Water for plant growth

Bubbly Plants

All living things need water to survive, but not all water is the same. This experiment aims to discover if different types of water effect the germination of seeds and growth of plants.

Research Questions:

How will tap water, distilled water, and seltzer water affect the germination and the growth of radish seeds? Which type of water will generate the most enhanced growth?

Regular tap water contains chemical contaminants that could hinder the growth of seeds and plants. Distilled water has been purified and thus lacks the chemicals and minerals of tap water. Seltzer water is water in which carbon dioxide gas has been dissolved. The carbon dioxide reacts with the water to produce carbonic acid, slightly raising the pH balance.

The independent variable in this project is the type of water, and the dependent variable is the plant’s rate of growth based on the water fed to it. The constants include the type of seeds, the soil, the conditions and the amount of water.


  • Three small, plastic pots
  • One small bag of potting soil
  • One packet common seeds (ex. radish, tomato, poppy, etc.)
  • One bottle distilled water
  • One bottle seltzer water
  • Measuring cup
  • Ruler

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Label each pot with the water type that will be used in it.
  2. Fill pots with potting soil to the same level on each.
  3. Plant 5-10 seeds in each pot, following the directions on the packet.
  4. Soak the soil in each pot with the same number of ounces of the three types of water.
  5. Store pots with access to the sun.
  6. Water at the same time each day with equal amounts.
  7. When shoots appear in one of the pots, start recording the dates and growth for each type of water.
  8. At the end of a specified period (ex. two weeks), form a conclusion about which water.

A chart can record the daily data:


Tap Water

(height in mm)

Distilled Water

(height in mm)

Seltzer Water

(height in mm)

Mon., 12/19

none .5 .75

Tues., 12/20

.5 .8 1

The chart can be translated into a simple graph:

Terms/Concepts: Germination; Carbonation; Distillation

  1. A Drop in the Ocean: The Story of Water, Jacqui Bailey (2006).
  2. Using Water, Sally Hewitt (2008).


Plant Growth

The goal of this experiment is to determine whether varying certain factors, such as water location and light location, will cause plants to grow in a different direction than other plants that are grown through more conventional methods.


Procedure: Medium

Concept: Easy


The idea behind this experiment is to determine whether plants are affected by both the location of their water and the location of their light source. You can choose just one of these things to test, or test both factors, so we will go ahead and describe ways of setting up both types of test.


What effect do you think the location of the water will have on the plant? How about the effect of the light’s location? Specifically, do you think the plant will grow towards or away from the water and towards or away from the light?


  • Lots of seeds of the same (fast-growing) plant. We recommend about 40 so that you can try and grow 20 plants.
  • 20 plant pots or holders of some sort. Make sure they are roughly the same type of container, as you do not want to introduce other variables into your experiment.
  • Potting soil to fill your plant containers.
  • Water for keeping the plants alive.
  • A ruler and a protractor, to measure the status of your plants’ growths and to record the angle at which they are growing.
  • Lights to allow the plants to perform photosynthesis.
  • Record turntable or some other surface that can spin on its own.


  1. Dump some soil in each of the pots and plant 2 seeds per pot (to make sure they grow)
  2. Put all the pots together in a room under a light and water them for 2 weeks to allow them to germinate and start living
  3. Number the pots and measure the size of the plants.
  4. Place pots 1-5 in a row and put the lights to the side of the plants rather than above it.
  5. Place pots 6-10 on the turntable and start it turning (slowly). Try to make sure that the plants are all the same distance from the center. The light should be placed above the center of the turntable.
  6. Place pots 11-15 in a row and put the lights above the row of plants. This group should only receive water into the right half of the pot. The water should be poured in along the edge and you must be careful to always pour on the right side. (Note: It doesn’t matter which side you pour into as long as you are consistent among this group and over the course of the experiment, making sure to always water the same side.)
  7. Pots 16-20 will be kept as a control group which will receive light from above, water in the middle of the pot, and no turntable effect.
  8. Continue watering your plants as explained and once a day measure the size of the plant, and also the angle from vertical at which the main stalk of the plant is growing. You may also want to count the number of leaves as that is indicative of how well the plant is growing.


Understanding how plants use light via photosynthesis as their “food” and how plants absorb water will help to start out this experiment, and will be reinforced by the results of the experiment.


Using the measurements you have dutifully recorded, you may want to average the results from each of the 5 pots in a group to come up with a group average for each day. Using this averaged plant size from each group, you can easily compare how well each group grew and which method worked out best in the topic of plant size. You can also take the average angles of the plants with respect to the ground and compare each group’s angles. This will help you determine what kind of affect each variable had on the way the plant grew as well as just how much of an effect it had.


How did things turn out? Do plants grow toward water or away from it, or does the water have no effect on the direction of plant growth? Why do the plants behave in this way based on water location? How about for light; did your plants grow towards the light or away from it? Why do they behave that way with regards to the light? These are all questions you will need to carefully consider and answer, using your data and analysis to support your conclusions.

Why is Water so Important to Plants?

In the urban setting, the soils are often found to have less structure and a greater density than soils found in a more naturalized setting. This is a direct result of the urbanization of cities. In newly developed areas or even the new builds in Toronto, the developers are taking away all the old nutrient-rich soils and replacing it with just a thin layer of top soil. These soils have few nutrients and are very low in the organic matter that all plants and trees need to thrive. This also results in the reduction of pore space within the soil and ultimately reduces the plant’s availability to access water.

In Toronto, soils are often found surrounded by pavement and concrete. This raises the internal temperature of the soils, which inhibits the development of the microbiology and nutrients within the soil. Paving around the trees and plants in the city does not allow the water needed to penetrate the root zone of those plants.

The development of hard-scape surfaces throughout the city ultimately promotes more evaporation rather than the retention of water into the soils. Compaction in the urban environment is another major issue for the development of plants and trees. Compacted soils lead to a lot of run off and the water is unable to saturate the ground properly.

Why does typical irrigation not work with trees?

Typical irrigation does not work for trees because it tends to focus solely on the first few inches of the soil, which is only good for grass and flowers. This is also inefficient for trees because normal irrigation loses up to half of the water to evaporation. This type of irrigation can also lead to soil compaction.

Trees need more deep watering, which you do not get from typical home irrigation. Deep watering promotes deep root growth of trees and shrubs and will help the tree be more drought-tolerant.

Depending on the season, young or newly planted trees should be kept moist at all times so the roots do not dry out. Mulch around the base of the tree will help retain some of that moisture.

How can we collect water and target it into the soil at depth?

  • Aeration Tubes – Once installed properly within the tree root zone, the aeration tubes allow us to directly feed the roots and make sure the sure the tree is being watered properly; This is done by creating space throughout the root zone of the tree allowing water to enter the soil at depth. It is watering and feeding the trees root system directly. The installation of aeration tubes will also alleviate any compaction around the base and drip line of the tree.
  • Soaker Hoses – are an efficient way to water trees, as they are porous and release water very slowly so you can get that deep root watering. Encircle the tree with a spiral of soaker house and run it for an hour or more, or as long as it takes for water to penetrate 6 to 10 inches of the soil.
  • Dry Wells – The idea behind the dry wells are to capture and hold the wasted storm water and reuse it at depths for watering the trees. The dry wells can be installed to capture eaves troughs downspouts and channel it to a storage tank underground in proximity to trees. Slowly the water will percolate out of the dry well and into the soil below grade where it benefits the trees root zone.

Like all life on earth, plants need water to survive and grow. Indeed, like humans, water is the primary element that makes up the structure of plants. Human bodies are comprised of around 70 percent water, but in plants this proportion can be as much as 95 percent. Water is also essential to the way a plant receives nutrients and provides energy for itself. Thus, water is arguably the most essential substance required by plants. That is why many elements of permaculture design – from using swales and contouring to slow runoff from the land and allowing it to sink into the soil to mulching to prevent evaporation of moisture from the soil surface – emphasis the preservation of water so that it can be provided to plants.
There are four primary ways in which plants use water to survive and grow.
Unlike animals, plants do not have and internal or external skeleton to give them strength of structure. While vertebrates have an internal jointed skeleton, which gives the framework to protect the internal organs and to provide structure for limbs and corporeal elements, and invertebrates have an external skeleton, or carapace, to protect their internal physiology, plants do not have an overarching structure like this. But they do need to have some form of structure to enable them to grow and maintain rigidity. Some trees and woody shrubs get this rigidity from the presence of lignin – a polymer that binds fibrous material together, but the majority of plants get it solely from the pressure of the water in their cells.
Within each cell are a number of elements, such as mitochondria that converts sugars into energy the plant can use, and chloroplasts that contain the chlorophyll the plant uses in photosynthesis. But by far the largest portion of each cell is the vacuole, a space filled with water that ensures the cell maintains its shape. If the plant receives enough water, each vacuole in each cell keeps the cell walls at the right tension, and in combination all the cells give the plant its strength. This water pressure within the cells is called ‘turgor’ and because the strength is derived from a liquid source, the strength retains a flexibility that animal skeletons lack. This allows the plants to adapt to surroundings, bend in the wind and move towards the sun as it traverses the sky during the day to get the most energy for photosynthesis.
Photosynthesis is the process by which plants produce the energy they need to survive and grow. And water is central to the process. Photosynthesis uses the energy from the sun to create energy in the form of sugars. For the molecules of sugar to form they need carbon dioxide (which they absorb from the air) and hydrogen, which is sourced from the water in the plant, which comes up through the plant from the roots to the leaves. While plants release oxygen as a by-product of the photosynthesis process, they also need a small amount of it in solution to help facilitate the function; water provides this as well.
The movement of water through the parts of a plant is called translocation. It is via translocation that nutrients are moved around the plants to where they are needed. A plant absorbs nutrients in solution; so having sufficient water in the soil is essential for good plant growth (which is why a lot of permaculture practices emphasize the preservation of water in the ground, via mulching, ground cover, and other methods). Soil nutrients are taken up by the roots in a water solution and moved via a process called capillary action that uses the tension of the water itself to maneuver it around. This allows the plant to get nutrients to the leaves where it is required for photosynthesis.
Translocation not only allows the plant to shift nutrient-rich water from the roots to the leaves, it also allows the sugars that result from photosynthesis in the leaves to be transported back down to the roots and out to blossoms and crops to enable them grow.
During photosynthesis, water evaporates from the surface of the leaves in a process called transpiration. This occurs when stomata, a kind of pore, open on the leaf to allow for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide with the atmosphere during photosynthesis. Indeed, some of the oxygen that the plant releases is contained in the water vapor that is transpired. Not only does the transpiration effectively provide the space into which the essential carbon dioxide can flow, it also prompts the plant to take up more water from the soil (bringing with it nutrients), so helping to keeping the internal system of the plant in balance. It also keeps the plant cool – think of transpiration as being a bit like sweating in humans!
Besides the individual rates that different species have, rates of transpiration will vary depending on a number of factors. These include temperature (warmer temperatures causes more transpiration), light (plants transpire less in the dark) and humidity (it is easier for a plant to release moisture into drier rather than saturated air. Wind will also cause more transpiration to occur, partly as still air tends to become more humid, and the wind moves this air away from the leaves. And transpiration, like photosynthesis and translocation, is affected by the amount of moisture in the soil that is available for uptake by the plant. If there is insufficient water in the soil, transpiration slows, as do the other process, and the plant will begin to exhibit signs of distress, such as curling and browning of leaves.
All four of these processes that plants use water for are interlinked. They may occur at different rates in different species, but essentially all plants perform them. And as long as they have sufficient water in the soil, they will do them naturally, without interference, helping grow strong specimens with good crops. Get the water right and your plants will reward you.

Compare Translations for 1 Corinthians 3:7



1. And I–that is, as the natural (animal) man cannot receive, so I also could not speak unto you the deep things of God, as I would to the spiritual; but I was compelled to speak to you as I would to MEN OF FLESH. The oldest manuscripts read this for “carnal.” The former (literally, “fleshy”) implies men wholly of flesh, or natural. Carnal, or fleshly, implies not they were wholly natural or unregenerate ( 1 Corinthians 2:14 ), but that they had much of a carnal tendency; for example their divisions. Paul had to speak to them as he would to men wholly natural, inasmuch as they are still carnal ( 1 Corinthians 3:3 ) in many respects, notwithstanding their conversion ( 1 Corinthians 1:4-9 ).
babes–contrasted with the perfect (fully matured) in Christ ( Colossians 1:28 ; compare Hebrews 5:13 Hebrews 5:14 ). This implies they were not men wholly of flesh, though carnal in tendencies. They had life in Christ, but it was weak. He blames them for being still in a degree (not altogether, compare 1 Corinthians 1:5 1 Corinthians 1:7 ; therefore he says as) babes in Christ, when by this time they ought to have “come unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ” ( Ephesians 4:13 ). In Romans 7:14 , also the oldest manuscripts read, “I am a man of flesh.”

2. ( Hebrews 5:12 ).
milk–the elementary “principles of the doctrine of Christ.”

6. I . . . planted, Apollos watered–( Acts 18:1 , 19:1 ). Apollos at his own desire ( Acts 18:27 ) was sent by the brethren to Corinth, and there followed up the work which Paul had begun.
God gave the increase–that is, the growth ( 1 Corinthians 3:10 , Acts 18:27 ). “Believed through grace.” Though ministers are nothing, and God all in all, yet God works by instruments, and promises the Holy Spirit in the faithful use of means. This is the dispensation of the Spirit, and ours is the ministry of the Spirit.

8. one–essentially in their aim they are one, engaged in one and the same ministry; therefore they ought not to be made by you the occasion of forming separate parties.
and every man–rather “but every man.” Though in their service or ministry, they are essentially “one,” yet every minister is separately responsible in “his own” work, and “shall receive his own (emphatically repeated) reward, according to his own labor.” The reward is something over and above personal salvation ( 1 Corinthians 3:14 1 Corinthians 3:15 , 2 John 1:8 ). He shall be rewarded according to, not his success or the amount of work done, but “according to his own labor.” It shall be said to him, “Well done, thou good and (not successful, but) faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord” ( Matthew 25:23 ).

9. Translate, as the Greek collocation of words, and the emphasis on “God” thrice repeated, requires, “For (in proof that “each shall receive reward according to his own labor,” namely, from God) it is of God that we are the fellow workers (laboring with, but under, and belonging to Him as His servants, 2 Corinthians 5:20 , 6:1 ; compare Acts 15:4 ; of God that ye are the field (or tillage), of God that ye are the building” . “Building” is a new image introduced here, as suited better than that of husbandry, to set forth the different kinds of teaching and their results, which he is now about to discuss. “To edify” or “build up” the Church of Christ is similarly used ( Ephesians 2:21 Ephesians 2:22 , 4:29 ).

10. grace . . . given unto me–Paul puts this first, to guard against seeming to want humility, in pronouncing himself “a WISE master builder,” in the clause following . The “grace” is that “given” to him in common with all Christians ( 1 Corinthians 3:5 ), only proportioned to the work which God had for him to do .
wise–that is, skilful. His skill is shown in his laying a foundation. The unskilful builder lays none ( Luke 6:49 ). Christ is the foundation ( 1 Corinthians 3:11 ).
another–who ever comes after me. He does not name Apollos; for he speaks generally of all successors, whoever they be. His warning, “Let every man (every teacher) take heed how,” &c. refers to other successors rather than Apollos, who doubtless did not, as they, build wood, hay, &c., on the foundation (compare 1 Corinthians 4:15 ). “I have done my part, let them who follow me see (so the Greek for ‘take heed’) to theirs” .
how–with what material . How far wisely, and in builder-like style ( 1 Peter 4:11 ).
buildeth thereupon–Here the building or superstructure raised on Christ the “foundation,” laid by Paul ( 1 Corinthians 2:2 ) is not, as in Ephesians 2:20 Ephesians 2:21 , the Christian Church made up of believers, the “lively stones” ( 1 Peter 2:5 ), but the doctrinal and practical teaching which the teachers who succeeded Paul, superadded to his first teaching; not that they taught what was false, but their teaching was subtle and speculative reasoning, rather than solid and simple truth.

12. Now–rather, “But.” The image is that of a building on a solid foundation, and partly composed of durable and precious, partly of perishable, materials. The “gold, silver, precious stones,” which all can withstand fire ( Revelation 21:18 Revelation 21:19 ), are teachings that will stand the fiery test of judgment; “wood, hay, stubble,” are those which cannot stand it; not positive heresy, for that would destroy the foundation, but teaching mixed up with human philosophy and Judaism, curious rather than useful. Besides the teachings, the superstructure represents also the persons cemented to the Church by them, the reality of whose conversion, through the teachers’ instrumentality, will be tested at the last day. Where there is the least grain of real gold of faith, it shall never be lost ( 1 Peter 1:7 ; compare 1 Corinthians 4:12 ). On the other hand, the lightest straw feeds the fire ( Matthew 5:19 ).

13. Every man’s work–each teacher’s superstructure on the foundation.
the day–of the Lord ( 1 Corinthians 1:8 , Hebrews 10:25 , 1 Thessalonians 5:4 ). The article is emphatic, “The day,” that is, the great day of days, the long expected day.
declare it–old English for “make it clear” ( 1 Corinthians 4:4 ).
it shall be revealed by fire–it, that is, “every man’s work.” Rather, “He,” the Lord, whose day it is ( 2 Thessalonians 1:7 2 Thessalonians 1:8 ). Translate literally, “is being revealed (the present in the Greek implies the certainty and nearness of the event, Revelation 22:10 Revelation 22:20 ) in fire” ( Malachi 3:3 , 4:1 ). The fire (probably figurative here, as the gold, hay, &c.). is not purgatory (as Rome teaches, that is, purificatory and punitive), but probatory, not restricted to those dying in “venial sin”; the supposed intermediate class between those entering heaven at once, and those dying in mortal sin who go to hell, but universal, testing the godly and ungodly alike ( 2 Corinthians 5:10 ; compare Mark 9:49 ). This fire is not till the last day, the supposed fire of purgatory begins at death. The fire of Paul is to try the works, the fire of purgatory the persons, of men. Paul’s fire causes “loss” to the sufferers; Rome’s purgatory, great gain, namely, heaven at last to those purged by it, if only it were true. Thus this passage, quoted by Rome for, is altogether against, purgatory. “It was not this doctrine that gave rise to prayers for the dead; but the practice of praying for the dead gave rise to the doctrine” .

15. If . . . be burnt–if any teacher’s work consist of such materials as the fire will destroy .
suffer loss–that is, forfeit the special “reward”; not that he shall lose salvation (which is altogether a free gift, not a “reward” or wages), for he remains still on the foundation ( 1 Corinthians 3:12 , 2 John 1:6 ).
saved; yet so as by fire–rather, “so as through fire” ( Zechariah 3:2 , Amos 4:11 , Jude 1:23 ). “Saved, yet not without fire” ( Romans 2:27 ) . As a builder whose building, not the foundation, is consumed by fire, escapes, but with the loss of his work ; as the shipwrecked merchant, though he has lost his merchandise, is saved, though having to pass through the waves ; Malachi 3:1 Malachi 3:2 , 4:1 , give the key to explain the imagery. The “Lord suddenly coming to His temple” in flaming “fire,” all the parts of the building which will not stand that fire will be consumed; the builders will escape with personal salvation, but with the loss of their work, through the midst of the conflagration . Again, a distinction is recognized between minor and fundamental doctrines (if we regard the superstructure as representing the doctrines superadded to the elementary essentials); a man may err as to the former, and yet be saved, but not so as to the latter (compare Philippians 3:15 ).

16. Know ye not–It is no new thing I tell you, in calling you “God’s building”; ye know and ought to remember, ye are the noblest kind of building, “the temple of God.”
ye–all Christians form together one vast temple. The expression is not, “ye are temples,” but “ye are the temple” collectively, and “lively stones” ( 1 Peter 2:5 ) individually.
God . . . Spirit–God’s indwelling, and that of the Holy Spirit, are one; therefore the Holy Spirit is God. No literal “temple” is recognized by the New Testament in the Christian Church. The only one is the spiritual temple, the whole body of believing worshippers in which the Holy Spirit dwells ( 1 Corinthians 6:19 , John 4:23 John 4:24 ). The synagogue, not the temple, was the model of the Christian house of worship. The temple was the house of sacrifice, rather than of prayer. Prayers in the temple were silent and individual ( Luke 1:10 , 18:10-13 ), not joint and public, nor with reading of Scripture, as in the synagogue. The temple, as the name means (from a Greek root “to dwell”), was the earthly dwelling-place of God, where alone He put His name. The synagogue (as the name means an assembly) was the place for assembling men. God now too has His earthly temple, not one of wood and stone, but the congregation of believers, the “living stones” on the “spiritual house.” Believers are all spiritual priests in it. Jesus Christ, our High Priest, has the only literal priesthood ( Malachi 1:11 , Matthew 18:20 , 1 Peter 2:5 ) .

17. If any . . . defile . . . destroy–rather as the Greek verb is the same in both cases, “destroy . . . destroy.” God repays in kind by a righteous retaliation. The destroyer shall himself be destroyed. As temporal death was the penalty of marring the material temple ( Leviticus 16:2 , Daniel 5:2 Daniel 5:3 Daniel 5:30 ), so eternal death is the penalty of marring the spiritual temple–the Church. The destroyers here ( 1 Corinthians 3:16 1 Corinthians 3:17 ), are distinct from the unwise or unskilful builders ( 1 Corinthians 3:12 1 Corinthians 3:15 ); the latter held fast the “foundation” ( 1 Corinthians 3:11 ), and, therefore, though they lose their work of superstructure and the special reward, yet they are themselves saved; the destroyers, on the contrary, assailed with false teaching the foundation, and so subvert the temple itself, and shall therefore be . I think Paul passes here from the teachers to all the members of the Church, who, by profession, are “priests unto God” ( Exodus 19:6 , 1 Peter 2:9 , Revelation 1:6 ). As the Aaronic priests were doomed to die if they violated the old temple ( Exodus 28:43 ), so any Christian who violates the sanctity of the spiritual temple, shall perish eternally ( Hebrews 12:14 , Hebrews 10:26 Hebrews 10:31 ).
holy–inviolable ( Habakkuk 2:20 ).
which temple ye are–rather, “the which (that is, holy) are ye” , and, therefore, want of holiness on the part of any of you (or, as ESTIUS, “to tamper with the foundation in teaching you”) is a violation of the temple, which cannot be let to pass with impunity. GROTIUS supports English Version.

18. seemeth–that is, is, and is regarded by himself and others.
wise in this world–wise in mere worldly wisdom ( 1 Corinthians 1:20 ).
let him become a fool–by receiving the Gospel in its unworldly simplicity, and so becoming a fool in the world’s sight . Let him no longer think himself wise, but seek the true wisdom from God, bringing his understanding into captivity to the obedience of faith .

19. with God–in the judgment of God.
it is written–in Job 5:13 . The formula of quoting SCRIPTURE used here, establishes the canonicity of Job.
He taketh . . . wise in . . . own craftiness–proving the “foolishness” of the world’s wisdom, since it is made by God the very snare to catch those who think themselves so wise. Literally, “He who taketh . . . the whole of the sentence not being quoted, but only the part which suited Paul’s purpose.

21. let no man glory in men–resuming the subject from 1 Corinthians 3:4 ; compare 1 Corinthians 1:12 1 Corinthians 1:31 , where the true object of glorying is stated: “He that glorieth, let him glory in THE LORD.” Also 1 Corinthians 4:6 , “That no one of you be puffed up for one against another.”
For all things–not only all men. For you to glory thus in men, is lowering yourselves from your high position as heirs of all things. All men (including your teachers) belong to Christ, and therefore to you, by your union with Him; He makes them and all things work together for your good ( Romans 8:28 ). Ye are not for the sake of them, but they for the sake of you ( 2 Corinthians 4:5 2 Corinthians 4:15 ). They belong to you, not you to them.

How Does Water Affect Plant Growth?

Water is crucial to all life. Even the most hardy desert plants needs water. So how does water affect plant growth? Keep reading to learn more.

What does water do for a plant? There are three potential situations with water: too much, too little and, of course, just enough.

  • If a plant’s soil has too much water, the roots can rot, and the plant can’t get enough oxygen from the soil.
  • If there is not enough water for a plant, the nutrients it needs cannot travel through the plant.
  • A plant cannot grow if it doesn’t have healthy roots, so the proper balance of water is key when growing plants.

There are a few simple things you can do to check the amount of water in the soil and ensure that there is the correct entry of water in a plant. One of the quickest ways is to just put your finger in the soil, up to your knuckle. If the soil is moist, it has enough water; if it is dry, you need to water the plant. If the pot feels lighter than usual, or if the soil is pulling away from the sides of the pot, it needs more water and may even be in need of rehydration.

How Does Water Help a Plant?

How does water help a plant? What does water do for a plant? Water helps a plant by transporting important nutrients through the plant. Nutrients are drawn from the soil and used by the plant. Without enough water in the cells, the plants droop, so water helps a plant stand.

Water carries the dissolved sugar and other nutrients through the plant. So without the proper balance of water, the plant not only is malnourished, but it is also physically weak and cannot support its own weight.

Different types of plants require different amounts of water. With outdoor plants, you can’t control the plants getting too much water if your area gets a lot of rain, so you need to make sure that the soil has the proper drainage, because too much water will affect plant growth just as much as too little.

Entry of Water in a Plant

How does water travel up a plant? The water a plant needs enters through the root system. The water then travels up a plant through the stem and into the leaves, flowers or fruit. The water travels up a plant through xylem vessels, which are like capillaries, that move the water into the different parts of the plant.

What does water do for a plant in other ways? It helps the plant maintain the proper temperature as water evaporates. When the moisture evaporates from the surface area, it causes the plant to draw more water up through the roots, to replace what was lost, helping to provide a circulatory system. This answers the question, how does water travel up a plant.

Now you know how water affects plant growth and what water does for a plant. Keeping your plant properly watered is important to its health and looks.


  • Water is a constituent of protoplasm
  • Water acts as a solvent. Plants can absorb nutrients when these nutrients are dissolved in water
  • Water is used for transpiration carrier of nutrients from the soil to green plant tissues.
  • They are used for photosynthesis and the end product is also conveyed through water to various plant parts
  • Water forms over 90% of the plant body by green or fresh weight basis.
  • Plants can synthesis food through photosynthesis only in the presence of water in their system.
  • Water helps to maintain the turgidity of cell walls. Water helps in cell enlargement due to turgor pressure and cell division which ultimately increase the growth of plant.
  • Water is essential for the germination of seeds, growth of plant roots, and nutrition and multiplication of soil organism.
  • Water is essential in hydraulic process in the plant. It helps in the conversion of starch to sugar.
  • Water helps in the transpiration, which is very essential for maintaining the absorption of nutrient from the soil.

  • Water regulates the temperature and cools the plant.
  • Water helps in the chemical, physical and biological reaction in soil.

So, water is applied externally, if availability seems limited through soil, not sufficient to meet the requirement due to drought or excess losses. We call the external application of water to the soil to supplement the requirement as `Irrigation’.

In Tamil Nadu the percentage ranges from as low of 0.1% in Nilgris to a high of 88% in Thanjavur district. Arcot districts and Kanchipuram register 50 to 78%. Dharmapuri (19%), Salem (23%) and Dindigul (29%) are the districts which need greater effort to increase the irrigated area.

Development of irrigation in India
Irrigation has been practiced in India and other Asian countries from early times. Of course civilization started through irrigation systems. All these early civilization are in South and South West Asia. In Tamil Nadu the early Chola kingdom is reported with well developed technologies for irrigation management. The check dam at Kallanai to regulate the river for irrigation is a typical example.

How Water Works

Plants contain even more water than animals do — most of them are anywhere from 90 to 95 percent water . Just as it does in animals, water regulates the temperature of the plant and transports nutrients through it. But instead of taking in water by drinking and eating, plants get it through dew, irrigation and rainfall.

Plants take in water through their roots, and green ones use it in photosynthesis, which is how they create sugar for food. (You can learn more about the process of photosynthesis in How the Earth Works.) Plants also need water to support themselves. Pressure from the process of osmosis — the movement of water from the outside to the inside of the plant’s cells — keeps up the plant’s cell walls.


When you water a plant, it sucks up the water through capillary action. Then the water travels from the roots through tubes called xylem vessels. Water reaches the leaves of the plant and escapes through small holes called stomata, which open when the plant needs to cool down. This process is called transpiration and is similar to how people (and some animals) sweat. Carbon dioxide also enters the plant through the stomata.

Processing water is more complicated in animals and people, although it’s also similar in a lot of ways. Water that you consume is absorbed in the upper small intestine through osmosis. It enters the bloodstream and is transported all over the body. Unlike plant cells, however, animal cells do not have cell walls. This is why animals have circulatory systems — otherwise, our cells would absorb water and salt until they swelled. Our circulatory systems move water around our bodies and remove it as needed through sweating and urination.

A few animals, like a microscopic organism called the tartigrade, can go without water for an extraordinary period of time. If the tartigrade’s environment doesn’t have enough water, the animal goes into a life without water, called anhydrobiosis. Sugar takes the place of water in its cells, making it impervious to extremes in temperature. Its metabolism lowers, and the tartigrade stays at this barely alive state until it has enough water to really live again.

Some plants have also found unique ways to live with little or no water. One way is a variation of photosynthesis called Crassulacean Acid Metabolism (CAM) photosynthesis. In CAM photosynthesis, a plant stores carbon dioxide as acid and keeps its stomata closed during the day to save water (evaporation happens at a slower rate at night). It can even keep its stomata closed at all times if conditions are especially arid. Cacti use CAM photosynthesis to survive the extreme heat and drought of the desert.

Next, we’ll look at how the hydrologic, or water, cycle functions.

You might be thinking about getting started with hydroponic gardening. I was in the same situation a few years ago.

One of the questions I wanted to know was whether my plants would grow faster and larger with hydroponic gardening compared to growing plants in soil

Great News: Hydroponic plants grow faster and larger than growing plants in soil and require less space to grow than soil based plants.

What Is Hydroponics?

Hydroponics is the process of growing plants using only water and nutrients and a growing medium to hold the plants in place, rather than growing the plants in soil.

This sounds really high tech, but it’s actually not.

Although there are historical references to hydroculture that date back as far as the 8th century BC to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, it was not until the 17th century that scientific research really got underway into the art of growing plants without soil.

Francis Bacon’s book, titled “A Natural History”, published in 1627 is the earliest published book on growing plants without soil. It is after this that experiments on growing plants without soil increased in popularity.

By the 1840s, a list of essential elements required for healthy plant growth had been determined and the development of hydroponics began to make real progress.

The main breakthrough came in 1929 when William Gericke at the University of California demonstrated very successful hydroponic growing uf tomato vines which he grew in a nutrient solution. It was him that coined the term hydroponics which is a neologism of the Greek word “geoponica” which describes broad agricultural activity, and “hydro” meaning water.

In the 1930s, there was a successful hydroponic operation on Wake Island which is a small island in the Pacific Ocean, which was used as a refueling stop for Pan American Airlines. There was no soil on Wake Island, and it was extremely expensive to deliver fresh vegetables, so hydroponically growing vegetables was an excellent alternative.

Today, there are many commercial hydroponic farming operations, and some major companies, such as Disney World, use these methods to produce the food they need to feed their park visitors.

The global hydroponics market has grown slowly but surely over the last few decades and it’s forecast to grow from 226 million USD in 2016 to 724 million USD in 2023.

What Are The Benefits Of Growing Plants With Hydroponics?

By using hydroponic gardening; you can raise your plants anywhere, as long as their growth requirements are met. Here are some of the benefits specifically for hydroponic gardening.

  • Hydroponic gardening uses 95% less water than soil-based gardening.
  • Crops grow twice as fast in hydroponic gardening. In this controlled environment, your yield is doubled, which leads to twice as much production in the same amount of space.
  • You can use 20% less space compared to soil-based gardens, because plants with small roots may be grown closer to each other.
  • It provides a clean environment for plant production. This means that your hydroponic garden has no need of pesticides, fertilizers or other chemicals because it cannot catch soil-borne diseases or pests.
  • You lose valuable nutrients in soil-based gardens due to run-off. Calcium, phosphorous and potassium content often dissolved in it. However, in hydroponic systems; water may be reused multiple times which conserves water and the expense incurred from it.
  • Hydroponics involves less labor than soil-based gardens, and their upkeep is minimal.
  • You don’t have to deal with soil testing.
  • Hydroponic plants tend to be healthier. Studies show that their vitamin content is 50% higher than conventional plants.
  • Hydroponic harvesting is easier than soil-based gardening.
  • You can grow hydroponic plants all year long.

There are plenty of advantages to hydroponic gardening. Why isn’t everyone doing it then? Well, there are a few disadvantages to hydroponic gardening as well.

What Are The Disadvantages Of Growing Plants With Hydroponics?

The disadvantages of hydroponic gardening are few but significant.

  • The upfront set up cost of a hydroponic system is high.
  • It requires continual supervision.
  • These types of gardens can also be susceptible to a power outage. If this happens, the plants will dry out. Without power, you must water your garden manually.
  • Your plants can be attacked by water-based microorganisms.
  • Maintaining a hydroponic garden requires some technical knowledge.

What Types Of Plants Can Be Grown Hydroponically?

Herbs and greens work wonderfully in hydroponic gardens. Here is a list of other top-rated hydroponic garden plants:

  • Strawberries
  • Tomatoes
  • Mint
  • Basil
  • Lettuce
  • Cabbage
  • Green Beans
  • and many others

Not all plants work well in a hydroponic garden. Some plants require a large area to grow and are thereby impractical for hydroponic gardens. Some examples of these are melons, squash, pumpkins, and corn.

Another concern you may not realize is that many plants require bees to pollinate them since they have both male and female flower parts. These plants will not grow well hydroponically since there are no bees inside your hydroponic system. You can learn the delicate task of pollinating these plants yourself, but most of these plants will not do as well.

Flowers have a wide variety of growing conditions so you cannot fit multiple flower types into a one-size-fits-all hydroponic system. Flowers require research by individual type to determine if any will work for you. Until you have done the research, it is best to avoid growing flowers hydroponically.

Is It Very Complicated To Grow Plants Hydroponically At Home?

No, and yes. The amount of complication in your hydroponic setup depends upon your available space, what kind of plants you wish to raise, and how much money you have to invest into a hydroponic system.

There are basically six kinds of hydroponic systems you can invest in today.

The most basic system is called a deep-water culture. It is a container of nutrient-filled water, with plants floating on top of it. Think of lily pads in a pond. You need an air pump to keep oxygen into the water, but the entire system can be made small and simple with things like storage bins, foam containers, or even a bucket. The storage container doesn’t really matter so long as it is in a place where your plant can get a lot of light.

Wick System

The Wick system is a simple and passive type of hydroponic system. The mechanism of delivering the nutrients and water when using a wick system is that they are drawn in via the growing medium. This system avoids the need to have any pumps to circulate the water and nutrients to your plants.

What kind of medium can you keep your plants within this system? There are quite a number of potential materials which can be used as a growing medium for wick system hydroponics. Vermiculite, Perlite, Pro-Mix, and Coconut Fiber are some of the most popular. One potential drawback of wick systems is that large plants or plants that use a lot of water may use up all the nutrient solution quicker than the wick(s) can resupply it.

Deep Water Culture

Deep water culture systems are another very simple way of growing plants with hydroponics. The plants are grown in a tank of water and nutrients. The growing medium is often made from a buoyant material so that it is able to float and hold the plants in place, with the leaves above the water and the roots directly in the water and nutrient solution.

Deep water culture systems require an air pump to constantly oxygenate the water via an air stone, to provide enough oxygen to the growing roots. Without this, the plants would be unable to survive. Deep water culture systems are some of the easiest to build and can be put together very inexpensively, making them a good starting point if you are looking to have a go at growing plants with hydroponics. If you prefer, however, there are numerous pre-built deep water culture systems available to buy.

Deep water culture systems are a great choice for growing leafy greens, and in addition to being a good domestic hydroponic technique, they are in use for commercial growing in many countries around the world. Deep water culture systems are less suited to large plants or plants which are not harvested after a short period of time.

Ebb And Flow – (Flood And Drain)

The Ebb and Flow system operates by flooding the grow tray with nutrient solution temporarily and then draining it back into the primary reservoir. This is usually done with a submerged pump connected to a timer. The pump is set up so that when the timer turns the pump on, the nutrient solution is pumped out into the grow tray.

When the timer runs out, it shuts the pump off, and the nutrient solution flows back into the reservoir. For these systems, the timer is set to turn on and off several times a day. The frequency of these floods depends on the size and type of plants, humidity, temperature, and the kind of growing medium used to hold the plants.

The Ebb and Flow system is quite versatile and can be used with many types of growing mediums. The whole grow tray may be filled with grow rocks, gravel or granular Rockwool. Many gardeners use individual pots of growing medium to make it easier to move plants around or even move them in and out of the system entirely.

The main disadvantage of Ebb and Flow systems is that they are vulnerable to power outages as well as pump and timer failures. Without regular access to water, the roots dry out quickly. Some kinds of growing media that retain more water, such as Rockwool, Vermiculite, and coconut fiber, but overall, this system requires careful supervision.

Drip Systems

Drip systems may be the most widely used type of hydroponic system in the world. The concept is similar to growing bean sprouts in cotton in a plastic bag, or even spraying flowers with water to keep them vibrant. Drip systems have a timer that controls a submersed pump. As the timer turns the pump on, the nutrient solution drips onto the bottom of each plant using a small drip line.

In a Recovery Drip System, (like the bean sprout in the plastic bag example) the excess nutrient solution that runs off is gathered back to the reservoir for re-use. In Non-Recovery System (like spraying the flowers) the runoff is not collected.

The main benefit of a recovery system is that it uses nutrient solution more efficiently. This means you can use a less expensive timer because the system does not require such precise control of the watering cycles. Non-recovery systems need a more precise timer so that watering cycles can be more precisely adjusted to ensure that the plants get sufficient nutrient solution and the runoff is kept down as minimal as possible.

The non-recovery system’s main benefit is that it requires less maintenance than recovery systems. Since the excess nutrient solution is not recycled back into the reservoir, the nutrient strength and the pH of the reservoir will not vary. You can fill the reservoir with pH adjusted nutrient solution whenever you want and then forget it until you need to refill it. A recovery system, on the other hand, may have substantial shifts in the nutrient strength and pH levels and requires periodic adjustments.

N.F.T. (Nutrient Film Technique)

N.F.T. is the kind of growing system most people think of when they picture hydroponics. These systems keep a constant flow of nutrient solution going so there is no timer required for the submersible pump. This nutrient solution is pumped into the growing tray (which is often a tube), and it passes over the roots of the plants, then drains back into the reservoir.

It requires no growing medium other than air, which saves the expense of replacing the growing medium after every crop. Often, the plant is supported in something, like a small plastic basket that leaves the roots dangling into the nutrient solution.

Even more than the Ebb and Flow systems, N.F.T. systems are very vulnerable to power outages and pump failures. The roots of their plants will dry out very rapidly if the flow of nutrient solution is interrupted.


The aeroponic system is probably the most complicated type of hydroponic system. It too, like the N.F.T. system above, uses air as the growing medium. However, instead of having nutrient flowing over the roots in a tube, the roots hang in the air and are gently sprayed with nutrient solution. This usually must be done every few minutes, and, because the roots are exposed to the air, they will dry out rapidly if the spraying cycles are interrupted.

This system also requires a timer that controls the nutrient pump much like other types of hydroponic systems. The difference is that the aeroponic system needs a short cycle timer that will run the pump once for just a few seconds every two or three minutes.

Are There Any Ready-Made Systems To Make Hydroponic Growing Easy?

Are you interested in hydroponics but not quite ready to build your own system? There are plenty of ready-made ones you can purchase. You really don’t have to spend much money to get started with a simple small scale hydroponic system. If you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, here are some are aquaponic systems, which use fish in the water to help create the nutrients the plants need. If you search online, you will also find countless designs of hydroponic systems that you can build yourself at home. Here is a Pinterest board where you can browse and get inspired.

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