Why Do Plants Need Water?

Why do plants need water? The easy answer is, “because they’re made mostly of water.” But let’s take it a little further…

Why Do Plants Need Water? Reason 1: Germination

Definition: To cause seeds or spores to sprout or to sprout or form new tissue following increased metabolism.

Germination is the process of a newborn plant emerging from its seed.

A seed needs water to activate the enzymes that orchestrate the germination process. Absorbed water also causes the seed to swell and soften which makes it possible for the plant to break through.

Why Do Plants Need Water? Reason 2: Photosynthesis

Definition: The synthesis of organic compounds from carbon dioxide and water (with the release of oxygen) using light energy absorbed by chlorophyll.

The enzymes contained within each seed give it enough juice to push the sprouting plant to the surface. After it gets there, light energy, carbon dioxide and water take over.

Very generally put, photosynthesis (literally “putting together” or “synthesizing” light) produces food for the plant by combining light energy, carbon dioxide and water, each of which (along with nutrients from the soil) is needed in order for the plant to grow.

Why Does a Plant Need Water? Reason 3: Nutrient transfer

Water is a necessary conduit for the transfer of nutrients from the soil and into the root system. Without it, the soil’s nutrients could not be absorbed by the plant.

Why Does a Plant Need Water? Reason 4: Transpiration

Definition: The process of giving off vapor containing water and waste products, especially through the stomata on leaves or the pores of the skin.

Often confused with – and not completely dissimilar from – evaporation, transpiration is the process of water being pulled in through the roots, up the stem and out of the plant. It serves three main purposes:

  • Allows the intake of carbon dioxide from the air
  • Cools the plant
  • Causes nutrients and water to flow throughout the plant, thereby feeding and hydrating it

Transpiration becomes evaporation the instant it leaves the surface of the plant and heads into the atmosphere.


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Sources: Definitions obtained from The Free Dictionary

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