Lessons From the Flowers: Facing the Sun with Phototropic Plants

Flowers are undoubtedly some of the Earth’s finest life forms, being aesthetically pleasing, mentally stimulating, satisfying in fragrance, even scientifically proven to be emotionally and physically healing. In addition to the many wonders in the blossoming gifts of the botanical world, there is also much to be learned when we look further into the mechanics and systems of a flower’s growth process. Therein, we can find profound examples of a healthy, harmonious, and beautiful life achieved through observing other life forms, adapting to one’s environment,  symbiotic relationships, generating and storing optimum energy by developing natural rhythms, and structural patterns that are attractive and efficient, etc. This will be the first of a series spotlighting some of the lessons we can gain from observing the growth and life of the Earth’s most unassuming teachers: flowers.


As we are nearing the end of the summer, many of us want to find ways to maximize our exposure to the last few weeks of the sun’s warmth. Who understands this sentiment better than phototropic plants? Phototropism in  plants is the innate method of actively following the movement of the sun and seeming to have a built-in clock, opening and closing daily depending on which times offer them the most sunlight to synthesize into organic food compounds. Also, the increased warm environment in the flower is more welcoming to insects that will pollinate the flower. The opening and shutting system is called a biorhythm, meaning simply a natural rhythm-some spanning months, others days. In the case of flowers, the daily movements of such blooms as morning glories, moonflowers, purple winecups, michaelmus daisy, crocus, daylily, and poppy.

Flowers which we can actually see move to track the sun are heliotropic, such as sunflowers,  buttercups, artic poppies, and ranunculus adoneus.


Phototropic flowers, like human eyes, use sensitive  photoreceptors to pick up on the sun’s changing intensity. Plants also have a hormone called auxin, which will be released into the cells on a plant’s shady side, stimulating it to extend toward the strongest source of light.

Here is an interesting article on the medieval discovery of phototropism, considered by early scientists to be a “natural magic” rejoicing of the sun:http://www.plantcell.org/content/18/5/1110.full

So, as the days grow a little colder in the fall, try to consider developing some natural rhythms and activities around the sun’s brightest shining times in the day like these phototropic plants. This way you can gain plenty of Vitamin D to uplift your mood and increase your daily energy!