Answering the question, how do plants grow, begins with understanding soil health.

How Do Plants Grow - Introduction
Plants grow above the ground through stems and leaves and below the ground through roots. Like all living things new cells are produced which push the plant in a specific direction. Buds, properly called meristems, are the leading point of growth. This is true mostly for flowering plants called angiosperms.

How Plants Grow - The Beginning
Seeds lie dormant in a cool dry environment. Under the correct conditions for the specific plant the seed will begin to germinate or grow. A dormant seed consists of:

A hard protective skin called a seed coat, shell or Testa. Food for the dormant embryo is called the meat or endosperm. It surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition in the form of starch, though it can also contain oils and protein. Once photosynthesis begins the embryo no longer uses this food source but begins manufacturing its own as a mature plant.

Endosperm is an important source of nutrition in the human diet. Wheat endosperm is ground into flour for bread (the rest of the grain is included as well in whole wheat flour). Other examples of endosperm that form the bulk of the edible portion are coconut "meat" and "milk", and corn, including popcorn.

Nutrient density varies per soil rejuvenation programs and the organic garden fertilizers. used. Many times micro-nutrients are lacking due to over farming.

How Do Plants Grow - Germination

Water - the dry seed acts as a sponge. Water activated enzymes begin breaking down the endosperm into useful chemicals to produce leaves and roots.

Oxygen - oxidation or aerobic reactions caused by the enzymes need atmospheric oxygen. Seeds planted too deep or over watered cannot obtain atmospheric oxygen.

Light - many seeds will not germinate without proper amounts of day light.

Temperature - a few seeds can germinate slightly above freezing but most need about 55 degrees.



How Do Plants Grow - Seedlings

All living things require energy to live. Plants obtain energy from the sun's radiation, captured by the plants chlorophyll, a process called photosynthesis. Light energy converts to chemical energy in the form of glucose which humans also use for energy. Carbon dioxide and water are intricate parts of this process.

A how do plants grow plant grows when new cells are produced pushing the cells in a direction. These areas are called the meristems and are roughly analogous to the growth plate in human long bones. Most easily noticed meristem is the shoot apical meristem on plants; The tip of the plant stem or cap is the apical meristem with new cells dividing underneath it and pushing skyward. There is another apical meristem on root tips. Lateral meristems found in branch bud(s) control lateral growth. The apical meristem produces chemicals called auxins, which prevent the lateral buds from growing. Pruning a central bud, allows a bush or tree to grow like a mushroom. Sugar and starch absorbs water, increasing the water pressure (turgor), creating rigidity in the stem to support its weight and that of leaves and fruit.

How Do Plants Grow - Plant Nutrients

We can't control the hydrogen, oxygen and carbon from CO2 and H2O, available to the plant from the air. So we must be diligent to give the plant the proper nutrients through the soil. Since micro-nutrients are so important in plant health and nutrition, as well as soil health, fertilizing soils with a liquid organic fertilizer that is rich in trace elements generally results in robust plants , nutrient dense foods and ecologically sound soil maintenance. Plants require a good source of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium and Calcium for proper growth. Along with these macro elements, there are numerous micronutrients also needed by the plant. One of the best and most economical sources of micronutrients is concentrated sea minerals. When soils have a well rounded source of macro and micronutrients , proper sunshine and water, plants can thrive and be chocked full of nutrition.

How Do Plants Grow - Soil Maintenance

Physical Characteristics - Clays and organic soils hold nutrients and water much better than sandy soils. As water drains from sandy soils, it often carries or leaches nutrients along with it, leaving the plant roots deficient. An ideal soil contains equivalent portions of sand, silt, clay, and organic matter.

A fertile soil must promote living organisms. One pound of good soil (humus) contains: billions of bacteria, millions of fungi, millions of algae, protozoa, worms, and diverse insects! These beneficial micro organisms transform organic matter into the inorganic minerals required by plants. But if they are to thrive, they need proper soil conditions. Pest Control needs different strategies.

pH - Extreme Acidity (low pH) or extreme alkalinity (high pH) disrupts the growth of beneficial soil organisms which assist plants in absorbing nutrients. Most plants grow best near the neutral range of 7, 6-8 on the scale.

Not only is soil pH important for these beneficial micro organisms to thrive, but they also need a good balance of nutrients. A soil test can tell you which nutrients are lacking, and how much of each are needed.



How Do Plants Grow - Required Nutrients For Growth

Nitrogen(N)

  • A part of all living cells and is a necessary part of all proteins, enzymes and metabolic processes involved in the synthesis and transfer of energy
  • A part of chlorophyll, the green pigment responsible for photosynthesis
  • Promotes growth, increasing seed and fruit production and improving the quality of leaf and forage crops or lawns
  • Sources - atmosphere, organic fertilizer

Phosphorus (P)
  • Essential part of the process of photosynthesis
  • Effects rapid blooming and root growth
  • Sources - organic fertilizer, bone meal

Potassium (K)
  • Key nutrient in photosynthesis
  • Necessary for disease reduction, robust fruit, protein production
  • Sources are organic fertilizer, decaying organic material, sea minerals
  • how do plants grow


Calcium (C)
  • Cell wall structure
  • Transportation of other nutrients
  • Key nutrient in photosynthesis
  • Sources are lime and gypsum



Magnesium (Mg)
  • Chlorophyll production
  • Activates enzymes
  • Sources are organic material in soil, limestone, fertilizer

Sulfur (S)
  • Chlorophyll production
  • Root growth
  • Activates enzymes
  • Low temperature resistance
  • Protein production
  • Sources are air from rain, gypsum, fertilizer

Boron (B)
Copper (Cu)
  • Enzyme activity, utilization of proteins
  • Improves root metabolism
  • Sources are organic fertilizer

Chloride (Cl)
  • Improves general plant metabolism
  • Sources are soil, organic fertilizer

Iron (Fe)
  • Vital for chlorophyll production
  • Sources are soil, organic fertilizer

Manganese (Mn)
  • Controls enzyme activity for carbohydrates and nitrogen
  • Sources are soil, organic fertilizer

Molybdenum (Mo)
  • Controls enzyme activity for nitrogen
  • Sources are soil, organic fertilizer

Zinc (Zn)
  • Controls enzyme activity for carbohydrates
  • Plant growth
  • Sources are soil and organic fertilizer

Understanding, how do plants grow, requires us to accept that more than the traditional nutrients of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium (potash)are required for plants to prosper. Proper attention to soil health, including micronutrients , is vital to produce robust, disease free plants and nutrient dense foods.


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