Like humans and animals, plants require oxygen in order to survive. Through a process called aerobic respiration, plants are able to utilize the energy they obtain from the sun, which allows for healthy growth and development.
Aerobic respiration is the process by which plants take the energy they obtain during photosynthesis and transform it into usable energy. Unlike anaerobic respiration and fermentation, which also utilize plant energy, aerobic respiration requires oxygen in order to take place.
The respiration process is essentially the opposite of photosynthesis. Plants take the sugars they have obtained through photosynthesis and convert them into carbon dioxide. Unlike photosynthesis, aerobic respiration can occur without light.
Plants need oxygen in order to undergo aerobic respiration. This is where quality soil and good cultural practices play an important role. Overwatered plants or compacted soils will not allow the plant roots to access oxygen, resulting in stunted growth or even plant death.