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

Cold hardiness zones for plants from Jackson MS
October 02, 2010 - How to search the plant database by cold-hardiness zone? Is it possible to do combination search by zone (not just state?) With the information provided with plant, I do not see the zone listed. Ma...
view the full question and answer

Phytoremediation Plant List for St. Louis MO
April 19, 2012 - My goal is to transform urban blight plots (some up to 1/4 acre) into viable community gardens having healthy, living soil as their foundation. To this end I am researching phytoremediation (thanks...
view the full question and answer

Where do snake herb and skeleton-leaf goldeneye get their names?
October 05, 2014 - Dear Mr. Smarty Plants, Where does snake herb, and skeleton leaf goldeneye get their names from? Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Why plants grow in very hot or very cold areas from Edison NJ
October 06, 2013 - Why can some plants grow where very cold or very hot?
view the full question and answer

Process of transpiration in plants
November 21, 2005 - I'm in 6th grade and I have a science project to do and the question is, Do living plants give off moisture. The first part of my project is to explain how living plants give off moisture. I've chec...
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