Caring for Plants and Their Needs

All living things have needs that must be met in order to survive, and plants are no different. The job of a good gardener or farmer is to ensure the best conditions for growth for your plants and to help their needs be met. A plant will meet its needs in a variety of ways and may have unique characteristics to ensure its needs are met. Some plants may require very specific conditions, such as a particular temperature to sprout and grow, but all plants require the same basic needs. Remember the acronym L.A.W.N.S for plant needs: 


Plants require light from the sun or grow lights for photosynthesis. Plant leaves capture sun, then convert and store that energy as a sugar called glucose. Plants use glucose for energy. Too little or too much much light can cause issues for plant health and growth.


Air contains carbon dioxide used by plants for photosynthesis. Plants also require the proper temperatures for growth and humidity. Cool temperatures can cause stunted growth in plants.


All living things, including plants, are mostly comprised of water. Plants use water to move nutrients back and forth between roots and leaves. Water is used during photosynthesis. Water in the soil is absorbed by the roots and travels through the stems to the leaves. Too much or too little water can cause the plants to wilt or droop.


Just like humans, plants require essential nutrients to support their growth. Plants must take up essential nutrients from the soil to support the growth. The most important nutrients for plants growing needs are nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). Nitrogen is necessary for making green leaves, phosphorus is needed for making big flowers and strong roots, and potassium helps the plants fight off disease. 


Space is like a plant’s habitat. Space to grow is required for the roots and leaves of a plant. Without enough room, plants may compete for basic needs and become susceptible to disease. ripe one, don’t get a hard one.

Elicit help from students to decide where the needs of plants and people align. First ask students: what do we, as humans, need to survive? Write their answers in a list on the board. Now, ask students what they know plants need to survive. Make a list on the other side of your board. Which of these are the same, which are different? Connect the similar needs with a line between the,. Shelter needed by people is like space needed for plants. Nutrients and sunlights for plants are like food for humans.


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