The simple answer is that they are different from dirt-bound plants. Their root systems are developed specifically to be submerged in water.
Non-aquatic plants breathe through their roots, so if the soil never dries out, your plant will die. They also need “fluffy” dirt, that is full of air.
Aquatic plants (hydrophytes) have different types of roots, which also require oxygen but are less demanding and more efficient at this. They are able to obtain dissolved oxygen and all the other nutrients from the water.
Plants need air water and nutrients so soil is not necessary. Hydroponics also known as hydroculture is a method of growing plants using mineral solutions in water without soil. Plant physiology researchers discovered in the 19th century when the required mineral nutrients are introduced into plants water supply artificially, soil is no longer required for the plant to thrive. Hydroponics or hydroculture is the practice of cultivating plants without the use of soil.
Aquatic plants are plants that have adapted to living in aquatic environments (saltwater or freshwater). They are also referred to as hydrophytes or aquatic macrophytes. These plants require special adaptations for living submerged in water, or at the water’s surface – the most common adaptation is aerenchyma, but floating leaves and finely dissected leaves are also common.
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