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Do Plants Need Humans? The Reasons why

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We all know that plants are alive and grow in their natural state, but do plants need humans to survive? The answer is yes.

Plants do need humans. Some plants can survive without humans but many will die in the absence of humans and animals. Just like humans, plants need oxygen to survive. But unlike humans, they can’t tell their roots to start breathing. That’s where humans come in. Humans provide plants with what they need: quality, truly fresh air.

Few plants will flourish but some of their species would die if plants are the only creature left on Earth. Plants need a lot of things which they can get from humans. 

In this article, I’ll tell exactly why both indoor and outdoor plants need humans to survive. 

Can Plants Survive Without Humans?

It’s tempting to say that plants don’t need humans: that they would be just as happy without us. But every plant has both beneficial and harmful relationships with humans; there are probably as many different kinds of human associations with plants as there are types of plants.

Plants cannot survive without humans, probably in most cases, they will stop existing without humans. No doubt, our struggles are advantageous to plants. 

Like in the case of maintenance of fields and woodlands, we make space for new growth by removing deadwood and regrowing areas that get damaged.  

We also supply fertilizers to plants with the best intentions of maintaining them. So, we are not considering the whole plant kingdom concerning the dependency of their survival on humans. 

Some species of plants rely on us for their existence but not the whole plant kingdom. 

The two most significant processes that are responsible for sustaining life on earth are photosynthesis and respiration.  

Plants provide oxygen to us which is quite important for survival. In return, humans provide carbon dioxide to plants which is essential for them. So, a constant balance of oxygen and carbon dioxide is possible because of the existence of humans on this planet. 

In the same light, animals also perform similar functions like humans when it comes to creating a balanced ecosystem between animals and plants.

Plants are considered producers because they form their energy without the requirement of eating. While humans are consumers because we need to eat for utilization of energy.

Indoor and Potted Plants:

Most probably, many of you are concerned about their indoor plants and wondering if their presence or existence is necessary for them? Well, here we will discuss some basic needs for which your indoor plants are dependent on you and your presence is necessary for them. Let’s have a look at them.

Needs Regular Watering:

First thing first your indoor plants require regular watering for their maintenance and growth. Right? They are not like plants occupying the outer environments that don’t need us for watering. 

Unlike these outer plants that depend on rainwater for their survival, your indoor plants rely on you for watering.

Plants grown in pots and kept inside a house or office have specific watering timing and conditions that are important to consider.

Neglect can be harmful to them. For example, providing insufficient water or delayed watering might be hazardous for them. 


Though many people ignore the benefits of supplying fertilizers to indoor plants, they are important for the growth of beautiful plants. 

Unlike outdoor plants that rely on nature and their roots for finding food deep in the soil, houseplants depend on fertilizers that function as growth enhancers. 

To be more accurate, the limited amount of nutrients are available to indoor plants because of the amount of soil in containers, so you have to feed them with fertilizers to make them flourish. 


Repotting is another need for your indoor plants that are dependent on you. Most of the plants depending on their active growth require repotting after every 12 to 18 months. 

Some slow-growing plants grow for years in the same pot and need only soil replenishment. Spring is usually considered the best time for repotting your indoor plants. 

You know plants cannot repot themselves, right? So, they need humans for repotting to enhance their growth and to thrive. 


To avoid overgrowing your green houseplants, pruning is an ideal solution. To make them good-looking, doing a little shaping can be quite good for them. 

Pruning makes your indoor houseplants more attractive by enhancing new growth by improving structural problems.

Dead and damaged leaves are necessary to remove for the maintenance of plant health. You can do pruning during any time of the year but winter or early spring is usually more suitable. 

Because plants can recover better in longer daylight hours of the spring. 

So now you understand that indoor plants are dependent on humans for the majority of their needs.  They can die if they are not properly looked after by us resulting in diminishing the beauty of our houses, offices, etc. 

Outdoor Plants:

Do outdoor plants expect the same attention from humans as indoor plants? Or are they not able to survive without humans? Well, that’s not the situation. Your outdoor plants don’t need us for their existence and here is why.

Do not need any interaction from humans:

As outdoor plants grow outside your house or office, they do not seem to undergo human interactions directly. 

Trees, shrubs, flowering, and non-flowering plants as outdoor plants don’t require to be watered by humans as they depend on natural phenomena of rain to fulfill their needs. 

Outdoor plants will flourish more when planted in the ground as compared to those planted in pots in some cases. 

They rely upon natural light for performing functions. Unlike indoor plants where we can control climate, outdoor plants are strong enough to bear the outer climatic conditions. 

Needs Good Soil Quality:

Although soil is important for the growth of the plants whether they are indoor or outdoor. Plants require good quality soil that acts as a reservoir to retain nutrients and moisture around the roots of plants. 

It’s important to have good aeration in the soil, so your outdoor plants don’t have to face a difficult time for survival.

The quality soil is also important for anchoring the roots of the plants, so it does not get away from their place in a strong wind. 

Moreover, good soil is the one that is light enough to let air and water present under the soil all the time so that there is a balanced environment for the growth of the plant’s roots. 

Needs The Right Habitat:

Plants require the right habitat for their survival and growth, as they can’t escape or leave the severe environment as the animals do. They adapt to their surroundings and have to remain where their roots lie. 

But what about those whose habitat is not suitable for them? Most plants shed their whole leaves during the cold season and regrow them on the arrival of suitable weather. 

But some tropical plants can’t survive in the cold weather, the reason is that their bodies are not capable of bearing the freeze damage. 

One of the hardest phases of cold places is that plants can’t use ice as mostly water is in frozen form. 

Animals Will Spread Seeds for Reproduction:

As reproduction is important for plants for the maintenance of their species, it involves pollination and spreading of seeds

Most of the plant depends upon animals, birds, and insects that act as pollinators for them. Many plants can function properly without humans for their pollination and dispersing of seeds

The plant kingdom does not rely on us for reproduction, no doubt, they can maintain themselves quite well without the human population. 

The Takeaway:

Many plant species will find difficulty without humans, while some come to an end in the absence of animals. 

You’ve probably heard it said before: ” Plants breathe in carbon dioxide and release oxygen, while humans do the exact opposite. Just like humans, plants need oxygen to survive. 

But unlike humans, they can’t tell their roots to start breathing. That’s where humans come in. Humans provide plants with what they need: quality, truly fresh air.

Some of the well-known species that are familiar to us today would remain if plants are the only organisms left on earth. While most species will continue to flourish without humans. 

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