How is the nutrition of the plants?

Plant nutrition is complex

Plants, as living beings, need to feedand for this it is essential that they have a certain amount of water, light and air, as well as nutrients that their roots will absorb from the earth. The way they do it is very different from how we humans do it, but that is precisely why they never cease to amaze us.

Unlike us, they always stay in the same place: where the seed fell and germinated. So they manage to nourish themselves without having the ability to move. The question is, How is the nutrition of the plants? Different, yes, but… what are its phases? We will explain it to you in detail below so that you can learn more about them.

How do plants make their own food?

Everything starts with the roots. They absorb water and nutrients from the soil, and as a result plants can make their food as long as they have light and air. This they are doing uninterruptedly; Not surprisingly, it is these processes that keep them alive. Now, to understand it better, we have to know that plant nutrition is divided into four stages:

  • Nutrient absorption
  • Photosynthesis
  • Breathing
  • Perspiration

Stages of plant nutrition

Each of the parts of the plants fulfill their function, and many are involved in the food manufacturing process.

Water and salt absorption

The roots absorb water and salts

Roots absorb water and salts

The absorption of water (H2O) and salts is a function carried out by the roots. These, regardless of whether they grow underground, in water or climbing on tree branches, are always looking for moisture and / or salts. When they find them, they absorb them and send them to the leaves through the woody vessels (the xylem) that they have inside.

This substance is what we know as raw sap, and it is what will later become food for plants.


Photosynthesis is essential for plantsPhotosynthesis is essential for plants

Image – Wikimedia / Yuleidycab

La photosynthesis it is the next process of plant nutrition. As its name suggests, plants need light to be able to carry it out, so they only do it during the day. So that, once the raw sap has reached the leaves, it combines with the carbon dioxide (CO2) that has been previously absorbed through the stomata (the pores that we see in the foliage), giving rise to the elaborated sap: the food they need to grow.

This will be transported by the Liberian vessels (the phloem) until it reaches all parts of the plants, helping the cells to remain active and functioning properly.

As a result of photosynthesis, release a gas that we all depend on: oxygen (O2).


Plants breathe, day and night, and They do it by taking oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide. For this reason, it has come to be thought, and in fact it is a deeply ingrained belief today, that you should not have flowerpots in the bedroom as they could “steal” our oxygen.

But for us to have problems with them we would have to put many, many plants in the room, to the point that more than a bedroom we would end up having a jungle, which no one would do. For one or two plants that accompany you while you dream, nothing will happen to you. They need a very small amount of oxygen.

And there’s more: thanks to a study called NASA Clean Air Study, NASA scientists discovered that there are some plants commonly grown indoors that purify the aireliminating toxic agents such as benzene or formaldehyde.


Related article:

INFOGRAPHIC: The 18 Best Indoor Plants for Purifying the Air, According to NASA


Lastly, we have perspiration. To live you have to breathe, and during the process it is inevitable to lose water. Also, if it is very hot, it is normal that more is lost than when it is cooler. Well then, plants do this by releasing water in the form of vapor.

If it is the case that the roots absorb the amount of water they need, nothing will happen: its leaves will remain green and the flowers intact; but if not, some of these cases could occur:

  • They absorb less water than necessary: ​​the leaves will begin to turn brown, that is, to dry out.
  • They absorb more water than necessary: ​​unless the soil is able to drain it quickly, the plant could end up drowning.

What is the role of plant nutrition?

Flowers are produced thanks to the nutrition of plants

The flowers are produced thanks to the nutrition of the plants

Basically, keep them alive. By being able to nourish themselves, they can grow, flourish, and produce fruit (bear fruit). These are the vital functions of plants. But if there is something wrong, for example, if they receive more water than necessary, or if they live in conditions that are not suitable for them, they will not be able to be well.

For example, during an extreme weather event, such as a drought that lasts for weeks or months, the soil remains so dry and so hot that growth is zero. Some species, like many tree aloes such as Aloidendron dichotomum (before aloe dichotoma) in these conditions choose to sacrifice entire branches. The reason is simple: fewer branches, less water use.

In cultivation, however, they do not have to face such problems, or not always. Humans take care of them, we provide them with water and food, sometimes too much, to the point that excessive pampering can make them very vulnerable to attack by insects that quickly become pests. Thus, if we go overboard with nitrogen, which is a nutrient that stimulates their growth, it is normal for them to weaken over time.

For this reason, and to finish, I insist a lot that make good use of manures and fertilizers. Read the labels, follow the directions, and don’t abuse them. Only then will we have healthy and beautiful plants and flowers.

What’s more, if you can, prioritize the use of products suitable for organic farming, since they are the ones that will get you the most benefits, without harming the environment.

How is the nutrition of the plants?

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