Biology of Plants
Starting to Grow
Plant Parts
Making Food
Seed Dispersal
Plant Adaptations
Plants and Life on Earth




Starting to Grow

What does the word "germinate" mean?
To germinate means to start to grow.
What is a nutrient?
Nutrients are substances that living things need to grow. Nutrients include food, air, water, and vitamins and minerals.
Teachers—download lesson plans to use in your classroom!

Lesson Plans

Where Do Plants Come From?

Plants come from seeds. Each seed contains a tiny plant waiting for the right conditions to germinate, or start to grow.

Lima Bean
Small Lima Bean Plant

What Do Seeds Need to Start to Grow?

Seeds wait to germinate until three needs are met: water, correct temperature (warmth), and a good location (such as in soil). During its early stages of growth, the seedling relies upon the food supplies stored with it in the seed until it is large enough for its own leaves to begin making food through photosynthesis. The seedling's roots push down into the soil to anchor the new plant and to absorb water and minerals from the soil. And its stem with new leaves pushes up toward the light:

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The germination stage ends when a shoot emerges from the soil. But the plant is not done growing. It's just started. Plants need water, warmth, nutrients from the soil, and light to continue to grow.


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