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Plant Hormones

Gardening Tips

Did you know that nature works more like a clockwork rather than coincidences? In nature, when something happens, it happened for a reason and that reason is the next reason for something else to happen. For example, the first apple that falls off the tree fell for a reason. It actually decomposes and releases a hormone that makes other apples that are still on the tree to do the same. The smell of the decomposing apples on the ground will attract animals to it. The animals will then eat them for themselves and the seeds of the plant will finally be spread. Amazing, isn’t it? It’s a real team effort. So what is it about them that makes them work like a clockwork? It’s like they have a communication chain or something! Well, the answer to that question is one word: Hormones.
As a grower, understanding hormones can be very useful as you can use the knowledge to your advantage. From being a seed and growing roots to finally flowering and creating fruits, most if not all of the plant’s actions is controlled by hormones. They get signals from its environment and it triggers the production of these hormones. They are located and produced on the endoplasmic reticulum in the plant cell and is then transported to all of the parts. These hormones then are the reasons why plants do something, it is a reaction to their environment and understanding them can help in knowing how to take care of a plant.
In general, the hormones of the plant can be separated into 5 classes. They are separated based on their chemical makeup and what they are for. They are abscisic acid, auxins, cytokinins, gibberellins, and ethylene. We’re going to describe them more in detail so if you want to know more for the sake of your plants then keep on reading!
Let’s start with the Abscisic Acid!
To put it simply, Abscisic Acid is the natural timer of a plant. This hormone group is stored and built up in developing seeds. The reason for this is that once the seed falls to the ground, the abscisic acid dissipates slowly which acts like the timer of the seed. This is especially important in cold weather because if the seeds break down and starts growing amidst the harsh and cold environment, they will die early. The amount of abscisic acid will determine the speed of the seed’s breakdown. Additionally, this hormone also helps in regulating the respiration process of plants during drought periods. They can be produced by the plant to change its potassium and sodium levels which closes down the stomata effectively saving water to survive the weather.
Next up, we have the Auxins!
Auxins are the root-shoot and fruit regulators. They control the ability of the cells (of the plant) to stretch out further as high levels of auxins can cause plasticity in the cell wall. This means that it allows bigger fruits to happen as the cells grow bigger which creates bigger organs. Additionally, auxins are responsible for the plant to go towards the light which is called phototropism. They are able to do this by telling which cells to grow and elongate to a specific direction.
Next, on the list is Cytokinins!
Cytokinins and Auxins work hand-in-hand together like a balance scale. Both percentages complete a 100% meaning if one goes to 70%, the other will be at 30%, 40%-60%, 50%-50% etc. These plants and their play with each other are responsible for the Vegetative and Flowering stages of the plant. Vegetative growth happens because of these hormones and only happens if auxins are high and cytokinins are low. On the other hand, if cytokinins are high and auxins are low, flowering stage occurs.
Alright, next up we have Ethylene!
Ethylene is actually the hormone released in the apple falling and decaying sequence. Aside from being responsible in quickening the ripening stage of fruits (and helping the spread of its seeds), it also plays a role in phototropism.
Lastly, we have Gibberellins!
Truly saving the best for last, gibberellins plays a lot of roles in the growth of the plant. First, they cause the seeds to grow right after germination and it also helps seedlings to store food while they develop leaves for photosynthesis. Gibberellins also help in widening the spaces in the plant which causes its cells to grow bigger especially during the vegetative stage. During the flowering stage, the level of gibberellins is adjusted by the light the plant experiences which affects the growing process of the fruit. This actually induces the plant to flower faster!
As you can see, they really do work like clockwork. Take Cytokinins and Auxins, for example, the interaction between the two actually causes the change from vegetative to flowering! Furthermore, other hormones are also at work while that happens! Gibberellins and abscisic acid are in charge of the heavy fruit production while ethylene and auxins decide which leaf or fruit to drop. All these hormones are responsible for keeping the plant alive and well which will definitely affect your yield. Knowing how they work, you can actually imagine better how the nutrients you are feeding your plant actually helps your plant!You should check out their labels and see what it really does and connect it with this new knowledge!

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