That's an interesting question. Lots of things
affect plant roots. One you probably haven't
thought of is the pot a plant is in, if
it's a potted plant.
A nursery sold me some plants - they were
important to me, because they're named after my
grandfather - the 'H. E. McMinn Manzanita'. I
planted them in the ground, and then plumbers dug
them up later, when I needed a new sewer line. It
turned out the roots were bent in the shape of the
pot, because the pot was too small for the plant,
so there wasn't room for the roots to grow out.
So when I planted the plant in the ground, the
roots didn't grow out like they would in a healthy
Water, of course, is another thing that
affects plants' roots a lot. I take care of
my plants, but I could take a lot better care of
them. Some of my plants had bad roots, and I
didn't know why: Was I watering them too much,
and the roots were rotting away from being too
wet? Or was I letting them get too dry,
and the roots weren't healthy, so the unhealthy
roots died when I watered the plant?
My plants are all in pots on my balcony now,
and I wish I could see their roots. When I water
the pots, the water runs out the bottom really
fast, from some of the pots. The water stays in
the pot, with other pots. The pots have all
different kinds of dirt in them. Sometimes I put
thick layers of newspaper in the bottom of the pot
before I add the dirt, so the water won't drain
out too fast and drip onto the balconies below
mine - we're not supposed to let our water drip
onto the balconies below!
There's another funny thing about some kinds of
dirt. If it gets really really dry, the water
doesn't soak in - it just runs off. I had an
old bag of potting soil, and the kids were trying
to plant plants in it for Mother's Day. But the
dirt was so dry that the water wouldn't soak in.
In fact, some of the dirt even floated on the
water! I was frustrated and disappointed.
The soil or dirt is important for root
growth - it needs to hold water but not so
long that the roots rot, so there needs to be
drainage, too, and air needs to get in.
The soil also needs food for the plant, which can
be something like compost. My bag of fancy
potting soil has lots of strange things in it like
But you are asking about roots! I found the
following information for you:
This information tells you all about the different
kinds of plant roots, not about the environment of
So I googled this: 'Plant Roots Environment'
The most exciting recent research is that roots
will grow away from salty soil, even if it means
that the roots have to grow in some direction
other than down. Normally, roots grow down, in
response to gravity.
There are whole conferences and books now about
roots and their environments, but I can't find any
other general information to give you.
Click Here to return to the search form.