How A Plant Works

A basic understanding of how plants grow, and what they need for ideal growth is important to all gardeners. If you’re gardening outdoors, the old-fashioned way, Mother Nature handles most of a plant’s needs automatically. With hydroponic gardening, you supply some of the plant’s necessary requirements in other ways. This guide will help you understand the entire process.

A Plant Has Many Parts

Plants are made up of many different parts and each part has an important function in the growing process. These include:

  • Fruit
  • Flower
  • Leaf
  • Roots
  • Root hairs
  • Vascular System
  • Xylem
  • Phloem

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 success of the flower and fruit:

  • Leaves – 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.
  • Roots – The roots anchor a plant in the ground and absorb water, nutrients and air. Tiny root hairs increase the surface area of the root for faster absorption. These tiny root hairs are extremely delicate and must be kept moist at all times. Larger roots are similar to the plants stem, as they transport water and dissolved minerals to the plant.
  • Stems & Vascular System (Xylem & Phloem) – The stems are the heart of a plant’s vascular system and carry water and nutrients throughout the plant. The xylem carries water and nutrients from the roots to the leaves and the phloem transports food manufactured by the leaves to the stems and roots. The stem also supports the plant and bears leaves, flowers buds, and fruits.

The 5 Basic Needs of A Plant

Plants have 5 basic needs and each one of these accounts for 20% of a plants ability to grow to it fullest potential. When all needs are met, maximum growth occurs. (20% x 5 needs = 100%)

  • Air – 20% – temperature, humidity, and CO2 & O2 Content
  • Light – 20% – spectrum (color), intensity and hours of light per day
  • Water – 20% – temperature, pH, and O2 Content
  • Nutrients – 20% – composition and purity
  • Growing – 20% – air content and moisture content

A surprising thing happens if one of these needs is only partially met: All of these needs are negatively affected in a complex chain reaction. For example: If a plant receives only 10% of its needed 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. (10% x 5 = 50%). Maintaining a proper balance of all factors that affect a plant’s health is your best assurance of gardening success.

Interior Gardens – Helping You Keep Your Garden Healthy

Interior Gardens prides itself in helping customers create and maintain healthy, productive hydroponic, organic, and indoor gardens. Our 18+ years experience with 21st Century gardening technology means that we’re your best source for all your gardening needs. Our carefully selected gardening products are chosen for their quality and value. Our expert staff will help you choose the right products for your garden and can help you solve any gardening problem. Whether you visit our convenient Minneapolis store, you can be sure that you’ll always find the products and expert advice you need for success with your gardening.