All living things whether Plant or Animals need water for their survival. Water is essential for life in all forms. We know our need for water as humans but why do plants need water? What are their requirements for water?
There are nearly over a million members in the plant family and they all need water in some sort. Whether big like a tree or small as a moss, in all forms they need water for survival.
The requirements for water may vary with size, shape, and surrounding for every plant. Big trees need more water than small plants. Similarly, trees can survive water scarcity better than small plants. Every member is unique with unique requirements and potential. But there are similarities, something common- All plants need water for their survival.
Today I will discuss all these questions with valid reasons. We will look at Why, When, Where, how water is utilized by plants. Here are 5 interesting reasons why all plants need water. Let’s start the discussion. In the meantime you can read- Is lavender a herb, shrub or a flower?
Why do plants need water?
Plants need water for Photosynthesis, Formation of Glucose, Maintaining Structure, Regulating temperature and for transportation of food and minerals.
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Plants prepare their food by the process of photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process by which Glucose is prepared by the combination of Carbon dioxide and water in the presence of sunlight and chlorophyll. This is a natural phenomenon and very essential for the survival of the plant.
Water is an essential constituent for photosynthesis. In reaction, water provides Hydrogen Ion required for the formation of Glucose along with Oxygen- the waste material of this reaction.
The word Photosynthesis is made by the combination of two words “Photo” means light and “Synthesis” means process. Technically it is the process of light the supports all life form on earth, directly or indirectly.
We as humans including all other animals are directly or indirectly depend on plants for our survival. Plants need photosynthesis for their survival. Ultimately water is required for photosynthesis.
Therefore, it can be proved with all valid reasons that plants need water for photosynthesis.
Formation Of Glucose
Complete Balanced Reaction of Photosynthesis
6CO2(Carbon dioxide)+ 6H2O(water) —(sunlight +chlorophyl~Photosynthesis)–> C6H12O6(glucose) + 6O2(oxygen)
Read my previous article on: How do plants use glucose? -Everything you need to know
In this reaction, it is very clear that 6 molecules of carbon dioxide are reacted with 6 molecules of water to produce 1 molecule of glucose and 6 molecules of Oxygen.
Glucose is a very basic form of pure food or we can say natural fuel for life. Plants need glucose for growth and reproduction. The fruit we get from plants is mostly a storehouse of glucose.
The glucose prepared by plants through photosynthesis is not only used by them but also supports many other animals. We consume more than 60% of our daily diet in the form of natural glucose or starch prepared by several plants.
The reaction stated above shows it clearly that hydrogen from water is utilized in the formation of Glucose. Therefore, we can say that Plants need water for the formation of Glucose.
In hot summer days, it is occasionally seen that many plants get drooped. They lose their rigidness or firmness. The leaves and stems may look pale and softer. This is the time when we think of watering these plants.
Soft stem plants and new seedlings quickly get drooped in hot weather.
So why does this happen? And why the plant get recovered just a few minutes after watering?
This is a very interesting phenomenon. I am sure that most of you may have come across this situation. It is very attractive to see the drooping plant stand again in front of your eyes within a minute.
This happens because the water present in the xylem tissue of the plants provides firmness to the plants. In hot weather conditions, the plant loses water faster than it can gain from the soil. SOmetimes soil also becomes dry leaving no water to balance evaporation.
During this time the plant starts losing water from leaves and stems. This loss of water makes the plant lose its firmness it starts to droop.
Again we provide water to the plant it absorbs it as quickly as it can. Hence, we see the stem and leaves getting rigid and firm in front of our eyes.
If you don’t water a drooped plant then it will eventually die due to dehydration.
So it is easy to establish that Plants need water to Support its structure.
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Temperature is an important factor for plant growth. It is pretty obvious to understand. This is why we have plants for different seasons. Some plants are good for winter and some are not. Wher as some plant are fit for hot desert-like summer conditions.
Temperature as a factor widely affects plant growth. Like plants in the hill, areas have very tiny and thin leaves whereas plants in desert areas lack standard leaf structure. Their leaves are thick and highly modified to store water.
Why water? Even to Regulate temperature Plants need Water.
Fun Facts: Do You Know Water is the only substance that occurs in all three states at the same temperature. At 0 degrees Celcius water can be found in all three states.
Also, Water has the highest latent heat capacity among all-natural liquids. This means water can absorb more heat than any other liquid before changing its state.
This characteristic of water is a great factor in regulating temperature. Not only for plants but all living things, water is necessary to regulate body temperature.
Nearly 60-70 % of the plant body is water in general and this water can hold a lot of temperatures to keep the plant warm at night and cold in days.
Thus it is now clear that plants do need water for regulating their body temperature.
Transportation of food and minerals
The water flows from root to shoot of the plant. The plant has a special system of circulation for controlling the flow of water. The xylem tissues are specially designed to pull water from roots to every part of the plant.
It is interesting but true that this flow of water provides strength to the plant structure. This pull is an upward force applied by the plant tissues to the water. This is supported by the capillary effect that guides a fluid upward through a thin tube-like structure.
The Force applied is guided by turgor pressure. Sometimes the motion of water is addressed y the term Turgor.
Plants need nutrients and minerals to grow and survive. Some nutrients are easily available, directly for air or sunlight. But some nutrients are not freely available in nature.
These nutrients occur in mineral state and are found in soil. Water in the soil dissolve these minerals and provide them to the plant. The mineral along with water molecules gets absorbed in the root cell through osmosis and reverse osmosis.
These minerals are then carried to different parts of the plant with the help of water.
Even the prepared food i.e., the glucose formed in the leaves are carried to different parts for utilization and storage. This is also done with the help of water.
Finally, we can say that plants need water for the transportation of mineral s from root to shoot and for transportation of prepared food from leaves to other parts of the plants.
Can Plants live without water?- No, Any Plant can not live without water. Sooner or later they do need water. This may seem to contradict some plants like an air plant.
But the fact is that- The “air-plants” also need water but is a very low amount. They get this water from their surrounding air. Always remember No plant can survive complete dryness for long. Some plants need watering daily like seedlings and others may survive without water for years, Yes- Years that’s true.
Do plants need water every day?- May be yes or maybe No. It depends. Some plants need frequent watering like seedlings and small plants whereas others may need water only once in a week or so. Succulents can even live for weeks without water. Their leaves store enough water for their survival.
Will plants die if not watered for a week?- Yes, it may die unless it is a cactus or a Succulent. Even some trees can survive in severe drought-like conditions for years. Especially Babul or Baobab trees can live without water for several years. Technically they have long roots. Their roots may reach underground water sources even miles away from the trees.
For what purpose all plants need water?- The plant needs water to prepare their food. The water helps these plants to get the raw materials from the soil and convert it to prepared food. They prepare food is then transferred to a different part of the plant even to the fruits.
I hope you have got your answer for Why do plants need water? If you think something is missing then do let me know. Write down your views and ideas regarding this topic. Also, suggest more questions to discuss in detail. Till then stay tuned and keep reading.
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