Plant Growth Factors: what factors affect how plants grow?
Plant Growth Factors: an introduction
Because there are so many Plant Growth Factors, it can be hard to tell what you are doing wrong or where the areas of improvement are. On the other hand, this is also a blessing in disguise, as it means there are many variables that you can control and change in order to improve growth. As explained here, plants grow when their cells multiply, they do this through the process of photosynthesis. Read more about Photosynthesis here. All plants- whether they live underwater or in a dessert- need these 4 things in order to grow: light, water, nutrients, and air.
Plant Growth Factors: Light
One of the most important plant growth factors is light. It is not the warmth of the light but the energy in the light that the plants use in the process of photosynthesis. There are three aspects of light that affect plant growth, these are quality, quantity, and duration. The quality of the light that your plants are getting matters. When we speak about the quality of light we mean the colour of the light and whether it is artificial or natural. Natural light is not necessarily always better than artificial light. Artificial light can be used to improve plant growth or bloom by controlling the colour of the light and exposure time. Light on the blue side of the spectrum of natural light is great for the initial growing stage, while more warmer light (orange and reds) is great for the blooming stage. The quantity and the duration of light the plants will be getting also matters. It is the changes in exposure times and quantity that cause the changes in growth during the different seasons.
Plant Growth Factors: Water & Nutrients
Out of all the plant Growth Factors, water is also very important. Most plants are made up out of around 90% water. Make sure you do not overwater your plants as this can cause root rot. If a plant does not get enough water it can affect its growth as the plant will be malnourished as it is through water that nutrients are transported to the cells. Without water, your plants can not grow.
Nutrients are also essential for healthy plant growth. Some nutrients are naturally present in the soil or come from the air. However, it is often necessary to add nutrients to the soil in the form of a fertiliser to make sure plants get everything they need. Read more about Fertilizers here.
Plant Growth Factors: others
Here are some other plant growth factors that are worth mentioning:
- Air: Plants take in Co2 during photosynthesis and ‘breath out’ oxygen. There is plenty of Co2 in the air and this does not need to be added. Plants also absorb oxygen through their roots, if there is too much water in the soil there will not be enough oxygen for the plants to absorb and this can cause root rot.
- Space: Another one of the plant growth factors is space. If plants do not have enough room to grow they are more likely to get diseases, stay small or die.
- Temperature: temperature affects plant growth. During warmer periods plants will grow faster. Growth will slow down or plants will become dormant in cooler periods.
- Humidity: If the air humidity is too high this will cause the plant to transpire less, meaning it will stop the transfer of nutrients to the top of the plant negatively affecting growth.