Have you ever tried sprouting seeds in a cup, wrapped in a wet paper towel and placed on the windowsill? It’s incredible that these hard, dry little things can grow and grow until they’re big and leafy and green plants! If you let them keep growing, they will eventually make seeds of their own, and then the whole circle of life can start again.
If you put a seed into soil, or even a moist paper towel, and then put it somewhere warm enough, it will start to sprout. Many seeds will only sprout in the dark, because they think that darkness means they are safe in deep soil. They can sense if there is enough water and warmth around for them to grow, and that’s why seeds don’t sprout outside in the cold and snowy winter!
A seed has a baby plant inside, called an embryo, and a lot of food stored inside the rest of it. The embryo uses that stored food to start growing. It will start by putting out a single root first, which goes into the ground and pushes the seed up. Above the ground, it will start to grow its first leaves.
Now you have a sprout – if you have ever eaten bean sprouts or alfalfa sprouts, you’ll know what these look like!
The plant continues to grow more roots branching off of the first root. It also grows a stem and more leaves, always reaching upwards to the sky or spreading out to capture lots of sunlight.
Now it’s called a seedling, which means it is still young and soft. But the seedling will keep growing into a tree or a bush, just like its parent plants!