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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Tuesday - February 19, 2008

From: Bennington, NE
Region: Midwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Why is water used for plants.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Why is water the most popular thing for watering plants if is so plain?

ANSWER:

Water isn't a popular thing for plants, it is a NECESSITY. Plants, like all living things, are made of cells, and cells require water to function. Water is also necessary to carry out photosynthesis, the process by which plants make food from sunlight and water. Water is also involved in maintaining the plant's structure. When plants don't have enough water the cells collapse and the plants wilt (see the answer to a previous question for more information) and my ultimately die. Water is not only necessary in itself, it also carries vital plant nutrients (for example, nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and postassium (K)) to the roots of a plant.

So, you see, plants absolutely NEED water. Water taken up by plants may contain other substances like the nutrients listed above. Some people water their plants with a liquid fertilizer—water with added nutrients—and this may make the plant grow faster or larger, but the water itself is a necessity. Without water plants would die.

 

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