Dormancy (plant)

This is the process by which plants temporarily cease growing and slow down their other activities, usually to survive periods of low temperatures or water shortages. Dormancy is usually triggered and broken by a combination of conditions, rather than just by the temperature. Day length may be a key determiner (dormancy often being induced when the days shorten and broken as they lengthen) or periods of dry or wet conditions.

In artificial situations dormancy can be controlled by managing the lighting periods, by applying growth inhibiting or stimulating hormones to the plant or by controlling other environmental conditions. For example, when we chit potatoes we are giving them a period of dry storage which is required to break the dormancy in the buds (which are the ‘eyes’ of the potato), the temperature is irrelevant.