Growing Basics

Back to Basics - Simplicity: Making Plants Grow

Every plant species has particular conditions where they will thrive. There are many physical and environmental factors that affect the growth rate of plants. Getting back to basics and understanding the fundamental factors that affect plant growth will aid in successfully growing plants. Always remember the chain of growth is only as strong as the weakest link.

Basic Factors Affecting Plant Growth

There are seven (7) fundamental factors that have the potential to limit or assist in the growth of a plant. These seven factors are listed below:

pH Level

For most plant life, the most favorable pH value is between 6 – 6.8. This is caused by plants taking in the nutrients and then emitting carbon dioxide at night. As long as the pH level is maintained between 5.8 and 6.8 it will not limit the growth of the most plants.


In the summer when the sun is the brightest and plants reside outside or in a greenhouse, sunlight is generally not a limiting factor. However, some plants do require partial shade to grow best.


Carbon dioxide and humidity are the two most influential sub-factors in the atmosphere category.

Typically, humidity is not likely to be a limiting factor. If the air increases in humidity, then increased ventilation must be provided. For every 10 degrees Fahrenheit rise in temperature, the air will hold twice the moisture. Relative humidity from 40 to 60% is beneficial for most plants.

For plants that have enough warmth, light and nutrients, the likely growth limiting factor will be carbon dioxide. The most advantageous growth temperature for many species will increase if sufficient carbon dioxide is available.


The most favorable air temperature for most plant species is between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit. If the air temperature is in excess of the range, it places stress on the water and nutrient uptake system of the plant. Below 60 degrees Fahrenheit plant growth will be stunted considerably.


Nutrients, also known as "plant food", are soluble minerals that, when mixed with water, allow the plant to feed. Needed nutrients fall into two categories: Macro and Micro elements. Macro elements are vital to plant health; these include:

1. Nitrogen
2. Phosphorus
3. Potassium
4. Calcium
5. Magnesium
6. Sulfur

Other elements needed are called Micro elements. Included in this category are:

1. Boron
2. Manganese
3. Copper
4. Zinc
5. Molybdenum
6. Chlorine
7. Sodium
8. Cobalt
9. Silicon

It is important to note that some of the Micro elements are toxic to the plant at levels as low as 0.01 PPM.


Adequate water is essential for plant growth. Water acts as a solvent for the "plant food" or minerals so plants can more easily absorb its food from the soil. It is also vital to the photosynthesis process. Water acts as an electron source in this important food producing process. As in humans water is used to regulate the temperature of the plant.


Soil is made up of four basic components: minerals, air, water, and organic matter. In most soils, minerals represent around 45% of the total volume, water and air about 25% each, and from 2% to 5% organic matter. The mineral portion consists of three distinct particle sizes classified as sand, silt, or clay. Sand is the largest particle that can be considered soil.

A healthy soil is a soil that is productive and easy to manage under the intended land use. It has biological, chemical and physical properties that promote the health of plants, animals and humans while also maintaining environmental quality.

Don't let soil be your limiting factor for plant growth. Sustainable Soil Solutions offers an array of all natural products that can help improve your soil function to make your garden thrive!

What We Offer

Our Company

Sustainable Soil Solutions is a leader in the Walla Walla Valley in aiding and promoting sustainable farming, gardening, and cultivation of land at any level. Over the last 10 years we have expanded our business to making compost/vermicompost tea along with a whole array of other natural solutions for treating the soil. As well we do a lot of soil sampling using the information to teach farmers about the biology of the soil and how to naturally get maximum use out of our earth.

With our products your plant will have a more efficientient useage with water and nutrients. There are no synthetic inputs into the soil. They are organically-based, non-polluting, and improve the sustainability of the soil.

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53364 Robin Lane
Milton-Freewater, OR 97862

Phone: 541-938-7425