Ask a Question forum→Roots growing upwards

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Rhode Island
May 29, 2020 1:19 PM CST
I'm growing a sweet potato in a jar in tap water. It is placed by a window that receives quite a bit of sunlight. The roots are growing well and leaves are beginning to grow too.

As you can see in the picture though, the roots are growing upwards and turning green. I have read that they may be turning green due to exposure to light. But I can't figure out why they are goring upwards.

I'd be happy to hear what others think. Thank you!

Thumb of 2020-05-29/Lvyun/483089
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[Last edited by Lvyun - May 29, 2020 1:21 PM (+)]
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Name: Sally
central Maryland
Seriously addicted to kettle chips.
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May 29, 2020 2:58 PM CST
they're running out of room?
i'm pretty OK today, how are you? ;^)
Name: Will Creed
Prof. plant consultant & educator
May 30, 2020 9:12 AM CST
It is not a problem, but why not pot it up now?
Will Creed
Horticultural Help, NYC
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Name: Rick R.
Minneapolis, MN, USA zone 4
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May 30, 2020 3:50 PM CST
What a cool display and "experiment"!

Roots are opportunists and seek out the best places to grow. Down is where moisture usually is, and most roots are "default" programmed to go down, but if conditions are better to the left compared to the right, or up compared to down, that's where they will grow.

Roots need oxygen to grow, and there is only so much dissolved in water. I wonder if the roots are growing up because there is more oxygen nearer to the water surface where oxygen exchange occurs. Such an example would be (at least in theory) intensified when there is very little water surface exposed to air to receive oxygen.

So I wonder what would happen if you suspended the potato in a wider bowl of water? They may not all grow down, but I'll bet they will grow much more randomly.

When the debate is lost, slander becomes the tool of the losers. - Socrates

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