What Do Plants Do at Night? Do Plants Sleep at Night?

Last Updated on June 1, 2022 by Gary Stephen

Have you ever wondered what your plant’s activities are during the evenings? What Do Plants Do at Night?

Do they also take time to sleep as humans do?

Or, are they more active in the dark?

All these questions really baffle me! And, I am pretty sure many of you are wondering too.

Let us, once and for all. explore this question. Join me as we uncover what happens to our beloved houseplants the moment that Mr. Sun is down and Mrs. Moon is up.

So, let’s cut the chase and feed our curiosities together…

But first, what do plants do in the morning?what do plants do in the morning

Let us first try to understand: what plants do when the sun is up and shining brightly? This will give us a better comparison of the plant’s activities between the different times of the day.

Light is vital for plant growth. It is needed so that plants can be able to undergo the process called photosynthesis. 

When the sunlight hits the leaves, it activates the chloroplasts in the plant’s cells. Within these chloroplasts is the chlorophylls. The chlorophyll is not just known to give plants its green pigment, but most importantly, it also serves as a mini solar panel. It stores as much energy as it can as long as there is still light throughout the day.

The energy being stored is utilized to convert carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen. The energy-rich glucose fuels the growth and sustenance of the plant. The excess sugar produced is duly stored in the roots, leaves, and fruits to be used later on. 

Meanwhile, the oxygen is released out in the air as the plant’s waste product. For which, by the way, we humans inhale and benefit from.

What is Cellular Respiration?

Cellular respiration is somewhat the reverse of photosynthesis. During this process, the glucose and oxygen gathered during the daytime are being converted back into carbon dioxide and water. Thereby, releasing heat energy along the process. This energy produced is what’s being used by the plant to continue to fuel its cellular functions at night.

Basically, if photosynthesis creates the food for the plant, the respiration on the other end consumes this food. Thus, enabling it to transfer and reuse the nutrients it gathered from the sunlight to facilitate new cell development. Thereby allowing the plant to grow new roots, stems, leaves, and more. 

Nevertheless, you should also note that respiration does not only take place during nighttime. In fact, it can actually happen at any time of the day. However, it consumes far less oxygen and more carbon dioxide in the morning. The opposite applies though when evening comes. In which case, it primarily consumes more oxygen and lesser carbon dioxide.

What Do Plants Do At Night? Do plants sleep at night?What Do Plants Do At Night

When the sun sets, the plant will no longer be able to continue with the process of photosynthesis. As the process ceases, the plants can then relax more. However, that doesn’t mean that it simply shuts down all its functions. Instead, they will still continue to breathe and do cellular respiration.

During this phase, plants take time to recover from stress. Part of the nutrients it consumes at night is being allocated to rejuvenate the areas that need more repairing, such as burnt leaves and other overused structures. It is similar to how human bodies regenerate when resting or sleeping. 

Having said that, you can pretty much say so that plants do sleep at night too. 

What Do Plants Do At Night? Do plants also drink at night?

Apart from breathing and eating, we are also eager to know if plants drink at night. 

If we water them in the evening, will they be able to absorb it?

Generally, plants do also drink at night. However, the absorption rate is much less than they normally would in the morning. 

Moreover, the temperature in the evening is colder. Hence, there is less evaporation of water resulting in saturation of the soil. This dampness increases the risk of the plant to develop various diseases. This can well include fungal infections and root rotting.

So, to answer the question, yes plants do also drink at night. Nevertheless, it is not advisable due to potential problems that may arise.

Plants can do the math

Surprisingly, plants are much smarter than humans think!

They have the innate ability to calculate how much energy they have stored during the day. And then, the plant divides its consumption according to the length of the night. 

By doing such math, the plant won’t run out of food and starve. Portioning of the available resources helps it to sustain its energy needs throughout the entire evening until the sun rises back up.

Super amazing, isn’t it?

How would plants know if it is daytime or nighttime?

Unlike us humans, plants obviously don’t have a brain. What they do have is a circadian rhythm. It is much like a body clock, per se. 

This internal timekeeper works by detecting the light and dark cycles. It picks up signals from its immediate environment which the plant uses to determine its routine of activities.

So when the photoperiodic rhythm detects light, it prompts the plant to undergo photosynthesis and create food. But as soon as the sun sets, the darkness cycle begins and then triggers the respiration process.

What happens then when there is not enough sunlight?

Grow lamps

For plants, LIGHT is LIFE!

Without it, there will be ineffective photosynthesis or respiration. In effect, its growth will be stunted, stems become leggy, flowers will not bloom, the color turns dull, and countless more issues. In other words,  your plants will have no fighting chance to thrive and survive.

Unfortunately, there are certain times of the year that limits our access to sunlight. Like in wintertime, when some plants are best kept indoors to prevent it from freezing. Or, it could also be that your home just ain’t got enough outdoor space to display your plant.

Whatever the case may be, this shouldn’t be an excuse. There are alternatives you can use to supplement the much-needed light of your plants. This is where artificial lighting systems come into play.

Grow lamps are the perfect solution to low lighting conditions . It comes in different bulb types, color temperatures, and intensities. Thus, you can surely find one that would best suit the specific lighting requirements of your plants. 

When using grow lamps, keep in mind the concept of light/dark cycles. The length of exposure to these two settings can impact the health and growth of your plants. Thus, make sure to consider how much light or darkness your plant needs depending on its growth phase.

If you need to supplement your light, you can check out these products:

Gooseneck Lamps:

Acke Dual Head Gooseneck Sunlike Grow Lamp with Clamp

Elaine Sunlike Full Spectrum Clip On Grow Light

Light Strips:

Mosthink Sunlike Full Spectrum Dimmable Grow Light Strips

GreensIndoor Sunlike Full Spectrum LED Grow Light Strips


Xeccon Sunlike Full Spectrum 2×4 Panel Grow Lamp

ParfactWorks Full Spectrum LED Grow Light Panels

Floor-stand type:

NaCot Full Spectrum LED Grow Lamp with Adjustable Tripod Stand

Wolezek Full Spectrum LED Timer-Controlled Grow Lamp with Tripod Stand

Wrapping Up about What Do Plants Do At Night?

Aren’t plants just absolutely fascinating! Just like humans, they also have a type of ‘sleeping’ pattern, but don’t think it stops there: they also know when light might be less, so they are able to ‘ration’ their food intake. If light supply is an ongoing issue, you may want to invest in some handy grow lamps, perfect for low light conditions. I have linked to my favorite grow lamps on the market above. 

Gary Stephen
Gary Stephen

Hi, I am Gary Stephen. I have been gardening for a long time. Gardening gives us much benefits and pleasure. Many of us desire to have a garden, but it cannot fulfill the desire for the proper guide or instruction of gardening. So, I am eager to help them. For this purpose, I have developed the MyGardenPlant.com website to make a garden with the proper guide. So, you will get me beside you if you want to know anything about gardening.