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Survival Patterns in Plants: Water, Air, Sunlight and Soil

Aug 19, 2022

Key Concepts

  • Plants survival needs
  • Water
  • Air
  • Sunlight
  • Soil


Can a plant survive on the same food as people? If not, what are the different things a plant needs to survive?   

Plants have four basic survival needs: 

  • Water 
  • Air 
  • Sunlight 
  • Soil 
Plant needs 

All the plants require space to grow, the right temperature, light, water, air, and nutrients. These factors affect the growth of the plant most. 


Four things that a plant needs to grow: 


The plant needs water to survive. Humans are made up of approximately 70% water, but plants are closer to 90% water, and without water, plants become stressed and die.  

Water for plants 

Water is essential for plants as it helps in seed germination and absorption of nutrients. It nourishes the plants and hydrates them.  

Water breaks down and dissolves the minerals in the soil. When plants absorb water through their roots, they transport nutrients into cells. 

Water affecting plants 

What do you observe in the picture below?  


The plant (A) looks wilted, whereas the plant on the right (B) looks healthy. Too little water can cause a plant to wilt or droop. 

Plants absorbing water 

Plants absorb water from the soil through their roots.  


The water flows upward through the plant to the leaves, carrying nutrients to all plant parts where they are needed.  

They store water and food for future use. 

Plants absorbing water 


Just like we need air, plants need air too! Plants use air to make food, and plants without air will die.  

Air is vital to plant growth and survival.  

Plants need fresh air to grow and dispose of their waste.  

Air for plants


Plants get their energy from the Sun. Plants cannot eat food like us. They use solar energy to make their food. Plants always grow towards the sunlight.  

Without the Sun, plants cannot get the food they need to grow, reproduce, and survive. 

 Sunlight for plants 

The Sun’s light energy provides the much-needed nutrients to plants that help in the growth of plants. The light from the Sun is an important part of stimulating the growth of any plant, be it in the desert or forest. 

A plant that does not get light energy becomes weak and dies. 

 Plant without sunlight 


The soil gives stability to the plants, and it also stores the water and nutrients that the plant can take up through their roots.  

Soil for plants 

Plants grow in fertile and nutrient-rich soil. Depending on their habitat, different plants require different soil types to grow.  

Each soil type differs in its nutrient content. 

For example, a cactus grows well in sandy soil.  

Cactus plant 


Aster flowers grow well in clay soil. 

Aster flowers 


  • Plants have four basic survival needs; water, air, sunlight, and soil.  
  • The plant needs water to survive. 
  • Roots absorb water and nutrients from the soil.  
  • Plants need fresh air to grow and dispose of their waste.   
  • Plants cannot eat food like us. They use solar energy to make their food. 
  • Plants grow in fertile and nutrient-rich soil. 


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