How water moves from the roots up to the top

How water moves from the roots up to the top

Picture: You can check how much water there’s left in the bowl by lifting by the handles.

During their long evolutionary history, plants have adapted to various stress factors. For example, plant cells can tolerate much larger variations in water content than animal cells. Nevertheless, water is essential for plants.

No water means no food

Plants normally contain 85–95% water.  Even though plants lose through transpiration nearly all of the water they take up using their roots, they must at all times make sure they have a sufficient amount of water for chemical reactions and nutrient transport. If a plant is unable to get water, it is unable to get nutrients needed for growth.

On the other hand, too much of anything is bad. If the growth medium, for example soil, is completely saturated with water, the roots can’t get oxygen for their cell respiration processes and thus are also unable to get energy.


Water evaporates during photosynthesis

When water transpires, the plant must either draw in more water or start saving it. The amount of transpiration depends on air humidity, temperature and the wind. When cultivating indoors, the dry indoor air can cause a problem for some plants. That’s why it’s not recommended to place your Plantui Smart Garden on a radiator or next to the kitchen stove. The plant uses transpiration to remove excess heat. Water evaporates through the stomata, tiny pores on the leaves, when the plant takes up carbon dioxide from the air. The stomata are usually open during the day and closed during the night, so photosynthesis and transpiration only take place during daytime. If the plant is suffering from a water shortage it will close its stomata to conserve water, but this also prevents the plant’s access to water by stopping the circulation.


Smart ways to fight gravity

Water can travel to great heights inside plants – for example, from the roots to the top of a tall tree. The evaporation of water from the plant’s leaves causes a powerful suction effect inside the plant. As a result, the powers connecting water molecules to each other cause the water inside the plant to rise up. At the same time, root pressure pushes the water upwards. Water pressure helps even fragile herbaceous plants stay upright. This is why plants wilt if they do not get enough water.


Pipelines and other gear built by Mother Nature

Water and any dissolved substances, such as nutrients, travel inside the plant in the wood tissue, also known as xylem. Xylem consists of the plant’s dead tissue, which forms a continuous pipeline that allows capillary action to lift water through the entire plant from the roots to the leaves.  Some of the transport cells are, however, alive and capable of controlling the transport process. When you think of it, the whole system works like those smart baggage handling conveyors in the airports.  Plus, solely on light energy. How cool is that?

Here’s an extra tip to speed up germination: When starting a new round, put three spoonfuls of Plantui nutrients in the bowl. Then add three litres of warm water (not hot!), until the three-litres-sign.


Additional material:   Water Uptake and Transport in Vascular Plants