vegetables at any time of year, even during Minnesota’s frigid winters.
Largest Hydroponic and Grow Light Supplier in Minnesota
Interior Gardens prides itself in helping customers create and maintain healthy, productive hydroponic, organic, and indoor gardens. Our 20+ years experience with the latest technology means that we’re your best source for indoor gardening. Our carefully selected products are chosen for their quality and value, with brands like General Hydroponics, Sun System, Heavy 16, Roots Organics, Advanced Nutrients, EYE Hortilux, Botanicare, and more. Our expert staff will help you choose the right hydroponic setups, nutrients, grow lights and accessories and can help you solve any problem that you many encounter. Whenever you visit our convenient Minneapolis hydroponics, grow light and organic gardening store, you can be sure that you’ll always find the products and expert advice you need.