En EspaŅol

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?


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.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
rate this answer
32 ratings

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


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.


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.



More General Botany Questions

Endemic plants for the Edwards Plateau
March 23, 2008 - Thanks so much for the info. it will be very helpful with the boys and we really stress "Leave No Trace Behind". The pictures will be enough. Thanks again!!
view the full question and answer

Definition of a weed
April 22, 2003 - What is your definition of a weed?
view the full question and answer

Difference between Styrax platanifolius and Styrax patanifolius ssp. texanus
November 18, 2011 - What is the difference between a Styrax platanifolius and a Styrax platanifolius texanus?
view the full question and answer

Does music affect sunflower growth from Pentwater MI
January 12, 2010 - Does music affect sunflower growth?
view the full question and answer

Why do sunflowers turn towards the sun?
February 27, 2006 - Why do sunflowers turn towards the sun?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center