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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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Thursday - February 21, 2008

From: Bennington, NE
Region: Midwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: The most important part of growing plants.
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

In your opinion what is the most important part of growing plants.

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants isn't sure whether you are asking "What is the most important part of a growing plant?" or "What is the most important thing to do for growing a plant?", so I will try to answer both questions.

1. What is the most important part of a growing plant? The answer is that all parts are important and have their particular job to do. The roots are responsible for anchoring the root and holding it in place. They also absorb water and nutrients from the soil to be distributed to the rest of the plant. The stem of the plant supports the leaves and the flowers and serves as a transport for water and nutrients throughout the plant. Stems of some plants also carry out photosynthesis and make food for the plant. The leaves are where most of the photosynthesis occurs to make food for the plant's growth. The leaves also help the plant maintain the proper water balance through openings on their underside called stomata. Finally, the flowers of the plant make pollen to fertilize ovules that are also part of the flowers which will then produce the fruits that contain the seeds to produce the next generation of plants.

2. What is the most important thing to do for growing a plant? The most important thing is to learn what the best growing conditions are for your plant and then try to provide them. For example, some plants like shade, some like partial shade, and others like full sun. Some plants grow best in acidic soil and others grow better in alkaline soil. Some plants can grow outside in temperatures near or below freezing, others start losing leaves when the temperature goes below 40 or 50 degrees F. The amount of water used by a plant is very important. Some desert plants require a very small amount of water and need it very infrequently. If they receive too much water, their roots will rot and they will die. Other plants require that the soil they grow in to be moist at all times.

 

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