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?

Share

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
1 rating

Sunday - November 28, 2010

From: Trenton, NJ
Region: Northeast
Topic: General Botany
Title: Differences in Plant Growth
Answered by: Mike Tomme

QUESTION:

How do plants grow differently?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants loves questions from kids. You guys get right to the point.

How do plants grow differently? Here are some general ways:

Size. Plants can be anything from giant trees to tiny grasses. General size classifications for most plants are:

    Herbs, which include most wildflowers and grasses,

    Shrubs, which we usually call bushes, and

    Trees.

    Other plants may be cacti, ferns or vines.

Light requirement. Some plants love deep shade, others want a full day of bright sun. Most can handle something in between.

Moisture. Some plants grow best with their "feet" wet in swampy conditions. Others do best in dry desert conditions. Again, most do best in between.

Another difference is how long plants live. Some come back year after year. These are called perennials. They may get frozen back every winter, but the roots survive and in the spring they come back and produce flowers and foliage through the spring, summer and fall. Other plants only live a single season. These are called annuals. They complete their life cycle in a single year, a seed sprouts, the plant grows, the plant flowers and produces seeds for next year's crop.

Sometimes, two plants of the same species will grow differently. Usually, this is because they are in different light and moisture conditions, but it may be just differences in individual plants. Just like some people are tall and some are short.

Hope this answers your question.

 

More General Botany Questions

Definition of what constitutes a native plant
January 23, 2007 - Hello, I am doing research concerning "native plants" for the Northeast. I am "befuddled" as I am finding conflicting definitions for what constitutes a native plant. Do you have a good definiti...
view the full question and answer

Seeds of Castilleja purpurea
April 12, 2012 - The seed photo for Castilleja purpurea is incorrect; seeds are black and poppyseed size.
view the full question and answer

Do plants grow better under artificial or natural light?
May 25, 2009 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, So do plants grow better under artificial lights, or sunlight???? and if so what happens when they are growing? Which seedling sprouts first??? What happens as they grow? I a...
view the full question and answer

Use of native non-vascular plants from Pisgah Forest NC
February 11, 2011 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Some of the smartest native plants around to use as horticultural choices don't require any chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides; tolerate extreme weather including ...
view the full question and answer

Why is water used for plants.
February 19, 2008 - Why is water the most popular thing for watering plants if is so plain?
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center