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

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Friday - February 20, 2009

From: Miami, FL
Region: Southeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: What is more important for plant growth; sunlight, water, soil or what?
Answered by: Jimmy Mills

QUESTION:

What is more important for plant growth generally. Sunlight, water, good soil what ? please write back I need an answer I am 13 doing a science project.

ANSWER:

Generally speaking, there are five basic needs for all living organisms: an energy source, a source of carbon, liquid water, mineral elements, and an appropriate temperature for growth.

Since plants are autotrophs, they can provide their own energy source by using sunlight to combine carbon dioxide with water to form carbohydrates. The mineral elements are usually obtained from the soil. So while all of the factors are important, its hard to say that any one factor is more important than the other.

In the case of hydroponics, we can grow plants in a controlled environment and substitute artificial light for sunlight, and use a nutrient solution in place of soil, but there has  to be water for the plants to grow.

 

 

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