What does it take to grow a plant

If you have just entered the world of gardening and would like to start having your own germinated plants, you will have to buy a series of things so that the experience is very rewarding and that your vegetables can have a good development.

So, let’s see what it takes to grow healthy and strong plants.

For a plant to grow properly it needs light, air, fertile soil, and water. Only with this, you will be able to have in a short time a splendid terrace, or an orchard that will give you many fruits. Taking this into account, what you have to acquire if you do not already have it in the following:


The seeds have to be sown in seedbeds

If you intend to sow seeds and watch them grow (remember that sowing is not the same as planting ), you are going to need something to serve as a seedbed. This can be seedling trays , such as those used to grow edible plants, or forest trays , which are those whose alveoli have a greater depth.

Other equally useful seedbeds are, for example , pots , provided they have holes in their base, or peat (or Jiffy) tablets . The latter are very interesting, because not only do they come in different sizes, but they are also biodegradable. This means that it can be buried in the ground, without having to remove the plant from the pill, and over time it will dislike without causing any harm to the plant or the environment.


Once the newly germinated plants reach a height of about 5-10cm, you will need to transfer them to individual pots so they can continue to grow. It is necessary that they have holes in their base, because really the only ones that can be in pots without holes are aquatic ones , the rest are not. In fact, it would not be a good idea to choose to put a plate under them, although there are exceptions:

  • There are certain carnivores, like the Sarracenia , that can have it. Moreover, during the summer it is almost mandatory, as they consume a lot of water, which has to be distilled or rain.
  • The same goes for some palm trees. For example, the Archontophoenix do not mind having a dish with water during the summer season if the temperatures are high (30ºC or more).
  • The Japanese maples that are grown in the Mediterranean, due to the high temperatures that they reach in August, also appreciate it. Of course, with them you have to be more careful and avoid that the plate is always full of water. What I do, for example, is water from above, that is, wetting the earth, controlling the amount of water that I add so that only a little bit of water ends up in the dish.

But when in doubt, it is always better not to put it. It is better prevent.


The arable land must be adequate

Image – Wikimedia / MerileyR

Depending on the plant you grow, you may need one type of soil or another. Therefore, depending on whether it is to be kept in a pot or on the ground, the following must be taken into account:

Potting substrate

There is no ideal substrate for all types of crops , since they all have specific needs of their species; That is, for example the plants that we know as acidic, will be able to grow well in those substrates with a low pH, between 4 and 6, because if they were in one with a pH of 7 or higher, they would end up with iron chlorosis due to the lack of iron.

Something similar happens with orchids, as they are also generally acidic plants. But it must also be taken into account that many, such as Phalaenopsis, are epiphytes , that is, they grow on the branches of other plants. For this reason, its substrate will not be peat, but pine bark since it will be this that allows the roots to have good growth.

On the other hand, we have succulents and the like . Cacti, succulents, shrubs and succulent trees… They are all very, very sensitive to overwatering. They grow in sandy soils with excellent drainage, so if they are kept in pots it is advisable to make mixtures , for example:

  • Black peat with 50% perlite.
  • Akadama with 50% cheek.


Depending on the type of soil we have in the garden or orchard, we can grow some plants or others. Therefore, we have to know the time of land we have , and for this we can take a sample and take it to analyze, or by doing the following:

  1. Take a sample.
  2. Dampen it (but not soak it).
  3. Take it again.
  4. Squeeze it and release it.

Now any of these things can happen:

  • If it falls apart completely, you have a sandy soil.
  • If it maintains its shape, it is clay.
  • If it falls apart a bit but holds its shape, it is a silty or intermediate soil.

The next step will be to know its pH , because in this way you will really know what plants you can have. For this, it will be enough for you to get a soil pH meter, and insert it into the soil. You will instantly see that it tells you.

Remember that:

  • If it is less than 6.5, it is an acid soil. 
  • If it is 6.6 to 7.5 it is a neutral ground.
  • If it is 7.6 or more it is an alkaline soil.

Irrigation system

There are many types of irrigation systems for growing plants

It is very important to water the plants. Water is essential for life, so we cannot neglect irrigation. For this you can use a watering can , but make sure that it incorporates the »artichoke» (where the water comes out). Another way to water your plants is by installing (or making) a drip irrigation system , or with a hose.

Make sure that, when watering, the water moistens the entire substrate or soil well . If you see that it is not absorbed, if you have them in the pot, take it and put it in a basin of water for half an hour, so that the earth softens and recovers its absorption capacity; If, on the other hand, it is on the ground, with an aerator you will be able to pierce the ground a little, facilitating the drainage of the water.


Compost is very necessary for plants, except for carnivores. Throughout the growing season – spring and summer – you will have to fertilize them from time to time so that they do not lack anything . And it is that they require nutrients to perform their vital functions, such as breathing, photosynthesis, growing or flourishing.

Today in the market it is possible to find fertilizers for almost any type of plant. These are normally ready for application, although if you acquire the water-soluble ones, you will have to dissolve the dose that you will see indicated on the container in said liquid before anything else. Now, if you prefer to practice organic gardening or farming, don’t hesitate to use organic fertilizers .

Guano, manure, humus, compost … All these fertilizers are completely natural and do not harm the environment at all. 

Insecticides and fungicides

Copper sulphate

Image – Ecological Alternative

In the event that your plants get sick, you will have to treat them with insecticides and / or fungicides , depending on whether they are weak as a result of pests, or due to a fungal infection. These products can be synthetic (chemical), or natural , such as Neem Oil or copper.

If you are going to use chemical products, use at least protective gloves (better if they are made of rubber). In addition, it is important that they be used on days with good weather, without wind. Likewise, they have to be applied at dusk , when the plant to be treated no longer receives direct sunlight, otherwise it would burn.

Once you have all this, you can start growing your plants.

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