Punishing Places For Plants – How Plants Survive Extreme Environments

Plant Seedling Sprouting Out Of Dry Dirt
desert plant
(Image credit: MarBom)

Many home gardeners quickly become stressed when less than ideal climatic conditions present themselves. Whether there is too much rain or a drought, growers can become frustrated when they find that their plants are not able to thrive. However, many plants throughout the world are adapted to and able to withstand even the harshest of growing conditions. Taking a closer look at how plants survive these harsh growing conditions can help home gardeners better plan their own landscapes.

How Plants Survive Extreme Environments

One of the most common arguments for the use of native plant species in the garden is their adaptability to local growing conditions. Depending upon your growing region, some plants will simply be more suited than others. Just like the native plants in your own backyard, plant species throughout the world are able to withstand the hottest and the coldest of extreme weather.

Plants from harsh climates are naturally suited to withstand those conditions. Even in some of the most punishing places for plants, one is able to find trees, foliage, and even flowers that are in full bloom.

The harsh, hot, and dry conditions of the world’s deserts serve as just one example in which severe conditions for plants have led to the establishment of a strong native ecosystem. One interesting way these plants have adapted is through the development of long, deep root systems. These root systems are able to sustain the plant, even through prolonged periods of drought.

As one would imagine, long term lack of water in desert regions also makes it very difficult for new seeds to germinate. Due to this fact, many native plants in this region have the unique ability to reproduce by budding. These “buds” are new growths that form from the base of the plant and are essentially clones of the parent plant. Many of these budding plants, such as succulents, have become very popular in home ornamental gardens.

Other plants that live in extreme conditions, such as those that grow in arctic and alpine regions, have developed special adaptations which allow them to thrive as well. High winds and cold temperatures make it especially important for these plants to grow with protection. In most cases, this means that the plants grow very low to the ground. Larger plants, such as evergreens, have thick and full foliage that protects the trunks and stems of tree from wind, thunderstorms, frost, snow, and cold.

Tonya Barnett

Tonya Barnett has been gardening for 13 years. Flowers are her passion. She has transformed her backyard into a cut flower garden, which she regularly chronicles on her YouTube channel http://www.youtube.com/@tonyawiththeflowers.