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Making New Plants

When we think about how to grow new plants, most of us think of planting seeds. Each seed is really a tiny plant in a package. Seeds are protected by a seed coat that can be thick or thin. Seeds have all of the materials inside of them that they need to form leaves, stems, and roots. But, seeds stay dormant until the conditions are right for them to begin to grow, usually warm and wet. Germination is when a root and a shoot begin to grow out from the seed. This is the beginning of a new plant!

Stages of a plant throughout germination.  The roots gradually get longer and the leaves become larger.

Click here to see a video showing germination.
(The video is courtesy of Roger Hangarter's lab)

There are many things that can go wrong to cause poor germination. If a plant gets too much water, then it might not have enough oxygen to grow. Also, very dry conditions might mean that the plant cannot get enough water to germinate. If seeds are planted too far in the ground, they might use up all their energy before they can get to the sunlight.

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Determine what conditions seeds need in order to germinate.

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