Are You Phototropic? Growth, Stimuli Response and Adaptation

Have you ever grown a window garden and observed how the window side of the plant, if not rotated (by you) will actually grow toward the light?  This is a phototropic response to the stimuli, which in this case is light.  Plants can not  move themselves to their optimal environment but they will, however, adapt their growth to improve their conditions.  This is a hormonal response by the plant to ensure its survival.  The Yard Therapist wonders if we don’t have this in common with our botanical friends.  Sunflowers are heliotropic, meaning that they will turn their heads to follow the sun from east to west each day.  The Yard Therapist would find this most tiring without a continuous supply of mojitos and a lounge chair.  Not knowing a whole lot about human physiology I still can not help but correlate this tropism to the human tendency for Seasonal Affected Disorder (SADD) which may or may not be hormonal to my limited knowledge  on the subject.  It is indeed a direct response to the stimuli, lack of light, in which we humans (who by the way can move themselves into their optimum environment) i.e. a two-week winter vacation in a tropical (light filled) setting.  Plants thrive in adequate sunlight and will in fact seek it.  Let this be a lesson to us my friends to turn our faces to the sun and follow the light………


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Avid student of horticulture, active volunteer with the Horticultural Society, maker of beautiful garden spaces. I am now available for Garden Design services, custom planters, DIY consultations in Calgary and surrounding areas. Inquire at 403-837-9980 or

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