What Do Plants Need to Grow and Survive?

Generally, in nature plants get almost all the things they need to grow and survive. But keeping plants in our home, we need to know all of their basic necessities so that we can provide them that and thus help them to grow properly.

What do plants need to grow and survive? Light, air, water, and nutrients are the four most important things that plants need to grow and survive. Also, space, time, and the proper temperature are other important things that are needed by the plant to grow and survive.

Now, let’s discuss one by one why they need all of these and the key takeaways. So, let’s start!

Why Do Plants Need Light to Grow and Survive?

Plants perform photosynthesis in the presence of light and make glucose which they use as their energy source. Through photosynthesis, the plants will convert light energy into chemical energy.

So light is required by the plants. Some plants will require more, light while some will require less light.

Now although plants require sunlight, they can also grow in artificial light.

Generally, houseplants that grow well even under the low light indoor conditions are the ones that require indirect sunlight.

In nature, they grow in the canopy and under the shade. So, keeping them in indirect light helps in their growth. While there are other plants that need direct sunlight.

Key Takeaway: Know the lighting requirements for your plants and give them the light that they need for better growth and survival.

Why Do Plants Need Air to Grow and Survive?

The two primary reasons plants need air are to photosynthesize (make food) and to breathe. Plants need to breathe for the same reason people and animals must breathe – they need oxygen to convert food into energy. The relationship between air and indoor plants is crucial to keeping your plants looking their best.

Plants need air both from above the soil surface and below the soil surface. From above the soil surface, plants need air so that they can get oxygen and carbon dioxide to perform photosynthesis.

Whereas, plants also require air from below the surface. They require oxygen to breathe. They get the air through small spaces between the roots and the soil particles.

Do you know? When plants in our houses outgrow the pot, their roots become very compact. This inhibits the proper airflow in the roots and thus results in root rot.

Key Takeaway: Make sure the plants get proper good quality air and also ensure that proper air circulation is occurring below the soil.

Why Do Plants Need Water to Grow and Survive?

Water is necessary for photosynthesis, which is how plants use energy from the sun to create their own food. During this process, plants use carbon dioxide from the air and hydrogen from the water absorbed through their roots and release oxygen as a byproduct.

Plants are about 90% water and from that only it can be understood how important water is for plants.

However, not all plants require the same amount of water. Overwatering a plant can cause root rots. Whereas, giving less water to a plant can cause it to wilt or droop.

Key Takeaway: So, it is best to first know the water requirement of the particular houseplant and then water it as per its needs.

Why Do Plants Need Nutrients to Grow and Survive?

How Nutrients Work
How Nutrients Work

Nutrients are the substances through which plants get nourishment. The reasons why plants need nutrients are quite the same as why animals need them.

Plants need nutrients:

  • To grow
  • To germinate
  • To fight against diseases
  • To fight against pests
  • To reproduce

The deficiency of any essential nutrient can have a bad impact on plants. For example, the seed may not be able to germinate, or the other plants’ parts may not grow properly.

On the other hand, providing too many nutrients to a plant can also be harmful. For example, too much nitrogen can lead to more leaves growing but less or no fruit.

Too much manganese can cause the leaves to turn yellow and later on it may lead it to die. Whereas, too much boron can even kill a plant.

16 essential nutrients are identified by scientists and classified based on the relative amount that each plant needs.

Primary Nutrients:

Secondary Nutrients:

Micro Nutrients:

carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and potassium.

calcium, magnesium, and sulfur.

boron, chlorine, copper, iron, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc.


Key Takeaway: Know the specific nutrient requirement of your houseplant and provide them that (not too much nor too little, but just the adequate amount for better growth of the plant).

Why Do Plants Need Space to Grow and Survive?

Plants need and like to have room to grow. This is because the above-ground part of the plant needs space so that the leaves can expand and carry out the job of making food. The roots also need room to grow or they will become root-bound, and that will also result in smaller growth of the Plant.

Yes, plants do need space to grow like other living organisms. They need to spread their roots so that they can absorb water and nutrients properly from the soil.

Having too many plants in the same pot can also cause them to compete with each other for the same resources. This will as a result cause reduced growth.

Key Takeaway: Provide your plant with enough space to grow and survive. If your houseplant has outgrown its pot then you can shift it to a bigger pot thus providing more space for its growth

Why Do Plants Need Time to Grow and Survive?

The reason that plants require time is that they do not grow overnight. It will take time and lots of patience to grow plants, some plants will take more than others. Most plants will usually require a particular number of days, to sprout and then it could be months, or even years to produce flowers and fruit.

Plants need time to grow. If you plant a seed today in a pot and give all the other things it needs to grow.

Still, it will take some time for it to grow to your desired size. Nothing can happen overnight.

Key Takeaway: Set the right expectations. Know your plant’s growth period, and have a little patience, and expect its growth accordingly.

Why Do Plants Need Temperature to Grow and Survive?

The temperature will influence most of a plant’s processes, this includes photosynthesis, transpiration which is the loss of water from a plant in the form of water vapor, respiration, germination, and flowering. When the temperature increases then photosynthesis, transpiration, and respiration will also increase. When combined with the day’s length, the temperature also affects the change from vegetative (leafy) to reproductive (flowering) growth. Depending on the situation and the specific plant, the effect of temperature can either speed up or slow down this transition.

Temperature can have an influence on plant processes such as:

  • Photosynthesis
  • Transpiration
  • Respiration
  • Germination
  • Flowering

According to extension.oregonstate.edu, as temperature increases up to a certain point, photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration increase.

Some plants are able to tolerate harsh temperatures while some plants are able to thrive at less temperatures.

Key Takeaway: Know the optimal temperature requirement of your houseplants based on their stage and other conditions. Then try to provide them that temperature for better growth.


So, I hope now you know exactly what things plants require to grow and survive. Always try to give the optimal amount of all those things, as per the specific plants, requirements. Too much or too little can have a negative impact on the plant’s growth.

Recent Posts