Water is vital for the survival of plants, and acts as a transportation medium to bring food to the plant. Plants need water, sunlight, warmth and soil to grow, and are the producers of the Earth’s ecosystem. They are also autotrophic and help maintain an environmental balance. Plants produce food through photosynthesis and supply us with oxygen. Water is required for many processes and for volume, shape, food, temperature control and environment. External application of water into soil is known as irrigation and water is also essential for crop production.
What are 6 reasons that plants need water?
Germination of Plant Seeds
Plant seeds require water to activate enzymes and help germination. Water is a signal that allows plant seeds to know when it’s time to germinate and grow. Seeds absorb water and begin to soften. When they break open, they immediately look for new water to sprout and grow.
Photosynthesis and Food
Plants need water for photosynthesis to create energy and for food, water is critical to this process. It enters the stem and travels to the leaves, where photosynthesis occurs. With sunlight and carbon dioxide, they create sugars and form glucose for plant growth and create oxygen as a by-product. Without water, plants wouldn’t be able to photosynthesise and wouldn’t survive. Plants gets energy from light, the chlorophyll in leaves absorbs photons from light. This turns them into high-energy molecules, combined with hydrogen from water and carbon from the carbon dioxide.
Transportation of Nutrients
Water allows transportation of nutrients from the soil into the plant’s roots, through a process called osmosis. This is where water moves from high concentrated areas in the soil to low concentrated areas in the roots. The water in garden soil delivers their food, and without water the soil nutrients would be immobile.
Sustaining Soil Ecosystems
Water allows plants to support the overall soil ecosystem, they play a role in keeping the system sustainable and healthy. Organisms in the soil rely on water to survive. Some plants also form relationships with organisms in the soil to improve water uptake. Therefore, water helps the ecological functioning of plants and soils.
Transpiration and Temperature Regulation
Transpiration is the evaporation of water from the leaf surfaces and stems of a plant. Plants draw water up the roots and use water from transpiration. This water is transported through the xylem. Xylem and phloem are vascular tissues in the veins of leaves, they take nutrients to different directions in the plant. Therefore, the water helps regulates temperature and cools down the plant through transpiration and water loss. Water evaporates whilst the plant exchanges water for carbon dioxide. The loss of water vapour is through the stomates, these are small openings in the leaf epidermis and cuticles. Carbon dioxide enters the stomata, and this is used to create food. This exchange of water occurs when there is sunlight. When water exits the plant, the water vapour surrounds the leaves, and this forms a layer of moist air called the boundary layer.
Shape and Structure
Plants are mostly made of water, with their cells being 80-90% water. Water is the main component of plant cells that is created through mitosis. It fills the cells and builds the turgidity of cell walls to full pressure, making the cell stiff and keeps plant cells turgid. This increases the growth of the plant and helps it stand upright. This helps build structure, growth, shape and volume. Loss of water causes droopiness and wilting, but excess water causes wilting.
Different Water Types
You can use softened water on plants in short term use. However, watering container plants or garden plants with softened water is not advised. The sodium levels could build up within the soil and damage it. Rainwater is free from hard elements and has the correct pH for the majority of plants. Tap water will help garden plants, but only water when needed. Purified water is available in different sources, such as distilled and deionised. These don’t contain any impurities, such as minerals. You can also use boiled water as it can be cooled down. However, hard water can have calcium removed during boiling and could be considered when rainwater is not available. Acid-loving plants, such as heathers, gardenias and rhododendrons do not tolerate hard water with high mineral contents. However, carnivorous plants also like rainwater or reverse-osmosis water to grow and thrive.
Water has many uses for plants and is vital for their functions and to perform chemical reactions. Plants could not survive without water and need it for growth, food and energy. Therefore, it helps builds ecosystems and encourages sustainability in soil environments. If you require good-quality water for your plants, see our water filter products here. You can also see check out our Facebook Page for more updates, sales and information.