Describe 5 environmental factors(physical & chemical) that affect the growth rate of plants. Give an example of how they do so?

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justaguide eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some of the environmental factors that affect the growth rate of plants include:

  • Availability of water: Plants need water to produce food and organic compounds that are used to make up their bodily structures. In the absence of water, the growth rate of plants slows down substantially. This can be seen by the small size of plants that grow in deserts where there is a very limited availability of water.
  • Availability of sunlight: Photosynthesis which is the reaction by which plants convert water and carbon dioxide to carbohydrates requires energy that in the form of sunlight. If plants receive a limited amount of sunlight their growth rate is decreased. This is evident from the fact that in summer plants grow at a much faster rate than they do in winter.
  • Availability of other essential nutrients: For cellular processes to go on in plants nutrients like nitrogen compounds, phosphorus, calcium, etc. are essential. Plant growth is much faster when they are available in an adequate amount. This is one of the reasons fertilizers are used.
  • Temperature of the environment: Plants grow at their ideal rate in a narrow temperature range. If it gets too cold or too warm, the rate of growth is affected.
  • Time of the year: Plants have a biological clock that regulates their growth. During particular months they grow at a faster rate than during the other months.