What Do Plants Need To Grow And Survive? [2022 Guide!]

Are you wondering, What Do Plants Need To Grow And Survive? Here is a quick and easy guide to keeping your plants happy and healthy!

Whether you’re a budding gardener or an experienced horticulturist, sometimes it’s easy to forget that plants aren’t simply magical creatures that seem to grow out of a tiny seed using nothing but their own power and a little water.

Plants are living things, and like all living things they have several important needs that can dictate their ability to survive and grow, and this is one of the key reasons why you will often see different plants in different parts of the world!

This is because plants have adapted to their specific environment and have learned how to cater to their needs based on what their environment provides them with.

While some plants such as cacti are very good at working with very little in one of their needs, they’re often excellent at making use of more abundant resources they have available in their environment.

There are several key factors that can affect your plant’s growth, whether it’s a sapling or a house plant, and even just one of these needs not being met can severely affect your plant’s health and growth which will ultimately slow down its progress and threaten its long term survival.


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In this guide, we’re going to look at the five key essentials that all plants need, and look at each of these in more detail to give you a better understanding of why these different needs are so important to a plant’s health.

But without further introduction let’s look at what plants actually need.

What Do Plants Need?

There are five key things plants need to survive;

  • Light
  • Air
  • Water
  • Nutrients
  • Space

Each of these is as important as the other and a reduction of loss of one of these resources will have a massively detrimental impact on your plant.

It’s also difficult to balance these as different plants have slightly different needs and there are also other variables that play into this balance such as the climate, seasonal changes as well as pests, and overcrowding.


Light is one of the most critically important things that all plants need, regardless of where in the world they live. Even plants that live in the ocean still require access to sunlight, and while not all plants need the same amount of light to thrive, it’s a simple truth that without it all plant life, and thus all other forms of life would be doomed without it.

Usually, plants rely on light from the sun to thrive, and they use this light to make glucose which they use as their primary source of energy.

Some plants can use artificial light to produce this sugar, and this is becoming more common with modern farming and growing techniques.

Purchase indoor artificial light to expose your young seedlings for a longer duration of hours!

What Do Plants Need To Grow And Survive

Plants use glucose in a cell within their leaves known as the chloroplast, which is the cell that contains chlorophyll, which gives leaves their green colouration. This is what helps the plant to absorb light.

If a plant doesn’t get enough light it will stop growing or only grow very slowly as it lacks the basic energy it needs to thrive. On the other hand, too much light can cause the plant to dry out, including the soil it lives in.

Note– If you want to make your green fingers happier and your life easier, you can use this affordable 83 pieces ultimate gardening set to help you garden like a pro!


While not all living things need air, plants need some amount of it in order to survive. 

Plants use carbon dioxide, combined with water to create glucose and oxygen. They use the glucose to grow and repair themselves and expel the oxygen as waste, which thankfully, humans and other animals rely on to breathe and survive. This process is known as photosynthesis and is one of the most essential processes to all life on earth.

Plants don’t only absorb carbon dioxide, however, and also use oxygen in smaller amounts to respire, which is how they break down their glucose into usable energy


Watering Plants

Water is a key element of photosynthesis and without it plants would not be able to live.

Water is most often absorbed from the soil via the roots of the plant, however, there are water-based plants that can do things slightly differently.

The universal constant is that water is essential for their survival.

Plants that don’t get enough water will be easy to spot as they will start to wilt and droop, eventually dying.

You might want to consider purchasing automatic garden sprinklers and drip irrigation to ease up your plants watering needs.

What Do Plants Need To Grow And Survive

However, plants can also drown in too much water as their roots will rot which robs them of their means to take water on board. Different plants have different water needs, and getting this wrong is where a lot of people go wrong.


Nutrients are the additional key elements to a plant’s survival, and they are what helps nourish a plant. Certain nutrients such as nitrogen and potassium are particularly important to most plant life, as well as phosphorus. 

These nutrients are usually absorbed in the roots with the water which they are dissolved within. Sometimes soil becomes poor or runs out of nutrients which makes it less capable of supporting plant life, which is why modern farmers rely on fertilizers and crop rotation to help keep the soil full of nutrients.

Other areas such as rainforests get their nutrients from the dead and decaying animals and plant life which is reabsorbed into the soil to create nutrients.

Offer your plants organic compost/fertilizers for better plant and root growth!

What Do Plants Need To Grow And Survive

Farming can’t benefit from this as the fields are picked clean and are unable to benefit from the reabsorbed nutrients.


A lesser-known but no less important aspect of plant care is space! But if you are wondering, what do plants need to grow and survive, this is a crucial aspect to your plants’ survival!

No, we’re not talking about the place where the astronauts go, but enough physical room to grow and thrive.

Overcrowding and competition are lethal to plants and can result in a lack of biodiversity in an area.

Plants have to compete for everything from nutrients to water and sunlight, and too much competition can seriously hamper their growth and survival.

Consider getting this guide on optimal plant spacing for better plants and better harvests!

What Do Plants Need To Grow And Survive

One of the adaptations that display this is plants and trees’ tendency to learn where sunlight is strongest in the day and grow towards this, giving most plants a distinct lean towards their best sources of energy.

Well, there you have it, all the answers to your question, What Do Plants Need To Grow And Survive? Hopefully, that helped but if you want more info, we found you a video below!

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