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.
The three things plants need to grow are light, food, and water. Light, whether from the Sun or an artificial light source (like a light bulb), gives the small plant the energy it needs to begin photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is the process the plant uses to convert light energy into food.
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!