Temperature

  • Most seeds need a certain degree of warmth to germinate (sprout).
  • Most plants have an optimal (best) range of temperature for growth.
  • Higher: Plants have smaller leaves, thicker cuticles, and wilt is more likely to occur.
  • Lower: Grow lower to the ground, have shorter life cycles, and dish-shaped leaves.
  • Temperature affects moisture and nutrient uptake for the plant.

Light

  • Plants need light to produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis.
  • Plants use sunlight as their energy source.
  • Type: Red and blue light (visible light spectrum)
  • Intensity: Amount of light given off.
  • Exposure: Length of time in light (photo period)
  • Short day plants flower when nights are over 12 hours long.
  • Long day plants flower when nights are under 12 hours long.
  • Day neutral –flowering is unaffected by photo period

Water

  • Water enters through the root system and carries nutrients throughout the plant.
  • Water cools the plant.
  • Water helps give structure to the plant.
  • Keys to successful watering:

o   Water all the way through the root zone for even growth.

o   Pots need drainage holes to allow oxygen into the root zone.

Air

  • Air contains O2 and CO2 which are both necessary for plant growth.
  • CO2 is a gas that is taken in by the leaves (stomata) of the plant and is used for photosynthesis.
  • Together with sunlight, the plant makes food from CO2.
  • O2 is necessary for normal respiration.  It enters through the roots of the plant.

Nutrients

  • Plants need 16 essential nutrients to grow and produce.

Macronutrients

  • The primary nutrients (macronutrients) that plants need most are:
  • Nitrogen (N)
  • Phosphorus (P)
  • Potassium (K)
  • (most fertilizers have a balance of these 3 nutrients)

Micronutrients

  • The other 13 nutrients are called secondary nutrients (micronutrients).
  • They are needed in smaller amounts.
  • They include:
  • Carbon (C)          -Hydrogen (H)                  -Iron (Fe)
  • Calcium (Ca)       -Magnesium (Mg)           -Zinc (Zn)
  • Sulfur (S)             -Manganese (Mn)           -Boron (B)
  • Copper (Cu)       -Molybdenum(Mo)        -Chlorine (Cl)
  • Oxygen (O2)

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