Mass exchange of indoor plants

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By opening and closing stomata on the underside of leaves, plants exchange substances with their environment: water vapour, carbon dioxide and oxygen. Your houseplants are also in a lively exchange of substances with the environment - we explain exactly what happens here!

Stomata (stomata) simply explained

The stomata on the underside of the leaf are also called stomata. They are pores in the epidermal layer of the plant and are used for external and internal gas exchange. Each stomata consists of two guard cells that can open when conditions are ideal for the plant, e.g. B. when the temperature is right, water is plentiful and there is a need for carbon dioxide. Because the leaves release water vapor and oxygen via the stomata and also absorb water and CO2. During drought, the plant carefully controls the stomata: they are closed to prevent it from losing more water than it can absorb.

gas exchange

The exchange is based on diffusion processes, i.e. passive processes in which a difference in concentration between plants and their environment is compensated. Stomata play the most important role here, but so does the entire leaf surface of your plants. A waterproof layer called the cuticle encloses the top and bottom of the leaves. This layer is normally impermeable to water but can be penetrated on certain occasions. This phenomenon of permeability of the wax layer is often referred to as "swelling".

water balance of a plant

The water balance of a plant is understood to mean all processes that enable the plants to cope with the accessible water supply in their respective location. The water cycle of a plant can be summarized as follows:

1. Water absorption of the roots

2. Transport of water from root to vascular tissue

3. Water transport in vascular tissue to plant parts

4. Water loss through leaves and epidermis by means of transpiration

Land plants absorb water through their roots and hair cells. It is based on diffusion and osmosis. Osmosis is also a process of concentration equalization. In contrast to diffusion, only certain particles are allowed to pass through the membrane.

The root hairs absorb the water from the soil and pass it on to the vascular bundles. These are responsible for transporting nutrients and water to the leaves and flowers of the plant. The water has to pass through cell walls and plant cells.

What is perspiration?

The evaporation of water from the leaves of a plant is called transpiration. Moisture is released primarily through regulated openings in the lower epidermis of the leaves called stomata. But the water can also evaporate over the entire leaf surface, the cuticle.

The release of water protects leaves from overheating the plant and ensures an optimum temperature for photosynthesis. The release of water from the leaves also promotes the absorption of water by the roots and thus the absorption of the nutrients dissolved in them.

In order to regulate their water balance, some plants have come up with something impressive. Cacti, for example, can develop their leaves backwards - this reduces the transpiration surface. Other plants form more layers of wax to reduce cuticular transpiration.

respiration of plants

Your houseplant breathes through each and every one of its leaves. During light-dependent photosynthesis, carbon dioxide and water are absorbed. These substances are used for the production of glucose and oxygen needed. In the light-independent dark reaction, the by-product oxygen then released from the plant. The respiration of plants is therefore related to photosynthesis, but proceeds separately. At night without sunlight, the plant cannot carry out photosynthesis and therefore none oxygen to produce. However, it still needs this to gain energy and then absorbs it in small quantities. During so-called cellular respiration, carbohydrates and oxygen consumed and given off small amounts of carbon dioxide.

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