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The Effects of Vitamins on Plant Growth

author image Sophie Bloom, M.S., L.Ac.
Sophie Bloom has been a professional writer since 2000, writing for nonprofits including the American Foundation for the Blind and The Adult Literacy Media Alliance. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in culture and media studies from Johns Hopkins University and her Master of Science in acupuncture from Tri-State College of Acupuncture in New York City.
The Effects of Vitamins on Plant Growth
Seeds are germinating and growing into plants. Photo Credit: weerapatkiatdumrong/iStock/Getty Images

Plants may be found on land or in water, but their growth depends on the nutrient level of their environment, notes the Missouri Botanical Garden. Only a steady source of nutrition can keep plants growing. Interestingly, several of the same vitamins crucial to human development also affect plant health and growth.

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Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 helps microscopic plants grow underwater, states the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Single-celled marine life can manufacture its own vitamin B12, unlike plants and animals, which must obtain it from outside sources. In 2005, researchers collected water samples in the Ross Sea, near Antarctica. They found that adding vitamin B12 led to a significant increase in the amount of plant life, including marine algae.

Vitamin C

Plants must have vitamin C in order to grow, according to Professor Nicholas Smirnoff of the University of Exeter, England. Partnering with researchers from the University of Shimane, Japan, his research team genetically-engineered plants lacking vitamin C, which did not grow. Previously, vitamin C was considered merely an antioxidant that helped protect plants against the effects of the sun, such as drought and UV radiation, to successfully complete photosynthesis.

Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 helps root formation and seed germination, explains the "Journal of Plant Growth Regulation." In the journal's 1987 article, "An Examination of the Growth Substance Activity of Vitamin D3," German researchers studied the effects of vitamin D3 on two different plants that were not exposed to sunlight. The vitamin helped cuttings of an aspen tree known as Populus tremula grow roots and helped seeds of Grand Rapids lettuce, also known as Lactuca sativa, to germinate.

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