Plant growth is a fundamental process of the life of plants just like in other living things. It represents the synthesis of new a living material. In fact without a sign of growth there is no life.
In order to grow, plants require the basic building-block molecules to create new cell walls, cytoplasm, and other cell parts. The plant organs function to supply the necessary ingredients and energy for growth.
However, what controls the growth of a plant? Very important question indeed. Typically, individual plants of the same species have tremendous variations in growth and reproduction rates. You may have noticed the differences in size of vegetables at the supermarket – that’s nature.
In nature, wide variations in weight or number of seeds can easily be found. Therefore, the various sizes of plants shouldn’t be a surprise at all. But, what causes these differences?
Time Patterns of Plants
Plants pass through two phases of growth: vegetative and reproductive.
Vegetative growth increases the size of the root and shoot of the plant. In the sexually reproducing phase, the flower, fruit, and seed are produced. Together, the two phases comprise the life history of a plant.
Seed plants typically pass through the following stages of their life history.
Plants that pass through all of these stages in a single growing season are called annuals. The growing season may be many months or only a few weeks long.
Many weeds, wildflowers, garden flowers, and vegetables are annuals. In general, annuals are herbaceous plants that produce many small seeds.
The dormant Seeds represent next year’s crop of plants.
A biennial is a plant that lives for two growing seasons. The vegetative phase occurs during the first season as the seed germinates and produces leaves and roots. The reproductive phase occurs during the second season when the plant pollinates, fertilizes, flowers, and also produces seeds. Biennials are mostly herbaceous. Often biennials store food from one growing season to the next in fleshy stems or roots. Carrots, beets, celery, and cabbage are biennials.
A perennial is a plant in which the vegetative structures live year after year. Perennials may be either woody or herbaceous. Herbaceous perennials often grow from bulbs or rhizomes. Some garden perennials are peonies, irises, and roses. Woody perennials like shrubs and trees flower only when they become adult plants.
Plant activities are timed to correspond to environmental cues. It may help to think of a play in which an actor listens for a cue to speak the correct line at the appropriate time. Without the cue, the play would not make sense.
Similarly, stages in the life of a plant must occur at an appropriate time for the plant to grow and reproduce in a proper way.
Plants have characteristic patterns of growth. They grow into the air and into the soil, forming various types of root systems, flowers, and leaves. A plant’s form varies according to the amount of light and moisture it receives.
The overall form of a plant is the result of cell growth and development. Plant cells go through three fairly distinct growth phases that we should know.
First, new cells are formed by mitosis and cell division. Second, the newly formed cells then increase in size (many types of cells enlarge by getting longer, a process called elongation). The third phase consists of cells becoming specialized, or mature, by the process of differentiation.
The same sequence of phases occurs in all growing parts of a plant and is very important if the plant has to grow properly and have distinctive characteristics.
It is important that before we plant, we actually understand the type of plant/ seed that we are going with. This will play a crucial role in determining the type of climate, soil moisture, soil texture, and temperatures that we will require. It will also determine how long the plant will take o germinate, through to maturity.