The Effect of Water on Plants


Plants need water to start growing, to develop and to survive. Other conditions, such as soil density, also affect how plants grow, but water is essential. It can also be detrimental if too much of it is present.


Water, coupled with the right temperature, is necessary for seed germination to begin. If either is not present, a seed will not start to grow. Water must penetrate the seed coat to start the growth process.


Moist soil is needed as plants develop. It helps the root system draw in nutrients and water to be distributed to the rest of the plant.

Flowers and Fruit

Water is important for plants as they flower and bear fruit. Those activities require more energy than is needed during other life stages. Water plants more when flowers start to bloom and fruit begins to form.


Too much water can stunt the growth of certain plants or even kill them. Specific varieties, such as peonies, do not grow well or at all if water pools around their bases.


Water, even morning dew, can help spread diseases. Educational extension agencies suggest that gardeners not touch wet plants, particularly non-resistant heirlooms, to prevent disease proliferation. Too-wet soil can also encourage the growth of fungi and mold that attack the roots of plants that prefer dryer soils.


  • Washington State University: Seed Germination
  • Roots, Stems and Leaves
  • Colorado State University Cooperative Extension: Guidelines for Watering Indoor Plants
  • University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service: Managing the Greenhouse Environment to Control Plant Diseases
Keywords: plants and water, watering plants, water for plants

About this Author

Joy Brown is a newspaper reporter at "The Courier" and in Findlay, Ohio. She has been writing professionally since 1995, primarily in Findlay and previously at the "Galion (Ohio) Inquirer" and "Toledo City Paper." Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism and history from Miami University.