The following is a concise list of information about how plants grow.

  1. It is a common misconception that most of the solid material in a plant is taken from the soil, when in fact almost all of it is actually taken from the atmosphere.
  2. Through a process known as photosynthesis, plants use the energy in sunlight to convert carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into simple sugars.
  3. These sugars are then used as building blocks and form the main structural component of the plant.
  4. Plants rely on soil primarily for water (in quantitative terms), but also obtain nitrogen, phosphorus and other crucial elemental nutrients.
  5. For the majority of plants to grow successfully they also require oxygen in the atmosphere (for respiration in the dark) and oxygen around their roots.
  6. A few specialized vascular plants, such as Mangroves, can however grow with their roots in anoxic conditions.
  7. Some plants grow special defense measures such as the spines on a blackberry
  8. Simple plants like algae may have short life spans as individuals, but their populations are commonly seasonal.
  9. Other plants may be organized according to their seasonal growth pattern.
  10. Annual plants live and reproduce within one growing season.
  11. Biennial plants live for two growing seasons; usually reproduce in second year.
  12. Perennial plants live for many growing seasons; continue to reproduce once mature.
  13. Among the vascular plants, perennials include both evergreens that keep their leaves the entire year, and deciduous plants which lose their leaves for some part.
  14. In temperate and boreal climates, they generally lose their leaves during the winter; many tropical plants lose their leaves during the dry season.
  15. The growth rate of plants is extremely variable. Some mosses grow less than 0.001 mm/h, while most trees grow 0.025-0.250 mm/h.
  16. Some climbing species, such as kudzu, which do not need to produce thick supportive tissue, may grow up to 12.5 mm/h.