What do plants need to survive?” you might wonder. Plant care is one of the world’s most fundamental yet misunderstood things.

What Do Plants Need to Survive

With a plethora of different opinions, sciences, and research, we tend to misconstruct primary plant care and what we have to do for it.

Today, we are breaking down an entire list of the things plants will always need to thrive and reach optimal growth.

A List of Things Plants Needs To Grow To Their Full Potential

1. Sunlight

Sunlight Helps promote photosynthesis 

What it does 
  • Helps promote photosynthesis 
  • Allows plants to grow
How to get it 
  • Place plants near window sills 
  • Place plants outdoors 
  • A good amount of sunlight is what will help your plants thrive
  • Plants can grow to their full potential with good light conditions 
  • Too much sun can increase rot risk in your plants 
  • Overexposure overheats plants 

When we wonder about “What do plants need to survive and grow?” we usually think of light. Everyone can agree that plants require sunshine to survive and thrive. Although some plants do well in the shade, in this context, we are referring to the vast majority of plants and trees that need sunlight to flourish.

We must comprehend the fundamentals of photosynthesis to fully comprehend why plants require sunshine. All green plants use the process of photosynthesis to produce nourishment for themselves.

Chloroplasts are little components found inside the cells of plants. Chlorophyll, a green pigment, is present in these chloroplasts. The pigment chlorophyll is responsible for the green color of plant leaves and serves as a major solar energy absorber.

With the help of this energy, the plant can transform the water and carbon dioxide it has taken in from the soil and the air into sugar, which fuels its continued growth.

Plants require sunshine to produce food that will fuel their growth. A typical plant needs three to six hours of sunlight every day. To determine the precise amount of light a particular plant or group of plants will require to survive, check the nursery tag, especially for indoor plants, or do some research online.

If there is little light, the green pigment in plants, chlorophyll, will not be produced, and as a result, plants can change color from pale green to yellow to white. Plant stems will also begin to “leg” or grow long and slender, giving the impression that they are reaching toward the light source. 

2. Water

Water Helps plants absorb essential nutrients

What it does 
  • Helps plants absorb essential nutrients 
  • Helps promote photosynthesis 
How to get it 
  • Water your plants regularly through hoses or sprinklers 
  • Watering helps keep plants hydrated
  • Water transports nutrients in the plant 
  • Over-watering can lead to plants rotting 
  • Excess water can lead to overhydration

A seed needs moisture to germinate. The germination process is triggered by water, which tells the seed it is time to emerge from dormancy and sprout. Once the seed has been moistened by water, it can begin to grow. If you think about it, why do plants need water? It’s not like they physically drink it like humans, right? Wrong!

A plant will still require water and proper growing circumstances once it has emerged. The plant is nourished correctly by nutrients transported from the earth, through the roots, and into the plant by water. 

If you’ve paid attention to ‘Why do plants need water’ for class 2 when you were in school, you should know that a lack of water and poor nutrient cycling causes the plant’s cells to lose their structure. Water, therefore, keeps plants healthy and hydrated. 

The saying “water is life” is true. The plant uses water to absorb nutrients and maintain a sturdy cell structure. Water is essential for photosynthesis as well. Photosynthesis, the process by which plants harness solar energy to sustain themselves, requires water. 

Plants utilize hydrogen from water absorbed through their roots and carbon dioxide from the air during this process, releasing oxygen as a byproduct. Additionally, water evaporates from the leaves through a process known as transpiration that prevents plants from going into and overheat. 

3. Air

Air Helps plants breathe

What it does 
  • Helps plants breathe
  • Helps plants make food 
How to get it 
  • Place plants in open spaces 
  • Place plants near open windows or doors
  • Air helps the soil and the plants dry out if overwatered 
  • Air also helps provide ventilation for plants to grow
  • Excessive air can dry your plants out 
  • Extremely cold or dry air will also damage your plants 

Like people, plants require oxygen to breathe and healthy circulation to flourish. This is basic information that you can find even in ‘What plants need to survive grade 4 for school children. Through photosynthesis, carbon dioxide is taken from the air and transformed into sugar, which the plant consumes for sustenance. Also crucial is the subsurface air since roots require oxygen.

Additionally, wind and light breezes that force the plant to sway and bend somewhat aid in fortifying it. A hormone is released when a plant is driven by the wind, signaling the plant to produce additional stem-supporting cells, strengthening it.

So, why do plants need air? Well, the soil around your plants could become moist if there isn’t adequate airflow and circulation. Without air or circulation, dampness fosters the growth of bacterial and fungal infections that can harm your plants.

Because it is invisible and appears to be easily available to plants above ground, the air is sometimes taken for granted. Even though there is a lot of air in our atmosphere, few things can prevent a plant from getting enough fresh air. Stagnant air may include high levels of other gasses that could injure the plant while deficient in essential gasses like oxygen.

Root rot can be brought on by an excess of moisture underground and a lack of air or circulation. When a plant’s root starts to rot and dies from being too wet, it is said to have “root rot.” 

4. Soil (and Nutrients)

Soil provides nutrients 

What it does 
  • It provides nutrients 
  • It provides a network for plants to receive water through
How to get it 
  • Plant your plants in a mixture of high-quality soils according to their needs 
  • Good soil will always help promote optimal levels of growth in plants
  • Using poor soil can easily ruin your plants and make your hard work worthless 

Most plants live on soil. With a hydroponic system, some plants grow entirely in water, but for the most part, they require soil to grow. The earth provides more than half of the necessary nutrients for plant development.

Soil performs several tasks required for plant growth. First of all, it gives the plant a base or structure. A plant’s root systems penetrate the soil and serve as an anchor for the portion of the plant that is visible above ground. Second, oxygen, necessary for the plant to convert sugar into fuel, can be found in the crevices between soil particles.

Water and nutrients are also provided to the plant by the soil. Additionally, the earth shields the roots from sharp temperature changes. The concept of ph is also relevant in the context of soil. You can tell if your soil is acidic or alkaline by looking at its pH. While some plants are highly flexible, many grow in a narrow pH range.

To thrive, plants require a variety of nutrients. The plant requires some key nutrients, or macronutrients, in larger quantities and some trace elements in lesser quantities. Nitrogen is a key component of chlorophyll that enables photosynthesis, as well as the amino acids that usually serve as the building blocks of the proteins that plants require to grow. 

What nutrients do plants need to grow? Nutrients plants need include: 

  • Phosphorous: Supports proper root development and is essential for photosynthesis
  • Potassium: Balanced potassium levels protect plants against illness
  • Calcium: Important for building cell walls and for other essential plant functions
  • Magnesium: A key component of photosynthesis

In addition, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, manganese, copper, zinc, and boron are essential for the growth of plants.

5. Space

Space Allows the plants to grow freely

What it does 
  • Allows the plants to grow freely 
  • Allows your plant to grow to their full size
How to get it 
  • Place your plants far apart from each other 
  • Get smaller amounts of plants so you can manage space 
  • Space will help plants achieve optimal growth 
  • Too much space can make you forget about your plants or make maintenance more difficult

Plants require space to grow, just like people do. As roots take water and nutrients up to the plant, there must be enough space underground and above it to grow properly. There must also be adequate room for the leaves to receive sunlight. Plants may compete for nutrients, water, and light, which can impede their growth.

Observe the recommended spacing requirements for the plant(s) you work with.

6. Optimal Temperatures

Different plants need different temperatures to thrive

What it does 
  • Different plants need different temperatures to thrive 
  • Not all plants are made for the same seasons
How to get it 
  • Do your research on which plants suit your environment and climate best 
  • Look for local plants as opposed to imported ones 
  • When you choose the right plants according to temperature, you will have beautiful growth each time 
  • This restricts you from growing your choice of plants 

All growth stages of plants are impacted by temperature. A seed must first be in a certain temperature range to germinate. While your summer vegetables will germinate at 70 to 85 degrees Fahrenheit, cool-weather crops like lettuce and kale do best around 55 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. In general, warmth is required for seeds to sprout.

Temperature causes the plant to begin fruiting and flowering as it expands. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand what agricultural zone you are in. You may use this to learn when to plant particular plants and which ones will thrive and which ones won’t.

Utilize helpful planting calendars to assure success after you are aware of your zone’s agricultural hardiness.


You might have learned about the 4 things plants need to grow when you were in school, but in fact, there are other important factors that affect plant development.

While these may seem like a lot, especially if you’re new to gardening, it really isn’t much. 

  • Plants need light, water, heat and air, but also soil and nutrients.
  • Who knew plants needed space, right? It’s actually a significant factor in the health of your plants.
  • Ensure that you use high-quality soil every time. If this seems expensive, think of the plants you will be wasting money on trying to keep alive with cheaper alternatives.

So, which of the factors above are you going to start using more of? 

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