Even the tallest trees and the brightest flowers begin the same way: as a seed.
Seeds contain the most basic parts of the plant, called an embryo. The rest of the plant will develop from this most basic form. Seeds also contain food for the embryo.
In order for a seed to sprout, or germinate, it needs three things:
- Darkness. The seed is buried in the soil.
- Moisture. Even before a seed sprouts, it needs water!
- The right temperature. This can vary between different plants, but most seeds sprout best in mild temperatures – not too hot, not too cold.
When given those right conditions, the seed is able to germinate. The moisture of the soil helps soften the hard outer shell of the seed, also known as the seed case. Once the seed case is soft enough, the roots can break through and shoot downward. Roots help stabilize the plant by holding it firmly in the ground. Roots also act like straws for the plant to drink up water and nutrients from the soil.
After the roots begin to grow, the seedling will break through the soil. A seedling is a young, fragile plant. Once the seedling breaks through the soil, it will straighten up and reach towards the light.
So what happens next?
The seedling will continue to grow. The stem will get taller and the roots will dig deeper into the soil. The plant will begin to make its own food.
Photosynthesis is the process in which a green plant creates its own food. The plant uses energy from sunlight to make its own food from two other ingredients: water and carbon dioxide. The plant takes the sunlight, water, and carbon dioxide and makes glucose (also known as sugar!) and oxygen. The plant eats up the glucose and releases the oxygen into the air. The plant will continue photosynthesis for its whole life.
To explore more about plants and seeds, check out The Winkle for the Sponge Sprouts project! With simple step-by-step instructions, you’ll be able to plant your own seeds and watch them germinate. So fun!
For even more projects, subscribe to The Winkle Crate! You’ll receive four kid-friendly STEM projects each month, delivered right to your door. Easy, fun learning at home? What’s not to love?