Like any thing you can think of, whether it be people, pets or plants, their basic needs must be met to ensure a happy, healthy life.
Plants, of course, are alive, and so have both general and specific needs, depending upon the variety of plant in question. In this article, we’ll learn about the different parts of plants – root, stem, leaf and flower – and how they work together.
Most often overlooked and neglected, the root system of any plant plays a critical role in overall plant growth, health and vigor.
The root system is responsible for supplying a plant with water, vitamins and minerals, all necessary ingredients that promote and maintain healthy vigorous growth. As the nutrients around the plant are consumed, the roots will continue to grow out and down, searching for new sources of food and water.
Gardening Tip: Adding a granular or slow-release fertilizer to the soil before you plant will ensure a steady supply of nutrients throughout a plant’s growing season, especially important for vegetables and flowering plants.
Gardening Tip: Growth above ground mirrors growth below ground. For example, if your bell pepper plant is 1 foot tall and 1 foot wide, its root system is 1 foot deep and 1 or more feet wide.
Gardening Tip: Always follow the directions for any gardening product (fertilizer or pest controls). Although if you’re not sure, using less is always safer than using too much. Using the right amount however, will help ensure consistent results.
Roots and Soil
As you may have guessed, the type of soil in your garden plays an important role in overall plant health and vigor.
In general, most plants like a loose, well-drained soil with lots of organic material. Organic material can be peat moss, shredded bark, composted or decomposed plant material, some form of manure (generally cow manure), or even worm casings or rice hulls to name a few.
Potting soil is usually some combination of the above list and may have little or no actual “dirt” in it. Organic material helps to maintain moisture content levels in the soil and helps to prevent soil compaction.
The stem, stalk or trunk is the “super highway” of the plant. It starts at ground level and supplies the food and water from the roots to the leaves and flowers or fruit.
The leaves of a plant take the food and water from the roots through the stem and with the help of sunlight will turn the water and nutrients into energy.
That energy is then sent back through the stem to the entire plant, including right back down to the roots. Natures example of Solar Energy at work.
The flower or fruit of a plant is responsible for the reproduction of the plant. Whether it’s strawberries, lemons, tomatoes, pansies or pine-cones, their sole purpose in life is to reproduce more of their own kind.
Humans have found over time that various plants either taste good, have a nice scent or are pleasant to look at and have therefore selected out of millions of varieties just a few types to cultivate.
The Gardening Tips and Advice found throughout Your Healthy Gardens are written with the beginning gardener in mind. However, as time passes and the seasons change more and more detail will be added to help any home gardener improve their gardening skills.
Good Luck and Happy Gardening!