What Does A Plant Need To Survive

Plants develop in their natural environment, surrounded by everything they require. However, when we design a garden, we ensure that we offer plants with all they require to thrive.

To exist, humans require food, water, and air, and plants, like us, have specific requirements. Plants are similar as they take essential ingredients into protein, carbohydrates, lipids, and even their hormones, enzymes, and colorants.

Plants require regular supplies of raw materials, and should one of these run out, you’ll observe things such as poor growth, poor yields, and fewer blooms.

A significant element to having an excellent growing environment is to keep plants supplied with everything they require. Unfortunately, not everyone has a natural green thumb and knows what plants need to grow.

growing plant seed

In our guide, you can learn what a plant needs to survive and grow? But, of course, there is more than just air, water, and nutrients, and by the end of this guide, you’ll have all the information you need to ensure your garden environment has all it needs for your plant’s health. (Learn How Soon Can You Plant After Using Roundup)

What do plants do to survive?

Like all living organisms, plants require fundamental necessities such as food, water, a place to dwell, air, and the right temperature to grow and reproduce.

These requirements are light, air, water, and nutrients for most plants (known by the acronym LAWN).

For indoor plants, it will be the responsibility of the indoor gardener to ensure they receive these in the right amounts. However, in the garden, nature will deliver these on most occasions.

What Are 7 Things Plants Need To Survive?

Here are the main things you need to ensure your plants have the correct amounts for healthy growth.

big space to grow

Space to Grow

All plants prefer enough space to expand. This is because the plant’s above-ground parts require space for the leaves to expand and perform their function of producing nourishment.

Roots, too, require space to expand. Plants grown in limited places will have their roots crowded, resulting in less growth.


Most plants like temperatures similar to those enjoyed by most people. Some may prefer warmer temperatures, while others prefer lower temperatures for optimal growth.

Knowing where plants originate can help you make them feel more at ease. For example, most plants prefer colder temperatures at night and avoid being in drafty areas.


Direct sunlight provides most of the light required by plants. They may, however, grow under an artificial light source. Light energy is used to produce glucose, a sugar, which they convert into energy.

The chloroplast is a component of a plant’s leaf cell that produces glucose. Chlorophyll is a green pigment found in chloroplast and handles the plant’s ability to absorb light energy.

Bright Light

If a plant doesn’t receive enough sunlight, it grows slowly. However, too much light can lead to dry soil and dried leaves.

Different plants come with different light requirements. You’ll find some like direct light, and others live in dimmer or indirect light. (Learn How To Plant Succulents In Pots Without Drainage Holes)


Photosynthesis requires water, which is absorbed by the roots and transported to the chloroplasts in the leaves. Water helps with nutrient uptake by plants, and a lack of water causes wilting or drooping. On the other hand, overwatering plants can damage plant roots and lead to root rot.

Most plants prefer somewhat dry soil, and when watering, use sufficient water to have the water flow from the drainage hole in the bottom of the container’s drainage hole.


Air is full of gases. They are nitrogen, oxygen, CO2 (Carbon Dioxide), and H2O (Water vapor).

Light mixes carbon dioxide and water to generate glucose and oxygen through photosynthesis.

Plants take in oxygen from the air, and plants, like mammals, require oxygen to live. During respiration, substances like glucose are broken down for energy.


A nutrient is a plant’s food, and for most, essential nutrients are nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Such nutrients are absorbed when dissolved in water. Therefore, fertilizers can help deliver nutrients they require helping bolster their growth.

Above-ground growth uses nitrogen, and why plants are dark green. Phosphorous supports plant cell division and aids in flower and seed production and a plant’s roots growing strong. Potassium prevents illness and strengthens stems.

hour glass


Plants need time to grow, even though some develop slower than others. Therefore, making plants bloom or fruit at specific times can be challenging. Outdoor plants need a set number of days to blossom or fruit, although you can time plants to bloom or bear fruits at specific times after planting.

What Does a Plant Need?

Here you can see what plants need to survive and grow and why.

Why do plants need water?

Water, which is 90% of plants, behaves like blood and flows around all parts of a plant. Water is drawn up by wall root hairs and evaporated by leaves. From here, carbon dioxide enters as water evaporates. The plants absorb minerals and nutrients from the water entering the root system.

Faster growing plants require more water, and any plant in hotter, drier weather will need more water. However, sometimes a plant’s water needs exceed its capacity, which often happens when it’s too hot, or the roots and surrounding soil are too dry. During such time, a plant grows slowly, and its leaves wilt.

As leaves droop, your plant needs immediate treatment. Otherwise, your plant will die. However, normal growth will continue as the temperature drops, and the plant can gather water with water pressure back to normal.

That’s why newly planted plants need constant watering. Do that until their roots are established in the soil, and they can absorb water and nutrients from the soil on their own

Why do plants need light?

As humans, we require energy to grow, and eating provides us with energy. Plants, like humans, require energy to grow, which they get from light. (Learn How Far To Space Tomato Plants)

Different plants require varying light levels, and you can find many require more than others. Some plants grow under low light conditions and are often houseplants, ferns, or tropical plants growing naturally under tree canopies.

Our home’s indoor conditions are nearly identical to those of a tropical jungle, as the amount of shade and temperature.

Some plants require a lot of direct sunlight. They grow leggy and weak if they don’t get enough light. So provide seedlings with sufficient light as well as if you grow vegetables.


Plants develop, and some adapt to varied conditions. You find them anywhere, yet there are temperature variances, and the same plants won’t grow in the same places everywhere. So, for example, we will need greenhouses or conservatories for some exotic species of plants native to other regions and can’t survive such temperature differences.

Warmth is required for plants to germinate. The expressions “soil warmth” and “when the soil has warmed” may be familiar to you.

When the temperature drops, the cells slow down, and growth and metabolism slow down. Plants native to places or settings with sub-freezing winters survive by going dormant. Warmer weather reawakens them, and they resume vegetative growth.

What Does Soil Offer?

Many commercial growers now use hydroponics to grow without soil. However, while plants can grow without soil, they can’t grow without what soil provides.

Plants grow in soil, and it is here the plants’ roots get nutrients, minerals, and non-minerals. But a plant’s ability to absorb nutrients depends on soil composition. Its sand, clay, and organic matter content can affect this.

The optimal soil composition has sand, clay, and organic matter, affecting water retention and nutrient availability. In addition, it supports and anchors roots as they grow. Plants need roots to absorb moisture and chemical elements such as nutrients from the soil. Soil also allows roots to breathe as they get oxygen from tiny soil particles.

Why Plants Need Air?

Here are the two main reasons why plants need air:

Above the ground

Plants require oxygen and carbon from the air. This is for photosynthesizing (the process of how plants grow).

Below the ground

Your plant will need air to live, which they get from the tiny air spaces.

Good soil drainage allows air to reach the roots and prevents root failure, and if plants can’t function properly, the roots fail to absorb water and nutrients. As a result, plant stress is often caused by root loss.

Why Plants Need Space and Time?

Growing plants take up a lot of space. They require room to grow. Plants can grow stunted or tiny due to lack of space. Overcrowded plants are more prone to disease. 

Last, plants require time to grow as plants don’t grow overnight. Most of them require days, months, or even years to produce flowers and bear fruit.

What Are The 3 Basic Necessities Of Plants?

Plant nutrition is more than just adding water and letting the plant do the rest. Some plants, including air plants, can be grown without soil.

Soil plants require three nutrients and three micronutrients that support them.

A plant’s essential nutrients are:

  • Nitrogen: Nitrogen helps plants with chlorophyll production, giving leaves a green hue. More nitrogen means greener leaves. Less makes the leaves pallid.
  • Potassium helps plants battle plant disease and repel insects by strengthening the plant’s roots and retaining water.
  • Phosphorus: Phosphorus gives plants vigor and aids in blossoming. Outdoor plants benefit from phosphorus in plant fertilizers to withstand weather stresses, including frost, ice, and snow.

Most soils start with these nutrients. However, they eventually run out of nutrients, and a soil-plant can only receive these nutrients by eating fertilizer.

  • Calcium & Magnesium: Plants receive calcium and magnesium from water. Calcium is used to connect plant tissues.
  • Sulfur: Aids in disease resistance.

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