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The Needs of a Seed

The Needs of a Seed

April 13, 2021

Spring is here and plants are popping! Everywhere we look we should be noticing signs of spring - plants emerging from the soil, flower buds on trees and birds collecting items for their nests in preparation for summer. This reemergence of plants and flowers is important for animals that will have their babies and raise them during nature’s bountiful time of spring and summer. Try this experiment to learn about what seeds need to germinate (start the process of growth).

Items Needed:

-       Pushpin

-       2 opaque (non-see through) containers you can write on (yogurt or small sour cream cups work great!)

-       Permanent Marker

-       Soil

-       4 seeds of the same plant

-       1 plate

-       1 container lid you can write on

-       Water

-       Sunny window



1.     With adult help, use the pushpin to carefully poke six drainage holes into the bottom of both containers.

2.     Using the marker, write the date on the side of both cups and label one cup “no sun.”

3.     Add soil to both containers until about half full.

4.     Plant two seeds in each container. If you are using a pack of seeds, check to see what the recommended planting depth is and follow those recommendations.

5.     Pour water into the containers until water drains out of the bottom of the cups. You may want to do this outside or over the sink!

6.     Using the push pin, carefully poke six holes into the container lid and place it on top of the container labeled “no sun.”

7.     Move both containers to the plate and place it in a sunny window. Now the waiting game begins!

8.     Write down a prediction on how long you think it will take for your seeds to sprout.

9.     Check your seeds daily and water when the soil feels dry. How long did it take for the seeds to germinate?


Let’s grow!

Different seeds have different growing conditions in order to germinate. Sometimes, seeds may need a long period of cold weather in order to sprout, or even specific soil nutrients and water conditions.

Did your seed sprout? Most seeds don't need light to germinate. How long did it take your seeds to grow? What was the difference between the seed in the sun and the seed with no sun? Expand on this experiment by testing out a container that gets no water versus a container where the seed is watered regularly. What other conditions might affect the sprouting rate of your seeds?

If you continue to take care of your plant, when it is larger, you can plant it in a pot and have a plant that you grew all by yourself!

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