How Do Plants Get Water From the Soil?

Overview

Plants are 70 to 90 percent water. Water is necessary for the plant to grow and produce leaves and flowers. Many plants can survive simply from the rain that has fallen throughout the year, but others will need watering. So, how do plants get the water from the soil in order to thrive? Many different aspects comprise the explanation for plants getting water from the soil.

Soil

Only the soil immediately surrounding the roots is responsible for the plant getting water from the soil. The water does not stay in the plant, however. It moves through the plant from the roots, to the stem and out to the leaves where it evaporates into the atmosphere. The plant itself along with atmospheric conditions and the soil all work together in determining the rates in which the plant takes in water.

Pore Space

Each individual soil particle has water and air surrounding it called pore space. In this space should be half soil and half water and air in equal amounts. This balance enables plants to live without additional watering from the homeowner. Many times this is not the case, however. For instance, if the ground has too much water for an extended period, the roots cannot get enough air since there is too much water in the ground. The same holds true if the soil is dry. There is too much air so the plants cannot get an adequate amount of water.

Watering

Since plants only receive water that is in direct contact with its roots, it is imperative that additional watering is necessary if there are visible signs of stress such as wilting, brown leaves or blooms dying. Plants use more water during the growing season because of the process of the water traveling through the plant instead of storing it.

Aerating

Aerating the ground by loosening the soil helps the ground absorb air and helps the water drain adequately to prevent soggy soils. Adding commercial topsoil to the top layers of the ground helps the ground absorb the needed water.

Considerations

Group plants together by their watering needs. Mixing the watering needs of plants will cause some plants to die for either too much water or too little because of how plants receive their water from the soil.

Keywords: soil, plant, water

About this Author

Cathy McClellan has five years' experience in newsprint as an assistant editor and is a freelance writer. She has 20 years' experience working in the medical field and is currently licensed as a Texas Insurance Representative. She also has many years in home improvement and gardening.