plants in pots?

plantbugJuly 8, 2012

Received this interesting info from the Native Plant Society:

ScienceDaily (July 1, 2012) � Plant scientists have imaged and analyzed, for the first time, how a potted plant's roots are arranged in the soil as the plant develops. In this study, to be presented at the Society for Experimental Biology meeting on 30th June, the team has also found that doubling plant pot size makes plants grow over 40% larger.

From their 3-D MRI root scans, the researchers observed that potted plants quickly extend their roots to the pot's walls. It is likely that the plants use their roots to 'sense' the size of the pot, although the details of how the roots relay the message about the pot's size remain the plants' secret.

They also looked at 65 independent studies across a wide range of species including tomato, corn, pine tree, cactus, wheat, and cotton plants, and found that all species reach larger sizes when grown in a bigger pot. On average, doubling pot size allowed plants to grow 43% larger.

Dr Hendrik Poorter (Forschungszentrum J�lich, Germany) who led the study, said: "There has been commercial interest in seeing how small pots can be, but our aim was to see how big a pot needs to be to avoid affecting plant experiments."

The work is relevant for gardeners too. Poorter added, "After this study, I immediately changed the pot size for all the plants I had in my house."

To understand the pot size effect, the scientists looked at various aspects of the plants' growth. They found that the plants in smaller pots grew more slowly because of a decreased rate of photosynthesis. But, looking for causes for the decrease, the scientists ruled out limitations in water and nutrients and did not find any differences in the thickness of the leaves for plants in smaller pots. It is therefore unlikely that the plants use water and nutrient levels to sense the pot size, supporting the possibility that sensing happens another way, such as by the roots.

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Society for Experimental Biology (2012, July 1). Want bigger plants? Get to the root of the matter. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 8, 2012, from http://www.sciencedaily.com� /releases/2012/07/120701191636.htm

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gardenfanatic(MO zone5b)

Interesting! Thanks for sharing. I was just on the ScienceDaily site reading about fibromyalgia before I came to the hosta forum. Lots of interesting things on there.

Deanna

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 12:49PM
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Moccasin(z9aMobileAL)

You know, we are discovering more and more species of animal and vegetable life, or intelligence if you will, and it is US who need to get acquainted with these life forms.

I appreciate you dropping this tidbit upon us, and now I give you one back.

On my Kindle I have a book by Daniel Chamovitz with title
WHAT A PLANT KNOWS: A FIELD GUIDE TO THE SENSES. Description:

How does a Venus flytrap know when to snap shut? Can it actually feel an insect's tiny, spindly legs? And how do cherry blossoms know when to bloom? Can they actually remember the weather?

For centuries we have collectively marveled at plant diversity and form--from Charles Darwin's early fascination with stems to Seymour Krelborn's distorted doting in Little Shop of Horrors. But now, in What A Plant Knows, the renowned biologist Daniel Chamovitz presents and intriguing and scrupulous look at how plants themselves experience the world--from the colors they see to the schedules they keep. Highlighting the latest research in genetics and more, he takes us into the inner lives of plants and draws parallels with the human senses to reveal that we have much more in common with sunflowers and oak trees than we may realize. Chamovitz shows how plants know up from down, how they know when a neighbor has been infested by a group of hungry beetles, and whether they appreciate the Led Zeppelin you've been playing for them or if they're more partial to the melodic riffs of Bach. Covering touch, sound, smell, sight, and even memory, Chamovitz encourages us all to consider whether plants might even be aware of their surroundings.

A rare inside look at what life is really like for the grass we walk on, the flowers we sniff, and the trees we climb, What A Plant KNows offers us a greater understanding of science and our place in nature.

....end of book description.....

It seems to fit in with the research direction you mention. And I've always known that in an aquarium a fish size depends on the size of the tank. So I can see pot size correlation to a plant as well.

Thanks. Will read more about it.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2012 at 1:17PM
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