Why do plants need water? Well, the simple answer is that water is important for the life of a plant. Water allows a plant to carry out its daily processes to ensure that it receives the necessary nutrients for its development. Each type of plant has its storage system essential to keep the moisture that is crucial to adapt to its environment. It helps in nourishment, offering the fundamentals to grow leaves, flowers, roots, stems, etc.
Inadequate water supply can hinder a high number of biological processes taking place in a plant. It would slump plant growth, leading to the death of a plant. Apart from that, water holds paramount importance in plant cultivation and food production. Water allows the circulation of essential minerals, nutrients, and foliage. Different plants have different kinds of water needs; but, inadequate water supply can affect any plant species on earth and not in the right way.
The Importance Of Water For Plants And Why Do Plants Need Water To Grow?
Why do plants need water in the first place? Let’s consider the following factors where “water” carries paramount importance:
1. Water Increases The Growth Of The Plants
On a minute level, plant growth takes place when tissues divide into the cells. Inadequate water supply interferes with this process, and in return, weakens cells, and stunted growth of plants happens. Water is a crucial thing where cell division takes place, fostering a healthy development of new cells.
2. It Provides Strength For The Plants
Cells are present in stems and leaves. Water fills up these cells, making them flexible and durable. It provides strength to the leaves and the stem of the plant. If they are dry, then the leaves and the stem would wither and fall out.
3. Water Is Also A Support System
Plants use a unique process that transfers water in and out of their cells. Water enters and leaves the plant’s cells through a process called osmosis, which fills the plant cells, making them firm, and providing structure to the plant. Osmosis is the main reason why flowers and plants wilt when they don’t get enough water.
Plant tissues need water pressure so that a plant can stay firm. The cell wall of the plant has a vacuole that retains water that pushes outward, which prevents the plant structure from falling or wilting.
4. Why Do Plants Need Water For Photosynthesis?
Water is used during the process of photosynthesis and also prevents the plant from becoming dehydrated. Photosynthesis is when a plant uses light, water, and carbon dioxide to create energy and food. Water is also used to carry nutrients through the plant and its cells.
5. Food Source
After photosynthesis, water transports glucose, or sugar, around the plant, where it’s used for growth or stored, as in the case of bulb or tuber plants. Plants make their nutrients using sunlight. Water comprises of hydrogen, a vital component of the sugars that plants produce for food. When water supply decreases, a plant is deprived of the necessary items to feed.
Water allows the nutrients to dissolve from the soil, which is integral for the growth of any plant. Even the “richest” soil cannot directly transfer its nutrients to plants. So, all this means that water is also one of the essential things your plant needs to get nutrients.
Water molecules in the plant carry minerals to each part of the plant. Minerals enter a plant through root hairs, separately from water molecules, which enter through the root epidermis. The minerals combine with the water molecules once they enter the wake vascular cylinder. This is the reason why the flowers placed in the water will die because they are not receiving a constant flow of minerals.
Plants use water through a process called perspiration that allows it to cool by evaporation of water. This allows the temperature of the plant not to rise too much. If a plant gets too hot, the leaf cells will stop working, which can cause the leaves to die.
What’s The Best Water Type For Plant Growth?
The best water for your plants will always be rainwater. I would recommend that, if the temperature outside is pleasant, you take them to your balcony, patio, or terrace, so they get clean rainwater. Once the rain stops, place the plant back inside your home.
Rainwater isn’t always available, and this is where other water sources come in. Such things as osmosis water, air conditioning water, tap water, and distilled water. Each water type has unique qualities that make them useful for plants. Let’s take a quick look at them:
The osmosis water is the result of water decalcification, made by a reverse osmosis process. You should water your flesh-eating plants with osmosis water, but not acidophilic plants.
Air Conditioning Water
Like osmosis, very useful for watering carnivores, or cleaning the dust from the leaves of indoor plants.
This thing depends on the area where you live, but tap water usually has a pH level 7. If it is high (over 6), it’s not suitable for acidophilic plants, but you can use it to water plants that don’t need low pH.
Finally, we have the “modified waters” that are nothing more than waters that are treated at home (either by putting drops of vinegar or lemon) to lower the pH.
When To Water And How Often Do Plants Need Water?
After understanding why plants need water, it’s also essential to be familiar with each plant’s water requirements. Always find out the irrigation needs of each plant, looking at the label. Sometimes information about irrigation is included, but if not, ask from an expert or search by name from gardening manuals or the internet. In general, the natural environment or place of origin of the plant gives us excellent information about its water needs.
Indoor And Outdoor Plants
Indoor plants live in a stable environment, without the direct sun (or for a few hours of it), in an average humidity and temperature, which means that they usually need less frequent watering. In most indoor plants, a small weekly watering or even less is enough.
Outdoor plants have to withstand more challenging environmental conditions – intense sun, winds, high temperatures, drought, heavy rains, etc. Some of these factors (sun, wind, heat) cause rapid water evaporation, so more copious or frequent watering may be necessary (depending on the soil or substrate).
This is one of the most critical aspects when adjusting the frequency and intensity of irrigation. Plants that grow in containers or pots live in a confined environment, so their roots cannot go deeper beyond the pot’s bottom/walls. The smaller the pot compared to the plant’s size (the green part), the higher the risk that it will run out of water in a short amount of time. Imagine a warm day or a house with heating.
Plants that are located on the garden floor usually have a much larger volume of land to explore, both horizontally and in-depth. Soil dries first on the surface, and as the depth increases, it tends to be more humid. That’s why a several-year-old tree doesn’t need watering unless it’s in a high, dry place, or the soil is barely shallow.
The Type Of Soil
The amount of land available to the roots makes a big difference!
Soil poor in organic matter like clay or sand, can’t retain water well. These types of soils (applicable to pots as well), should be watered very frequently (once or twice a day) but provide very little water at a time.
But, soil rich in organic matter can remain water for many days (or even months) after the last rain or irrigation. This type of soil should be watered infrequently (once a week or less). You can also check the pH level of the soil by using a recommended soil tester kit offering moisture, light, and pH test for soil.
Test the soil moisture with a tester like this one by Atree that you can get from Amazon!
How Much Water Do Plants Need Per Day?
Watering needs depend on the plant type, its age, the season of the year, soil conditions, and even the size of the pot.
Botanical specialists explain that watering plants too often when they don’t need it can kill them because their roots will rot. Not watering enough will cause them to dry out and die. Plants need water to live in their right measure, just like us.
Only Water The Plants When They Need It!
Water the plants whenever they need it. One of the ways to test it is to touch the ground. When the soil is dry, it’s time for you to water it. Another method is to hit the pot, and if it sounds hollow, it needs watering. It’s essential to understand that watering is about giving water to the roots. If you water the soil, far from the roots, it won’t be effective. Or even in the worst-case – USELESS!
Keep In Mind!
Another factor to consider is time. Don’t water too quickly because slowness in these tasks is always the best. To water, you must point to the root zone, because the foliage in other words – leaves don’t need watering. When the water comes out from under the pot, the roots are wet, and they have enough water.
Prevent wasting water by smartly watering your plants. One way to do this is by getting an automatic drip irrigation kit which has an automated irrigation management system and impressive water-saving capabilities.
Products To Help You With Watering:
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means that if you click on the link and buy the product, we’ll receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Affiliate links are one of the ways that keep Ryhom.com alive.
If you want to make watering your plants effortless, take a look at this one that handles the watering for you automatically:
Automatic Drip Irrigation Kit By Moistenland
You can get it from Amazon.
Or try this more straightforward and cheaper system where you insert an old bottle full of water and let it do the watering:
This Simple But Controllable Watering System By Simenmax
You can get it from Amazon.
Is There A Way To Improve Water Quality?
If growing outdoors, try to avoid mowing your lawn near your water source (a pond if you have one). Doing this makes it messy and lowers the quality of your irrigation water. You usually don’t have a way to make rainwater or tap water any better, so improving their quality is useless.
The Use Of Fertilizers
Use of fertilizers can also be harmful, so reduce the use of them but try to avoid chemicals too. There’s a small risk that you might drain the water from the plants carrying fertilizers to the water sources. In return, the water would get contaminated and carry harmful chemicals.
A good fertilizer you should take a closer look at is this by Earthworm Technologies that comes in a secure capsule form:
This Easy To Use Organic Fertilizer For Indoor And Outdoor Use By Earthworm Technologies
You can get this fertilizer from Amazon.
No matter what you’re growing, you’ll need water and the answer to the question of “why do plants need water?” is because they need to stay alive. Always try to water your plants with high-quality water, as close as rainwater but if that’s not available, then go with the old fashioned tap water. If you’re willing to invest a bit of money to make your outdoor/indoor garden successful, then take a look at the three products above.
Knowing a lot about water won’t make you a great gardener. So if your growing plants indoors I want you to know about our post – 7 Best Indoor Gardening Tips For The Beginner and I hope that it’ll help you on your indoor gardening journey.
Featured image credit – © Dusan Kostic – stock.adobe.com