En EspaŅol
Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Mr. Smarty Plants - Differences in Plant Growth

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

The Designation of Annual and Perennial Plants
July 25, 2014 - Sometimes when researching a plant I will find it listed as both annual and perennial. I understand that some plants will be perennial in a warm climate and die in a colder zone, but it is still a per...
view the full question and answer

Comments on article in Austin paper
January 22, 2012 - Why can't we comment on your piece in the Statesman? It says no comments possible at the bottom.
view the full question and answer

Withering plants recover with water
February 17, 2008 - Why do withering plants stand up when you give them water?
view the full question and answer

Which one is huajillo and which one is guajillo?
November 19, 2013 - Recently I attended a field trip to the Leonard Garden at the Kleberg Institute in Kingsville. I took a picture of a tree that was referred to as Tenaza or huajillo. Later I took another photo of a ...
view the full question and answer

Beans growing under artificial light from Vernon CT
May 04, 2012 - What bean plant will grow the best under a flourescent,spot gro light,green transparent light,or Natural light and why.What caused it to grow like it did?
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