Water is essential for the growth, reproduction and survival of plants, but how does it get there? In this article, we’ll explore the science of water in plants and how it affects their growth and development.
Water is a key component of plants, making up to 95 percent of their total mass. In order to maintain their turgidity, transport water-soluble nutrients and photosynthesize, plants rely on water to move from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration. This process, known as osmosis, allows water to be absorbed from the soil and pulled up through the plant, eventually to the leaves.
However, if the soil around a plant is dry, the water will move out of the plant cell into the soil. This loss of water continues up the entire plant until the plant wilts, at which point many plant processes have stopped. If turgidity is restored in time, the plant may recover. If not, the plant’s ability to transport nutrients and photosynthesize is compromised.
Root activity stops and cells stop growing and multiplying, initiating the onset of old age. Foliage, branches and roots begin to die, and the plant eventually drops any fruit, leaves and branches. If water is unavailable in the soil, the whole plant may eventually die.
Therefore, it is important to keep soil evenly moist through the growing season based on a particular plant’s water requirements in order for good growth and production.