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4 Factors That Affect Plant Growth

When planting a flower bed or a vegetable garden it is important to understand what plants need to grow. There are 4 main factors that can affect the growth of your plants. They are water, light, nutrients, and temperature.

These four things affect the growth hormones of the plant, which will either make the plant grow quickly or slowly. Making changes to any of these four things can cause stress to the plant, which in turn can change or stunt the growth or improve the growth.

Plant sprout being planted

It is important to learn as much as you can about these four factors so that you can plant your garden accordingly to achieve a lush and healthy garden.

Water, light, temperature, and nutrients are the 4 things that affect the growth of a plant the most. You may be wondering where soil fits into this list. Plants are capable of growing without soil using a method known as hydroponics. However, plants cannot grow if they are not given the proper nutrients.

Let’s take a closer look at each of the four things that can affect plant growth.


Plants have evolved throughout time in different locations throughout the world. Some plants developed in tropical locations under the canopy of large trees while others developed on slopes of harsh mountain ranges.

For this reason, plants have adapted to different types of light. There are some plants that cannot adapt easily to a new condition. It is important to understand the type of light that your plants need and then provide it for them if you want them to grow.

Plants in pots

From season to season light varies in intensity. In the winter the days are much shorter and therefore there is less light. During the spring the amount of light that is available starts to increase as does the intensity. The light and the temperature changes that come in the spring will stimulate plants to break dormancy and start to grow new leaves.

Sunlight that is available during the summer months will encourage fruiting and flowering. During the fall months when the light starts to change again, many plants will begin shedding their leaves.

When purchasing plants it is important to make sure that you have an area in mind to plant them so that they get the amount of sunlight that they require each day. Each species has its own specific light requirements. The popular Alocasia Black Velvet, for instance, needs moderate indirect light, whereas a jade plant will want bright light at least 6 hours a day.


In order to survive, plants have to have water. Most plants are made up of nearly 90 percent water. Without the appropriate amounts of water, plants will be stressed and eventually die. Even plants that live in the desert such as the cactus need water, they just need less of it than other types of plants.

Water provides plants with nourishment and hydration. Water that is in the soil will break down minerals and other elements of the soil. When the plants absorb water through their roots, they will also be picking up nutrients that will travel to the cells of the plant.

Plants being watered

Humidity and water in the air can help encourage plant growth. However, providing too much water can also cause plants to die. It is important that you look up information about how much water your plants need and be sure to provide them with this amount in order to promote healthy growth.

Most vegetable gardens even those that are in elevated garden beds or in fabric grow bags should be provided with an inch of water each week. If it has rained enough during the week you do not need to water your garden.


Weather or temperature plays an important role in plant growth. Plants will slow down or speed up their growth rate based on the temperature. Warm temperatures encourage growth and germination. A warmer temperature will actually trigger a chemical reaction inside the cells of a plant and this will speed up respiration, transpiration, and the photosynthesis process.

Plant growth is faster during warmer periods and will slow down or become dormant in a cooler period.


There are certain nutrients that plants need in order to grow. Carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen are three of the nutrients that plants need. They get these from water and from air. The other nutrients that the plant needs are found in the soil. If a plant lacks any nutrient, plant growth can be stunted.

There are 2 categories of soil nutrients needed to improve plant growth, micronutrients and macronutrients. Plants need more macronutrients than micronutrients.

The macronutrients that plants need include:

• Phosphorous • Sulfur
• Magnesium • Calcium
• Potassium • Nitrogen

Micronutrients that plants need include iron, copper, as well as several other elements.

Micronutrients being mixed into the soil

Fertilizer for Nutrients?

Should you be using manure or fertilizers for your garden?

One of the problems that gardeners often face is that the soil that they use for their garden has an imbalance of nutrients. All of the macro and micronutrients need to be present in order for plants to grow.

One of the best ways to ensure proper plant growth is to using natural compost or manure in the soil. These will add the missing nutrients to the soil as well as provide new nutrients for the plants.

Using fertilizer is not the same as providing the plant with nutrients. In fact, most fertilizers will only contain phosphorous, potassium, and nitrogen and will not have the other micro and macronutrients that promote plant growth.

Adding natural fertilizer to the soil

If you have plants that are diseased it is likely that they are missing micro or macronutrients. For example, blossom rot that is found on tomato plants is often caused by a lack of calcium. Just like people, plants that do not have a healthy diet of the nutrients they need will be affected and less likely to produce desired results.


A beautiful garden

If you want to have a healthy garden you could spend months researching all of the plant growth factors. However, the most important thing to keep in mind that if you are practicing sound gardening techniques you are going to produce healthy plants.

Make sure that you rotate your crops regularly and that you add compost and manure to your soil at least once or twice a year to provide your plants with the nutrients they need in order to survive.

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