• Question: How do plants grow

    Asked by anon-349303 on 7 Mar 2023. This question was also asked by anon-349308, anon-349297, anon-359337, anon-356041.
    • Photo: Laura Vickers

      Laura Vickers answered on 7 Mar 2023:

      Plants grow two ways, by increasing the number of cells and forming organs and tissue (cell division), a process that occurs in animals too. Also the grow via cell elongation, this is a cell getting larger. Often as a plant grows upwards it is cell elongation. When a flower forms, that is cell division.

    • Photo: Liz Barron-Majerik

      Liz Barron-Majerik answered on 7 Mar 2023:

      They need certain conditions to be right before they will grow – the right amount of light, water, the right temperature. Sometimes the seeds need to be chilled first before the plant starts to grow – it wants to know winter has passed before it will risk coming out of the seed – they can’t go back in when it gets chilly!

    • Photo: Sam Mugford

      Sam Mugford answered on 8 Mar 2023:

      Plants grow by building more bits of themselves out of sunlight and fresh air. It sounds amazing when it’s said like that but it’s true.

    • Photo: Phil Howell

      Phil Howell answered on 13 Mar 2023: last edited 13 Mar 2023 2:11 pm

      Normally they grow towards things that make them stronger (light, water, nutrients in the soil) or away from things that aren’t good for them (crowded places, pests, diseases, pollutants). Plants can’t run away from things but by growing in certain directions they do the best they can to get themselves into the best position to get strong and reproduce. They are great at interacting with triggers from the outside world – for example, sunflowers track the sun during the day, turning to face it, and in French they are called ‘tournesol’ which literally means “turn to the sun”

    • Photo: Ian Adams

      Ian Adams answered on 14 Mar 2023:

      I grow them very badly at home. But at work we have extensive green houses with people whose job it is to grow healthy plants for us. Sometimes we infect them with diseases but the glasshouses have air filters and special drainage to stop the diseases escaping into the environment. For really important experiments we have what are called growth chambers which are boxes, even rooms where we can control the amount of daylight (mimic different seasons or climates), temperatures, humidity and even things like carbon dioxide levels. Some people are using these sort of facilities to look at how climate change might effect plant growth and disease