The Plant Kingdom is the foundation of almost every single ecosystem on the face of the Earth. Without plants, there would be no life on Earth.
Animals and humans depend on plants for food. Plants, however, are not held down by the same restrictions. They transmute their food through the process of photosynthesis, requiring only water, C02, and sunlight.
Plants of the Cannabis genus are no exception. But what characteristics identify cannabis? How do the mechanisms of photosynthesis function within the plant itself? These questions are simple but significant. In order to properly grow marijuana, we must first understand how it works, down to each constituent part.
The sum growth of a plant occurs through cell division and cell elongation. The division is when the plant cells split apart and create copies of themselves, while elongation is when the cells expand outwards and become bigger.
The most cell division in a plant occurs at the crown, the tips of the roots, and at the fringes of any leaf nodes. If a plant is growing at all, it means that cell division is occurring in these areas, often at astounding rates. If you had the patience to watch a plant for a day, you could actually see it grow.
New cells created through cell division then undergo cell elongation and absorb water from the xylem and swell up to significantly larger sizes. A healthy plant is cultivated in a well- provided for the environment can easily grow up to 3 inches in a day.
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New cells start out being unspecialized— which means they can grow to meet a variety of needs for the plant, depending on what’s required. For example, a newly divided cell at the end of a petiole might become a leaf cell, one of the building blocks of photosynthesis.
There are many types of cells, which we can organize into groups of tissues. To make things simple, we can divide cells into three primary groups: ground, vascular, and dermal tissues.
Most of the cells of a plant are ground cells, called parenchyma. These are the functional parts of an organism. For example, leaf cells are made up primarily of parenchymal ground cells, with the exception of the stomata and the veins.
The next set of tissues are the cell systems responsible for the transportation of nutrients and water within the plant— vascular tissue. Xylem carries water and minerals up from the roots to the rest of the plant, while phloem carries the products of photosynthesis from the leaves to anywhere else they’re needed. Sugars produced in the leaves, for example, are required for energy in other parts of the plant. Vascular tissue is what makes it all work.
Finally, the external outer layer of plant cells— the dermal tissue. This is the protective layer, which guards against pests, parasites, high heat, and cold.
The dermal tissue includes the cell wall, waxy outer layers, and also the stomata, the locking door mechanisms of the plant, which allow it to breathe in and out, absorbing CO2 and evaporating water.
The marijuana root system
What humans imagine when they think of plants is usually just the tip of the iceberg. With a wild cannabis specimen, for example, only half of it is visible.
Underground, a root system extends tendrils out beneath the visible stem, sometimes reaching the size of the rest of the plant itself. These extensive root systems are what allow plants to survive droughts and dry times, as well as reach out more widely for nutrients in the soil.
The good news— a cultivated, domestic plant can survive with a denser, smaller root system. A cannabis plant will thrive in a pot or hydroponics system, as long as the grower is careful to provide it with all the water, light, and nutrients it requires.
Roots absorb water and nutrients, keep the plant safe in the soil, and store extra nutrients. A healthy root tip is white and covered with tiny hairs. If the tips of your roots are brown, it’s probably an indication of an unhealthy plant. If this is the case, you might want to double-check the soil levels or see if you can find any symptoms of root disease.
Evaporation is the foundation for water and nutrient uptake in a plant. Extra water is evaporated through the stomata in the leaves while, below the ground, water presses up against the roots and creates pressure.
The combination of root pressure below and evaporation above create a suction system in the plant that helps promote the flow of nutrients and water from the bottom to the top. Download my free marijuana grow guide for more information about growing marijuana at this link.