Let us grow some plants Growing plants is fun! We get to witness all the details from a seed to the plant come to life. I have a project you may like to do for your botany project at school or just for your fun at home. Before we start growing some plants, let us look at the life cycle of a plant.
The life cycle of a plant How many stages are there in the life cycle of a plant? You may find different answers to this question depending on the source you look up. Generally, there are five stages. The stages are as follows: seed, germination, growth, reproduction, pollination, and seed dispersion.
Most seed-bearing plants start their lives from seeds. Seeds have an embryo inside and a protective coating outside known as the seed coat.
Germination is the second stage. Under proper conditions such as fertile soil, adequate water, and sunlight, the seed grows and rises above the soil surface. At this stage, the seed is called a seedling. This seedling has a baby root called "radicle" that grows downwards underneath the ground. Next, hypocotyl emerges, which later on grows into a stem. Later, tiny leaves called "cotyledons" (or) "seed leaves" develop. These are different from the actual leaves. Cotyledons nourish the seedling through the nutrients stored in the seed. They also prepare food through a process called photosynthesis. Cotyledons fall off when it is time for the leaves to come in.
During this stage, various parts of the plant, such as the primary root, stem, lateral roots, leaves, and flowers develop as the plant matures. Once the true leaves appear, they take over the process of photosynthesis.
Pollen from the stamen of the male part must come into contact with the pistil of the female counterpart in a flower for reproduction. The transfer of pollen from male to female parts is known as pollination. Insects and wind act as pollinators and carry the pollen. This interaction between the pollen and pistil results in the formation of seeds or fruits.
For the plants to perpetuate, the seeds should reach the soil to grow into new plants. Winds, breeze, rain, and animals disperse the seeds to different places. Thus, the lifecycle of a plant continues.
Project We will grow coriander for this project. Coriander is one of the easiest plants to grow, but first, something useful to know-
Fun fact about coriander
There is some confusion surrounding cilantro and coriander. Here is the clarification; cilantro and coriander are the same plants. The leaves are called cilantro, whereas the seeds are called coriander. Some countries like India use coriander for both leaves and seeds.
Things you will need
Most experts suggest using a pot at least 10 inches or 25 centimeters in depth since coriander roots spread and grow long.
Process Preparing the seeds
There are two ways to plant coriander seeds-
Take a handful of coriander seeds and soak them in water for an entire night. Drain the water and use the soaked seeds for plantation. Soaking softens the seeds.
Like with the above method, soak the seeds overnight. Drain the water and wrap these seeds in a piece of moist cotton cloth. Place this somewhere so the bundle would receive some sunlight. Wait for a couple of days or until the seeds turn into sprouts.
Preparing the tray/ pot
You can use a deep tray if it is all you have. Just see to it that the water has a way to drain.
Fill the pot with the soil. Leave at least 2 inches of space between the top layer of soil and the pot rim. Make sure the pot has draining holes beneath it.
Plant the seeds/ sprouts in groups of 10-15 with 4-6 inches of space between each group to allow enough room for the plants to grow freely. Make sure the seeds are half an inch to one inch below the soil.
Put the pot under shade outdoors or put it by a window indoors. Avoid direct sunlight unless the climate is cold.
Water the seeds adequately. Stop watering when you see water drain from the drain holes. Remember to keep the soil moist.
Coriander seeds usually take two to three weeks to germinate.
Wait 45-60 days or until the plants reach 6 to 8 inches tall to use the leaves. Watch out for flowers to bloom if you want seeds.
There you go! You now have home-grown fresh coriander leaves and seeds to use in your yummy curries.
Do not be too pedantic about the spacing, number of seeds per group, depth of the pot, and such. Use whatever you have in the best way possible and experiment.
Have you ever tried growing a plant? What was your experience?
Read also: Major types of classification of plants