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How Do Seeds Sprout?

Have You Ever Wondered.

  • How do seeds sprout?
  • What is germination?
  • What three things do plants need to survive?

Have you ever planted a seed and watched it grow? Maybe you’ve just noticed plants and beautiful flowers magically spring from the ground now and then. Let’s head over to the Wonderopolis garden and take a closer look at what’s going on underground!

All the plants around you start life as a seed. Without seeds, there would be no plants and Earth would be a barren place that would not support the many forms of life that surround us every day.

Seeds are usually fairly small. Some are even tiny. Despite their small size, though, seeds contain food and all the instructions necessary to sprout to life as a plant.

When seeds are planted, they first grow roots. Once these roots take hold, a small plant will begin to emerge and eventually break through the soil. When this happens, we say that the seed has sprouted. The scientific name for this process is germination .

As the plant grows and begins to make its own food from nutrients it takes from the soil, it will grow into a larger plant. The seed itself is like a survival package. It contains the food the seed needs while it is growing roots and forming into a small plant.

Like all living things, plants need water. Once a seed sends out roots, these roots will deliver water from the soil to the plant. As the plant grows and needs more water, roots will grow longer and stretch farther to find the necessary water in the soil.

When you get dry seeds at a gardening store, the seeds are dormant , which means they’re inactive. All it usually takes to wake them up, though, is just to add water. Whether you plant them in moist soil or simply wrap them in a moist paper towel, they will begin to come to life.

Amazingly, scientists still don’t fully understand what all happens inside of a seed as it comes to life. As the seed soaks up water, its food stored inside begins to be converted into energy in the form of enzymes. These enzymes start the process of sending out roots and sprouting the first parts of the plant. Exactly how all this works is still a bit of a mystery, but it is fascinating to watch whether you’re a child or an adult!

Wonder Contributors

We’d like to thank:

Olivia
for contributing questions about today’s Wonder topic!

How Do Seeds Sprout?

Radicle

Learn about this topic in these articles:

angiosperm embryogenesis

…and the primary root (radicle). The hypophysis will give rise to the radicle and the root cap; the cells of the suspensor will degenerate as the embryo matures.

root anatomy and function

The primary root, or radicle, is the first organ to appear when a seed germinates. It grows downward into the soil, anchoring the seedling. In gymnosperms and dicotyledons (angiosperms with two seed leaves), the radicle becomes a taproot. It grows downward, and secondary roots grow laterally from it to…

…from the embryonic root (radicle), which grows out of the seed after the seed has absorbed water. This is the primary root of a new plant. The tip of the root is covered by a mass of loose cells called the root cap. Just beneath the root cap is…

taproots

…the root from the embryonic radicle. This primary root is a taproot. In plants in which the taproot persists, smaller lateral roots (secondary roots) commonly arise from the taproot and may in turn produce even smaller lateral roots (tertiary roots). This serves to increase the surface area for water and…

Other articles where Radicle is discussed: plant development: Origin of the primary organs: …and the primary root (radicle). The hypophysis will give rise to the radicle and the root cap; the cells of the suspensor will degenerate as the embryo matures.