Have you ever planted a seed and watched it grow? Maybe you’ve just noticed plants and beautiful flowers magically spring from the ground now and then. Let’s head over to the Wonderopolis garden and take a closer look at what’s going on underground!

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!


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    • Hi, Hunter! Thanks for letting us know you didn’t care for today’s Wonder. We appreciate your comment and hope you’ll hang out with us again tomorrow…we like your guess for what the next Wonder might be about! :-)

    • We’re glad you liked exploring today’s Wonder, Jocelyn! Thanks for leaving us a comment to let us know you thought it was cool! :-)

  1. This was one of our favorite Wonders! We liked the links and perfect because we are learning about plants and flowers this week in Kindergarten.

    • We really enjoy hearing about WONDERful coincidences like when a Wonder aligns with classroom activities for the week, Mr. Flinn! We hope you guys have a GREAT day today…please tell your kinders we think they ROCK! :-)

  2. Good Monday morning, Wonderopolis!

    We think that tomorrow’s Wonder might be about the famous Mickey Mouse. Many students said that at the beginning of Disney movies, Mickey Mouse drives a steamboat and whistles. We can’t wait to see if our prediction is correct and learn more about this famous “Mickey.”

    Have a MARVELOUS Monday!

    • Wouldn’t it be WONDERful if tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day® really WAS about Mickey Mouse, Mrs. Phillips’ Wonderful class? You guys are super great guessers, so we hope you are right about this guess, too! Thanks for always making our day a little brighter with your AWESOME comments…we appreciate you guys! :-)

    • It makes us super happy to know that you learned a lot of great new information by exploring today’s Wonder about seeds and how they sprout, Lacie! Thanks for being a friend of Wonderopolis! :-)

  3. We were wondering how many days lapsed in the video? We think around 2-4 weeks. We look at Wonderopolis everyday. We have learned a lot. Thanks for your website. We think your website is FANTASTIC!

    • That’s a really AWESOME question, Mrs. Mallen’s Class! We did a little extra WONDERing about the seeds in the video after we received your comment, and found out that the people who made the video took one photo every 4 minutes for approximately 10 days. Your guess of 2-4 weeks was right in line with that amount of time for germination…WAY TO GO, guys!

      Thanks for letting us know you visit Wonderopolis and like learning new things with us everyday. We are SUPER happy to count you guys as WONDERful Wonder Friends! :-)

  4. Squirrels sometimes plant trees by accident!

    I think tomorrow’s wonder is about Walt Disney or Mickey Mouse.

  5. Thanks for keeping up your great background. We know tomorrow is about Steamboat Willie, we watched it this year when studying animation! We have learned a lot about plants and know some are carnivores! The video was really cool to watch. It was cool to see the seeds sprout out of the ground. One of our spelling words this week is WONDERFUL! Have a WONDROUS DAY and many thanks.

    • We think it’s WONDERFUL that one of your spelling words is WONDERFUL this week, Mr. Draper’s Class! Thanks so much for all the awesome things you shared with us in your comment today! We really liked watching the video, too. Our favorite part is when the little bitty roots start reaching down and out into the soil. :-)

    • Way to go, “Wonder!” We think it’s SUPER that you guessed that today’s Wonder would be about planting seeds! :-)

  6. Cool video! I love how the roots came out. We planted plants outside of our school. The flowers were purple, pink, and there was grass. I thought there were insects coming out of the dirt when we planted our plants. There was great types of flowers and they were all beautiful.

    • Thank you so much for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder, Dana! We think it’s really neat that you and your classmates planted flowers to help beautify your school! We bet those plants are WONDERful! :-)

  7. I like that video because it is cool to see the plant grow. (Caleb)

    I learned that when seeds grow, the sprouts go up. That is called germination. (Maia)

    Have a super-duper week Wonderopolis!

    • WOW, KF Dragons! You guys are AWESOME for leaving us another GREAT comment today! Thanks for sharing what you guys thought about today’s Wonder and video, Caleb and Maia! We hope you and your WONDERful classmates have a SUPER-DUPER week, too! :-)

  8. We liked watching the plants grow! We think it’s neat how plants come from seeds. Seeds are amazing!

    We think tomorrow’s Wonder will be about Mickey Mouse and the cartoon, “Steamboat Willie.!”

    Miss Kirsten LOVES Mickey Mouse! (And so does our class!)


    • Thanks so much for letting us know you liked watching the video for today’s Wonder, Miss Kirsten’s Kindergarten GT Class! We agree…seeds ARE amazing! What a treat for us to get to see them sprout and grow! We really like your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder. We’ve had a few Wonder Friends also guess that it will be about Mickey Mouse! We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis in the morning to discover what we will all be WONDERing about together! :-)

    • That’s really cool that you got to plant some pinto beans and then watch them sprout and grow, Aaron! Thanks so much for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder! :-)

  9. We thought the plants looked cool when they were growing. The roots looked like worms!

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about Mickey Mouse.

    • We never thought about that, Ms Bayko’s class, but the roots really DID look a little like worms! Did you know that earthworms can help plants grow? You guys can learn more about these wiggly garden friends by exploring past Wonder #195 – Why Are Earthworms Good For Gardens? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-are-earthworms-good-for-gardens/.

      Thanks for hanging out in Wonderopolis with us today, guys! We hope you have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • Hi, Emily! Thanks for sharing that you already had background knowledge about germination before you explored today’s Wonder! We appreciate your comment! :-)

  10. Most plants grow from seeds, which come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and textures. Within this compact package, seeds contain everything a plant needs to grow and reproduce. Some seeds, such as grass, begin life with one leaf. These kinds of seeds are monocots. Other seeds, such as beans, begin life with two leaves. These kinds of seeds are dicots.

    • We really appreciate you sharing your knowledge of seeds and germination, Lanard! Thanks for adding something special to this Wonder of the Day® with your AWESOME comment! :-)

  11. This reminds me of the time my old class and I put seeds in a bag and taped them on a window and every day checked on it to see if it was growing.

    • That sounds like a super fun to way to watch seeds germinate, Caleb! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to today’s Wonder! We might have to give that activity a try! :-)

    • We like that guess a lot, Harker! We hope your guess is correct…we think Mickey Mouse would be FUN to WONDER about! :-)

  12. We really liked the seed video! We like learning about plants because plants can turn into beautiful flowers. What is the purpose of the petals on the flowers? What kinds of flowers grow the fastest and the slowest? What is the biggest flower? We love plants!

    • Thanks for all the “COOL” smiley faces, Caelah! We’re super glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today! :-)

  13. Dear wonderopolis
    I think tomorrow’s wonder of the day is about Mickey Mouse. Also, yesterday’s wonder what’s next was about something that grows in your garden.

    from Graycee

    • Hello, Graycee! Thank you so much for sharing this SUPER comment with us today! We appreciate your guess for tomorrow’s Wonder and also what you said about yesterday’s Wonder, too! :-)

    • That does sound pretty lucky, Adam! We know some Wonder Friends who think fennel is a delicious ingredient to use in cooking! Thanks for sharing your personal connection to this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

    • We like that guess a lot, “A!” Thanks for sharing what you think the next Wonder will be about. We can’t wait to visit Wonderopolis tomorrow to see if your guess is correct! :-)

    • It makes us SUPER happy to hear that you think Wonderopolis is full of interesting facts, Zac…we do, too! Thanks for stopping by for a WONDERful visit today and leaving us this comment! :-)

  14. The wonder was actually pretty cool, watching the plants grow from a seed into a plant. It was cool to actually see that. Now that would be cool if plants actually grow that fast, because they would be easier to plant and take care of. Well, the wonder of the day was cool. :)

    • That really WOULD be cool if plants grew that fast, Cody! Think of all the food that could be produced to quickly help hungry Wonder Friends around the world! There are LOTS of other cool ways fast-growing plants could be used, too. Thanks for helping us WONDER about that today! :-)

    • Hey there, Tavaris! We’re glad you remembered some cool science stuff you learned before after you explored this Wonder about germination! It’s really neat how plants grow, isn’t it? Have a WONDERful day! :-)

    • We’re glad you thought this Wonder about germination was COOL, Sunny! We think your comment is really COOL, too! Thanks for leaving it for us today! :-)

    • We think it’s AWESOME that you and your mom are planting new plants around your house, Jazzi! We also agree with you that it’s SUPER fun to watch plants grow! :-)

    • Thanks so much for your comment, Gianna! We appreciate your opinion and are super glad you stopped by this Wonder of the Day®. We know LOTS of Wonder Friends who think it is SUPER exciting to watch plants grow! That’s one of the cool things about visiting Wonderopolis…everyone can find Wonders that interest them! We all like different things! :-)

    • WOW, Colin! 30 plants sounds like a WONDERful Mother’s Day gift! That was very thoughtful of you and a GREAT way to show your mom how much she means to you! :-)

    • That’s a WONDERful question, Olivia! The seeds in the video for this Wonder are called “mung bean” seeds! We thought it was AWESOME to watch them sprout, didn’t you? :-)

  15. Hey, guys. I love this video. It was funny, even though plants don’t grow that fast probably like 30 days or a week, so hope you guys write back even though you always do. So, bye.

    Oh…..and look at my plant its name is smiley face

    • That’s such an AWESOME smiley face plant, Kyra! We like how it helped to “grow” some big smiles on our faces here in Wonderopolis! Thanks for sharing that you liked today’s Wonder video…we think that ROCKS! :-)

  16. I once did a experiment with a plant in second grade. A couple weeks later in second grade, it sprouted. I think it got enough water and enough sunlight for it to grow. Another time when I’m in 4th Grade, my homeroom planted tomatoes. In a few days, some of the tomato plants sprouted.

    • That’s really awesome that you got to see plants sprout in both second grade AND fourth grade, Julie! You must have really good luck with gardening! We planted some seeds in our Wonderopolis Community Garden, and they have grown into cute little pepper and tomato plants! We can’t wait to eat the veggies that grow from them later in the summer! :-)

    • Thanks so much, Brett! We’re glad you like learning in Wonderopolis…because we do, too! Have a SUPER, AWESOME, AMAZING day! :-)

    • Hi Wonder Friend, thanks for such kind words! We are THRILLED to have you WONDERing with us and we appreciate you sharing our Wonders, too! Have a SUPER day! :)

  17. We liked your video so much we watched it twice! My students thought the seeds looked like a creepy monster! This video goes with our science theme for the month the life cycle of plants and animals.

    We think tomorrow’s wonder will be about Mickey Mouse!

    • That’s SUPER news, Ms. Moreland’s WONDERful 3rd grade class!! We think it’s very cool that you are studying the life cycle of plants and animals, too! We think it’s cool to watch the roots grow in that video– sometimes we forget that a plant is growing above AND below the ground, even if we can’t always see it! We are so proud of all our Wonder Friends– thanks for sharing your comment today! :)

    • Thanks for telling us how much you enjoyed our sprouting Wonder, Darby! We are so glad you visited us to learn all about sprouts that grow! This is perfect timing, as Spring is here and the beautiful green grass is sprouting up everywhere! Do you like to garden, Darby? :)

  18. Got to go to bed by the way you are one of the best websites on the Internet in my opinion and my parents love it too. Well got to go goodnight I wonder what the next wonder of the day is bye bye!!!!!!! :o) >______> <_____<

    • We hope you had a great night’s sleep, Wonder Friend Darby! Thank you for sharing your comment and telling us how much you and your parents enjoy WONDERing with us! We all have great big smiles on our faces! :)

    • We are so glad to hear that, Marie! Thank you for telling us how much you enjoyed our Wonder about growing seeds! We Wonder if you have a garden in your classroom or at home? :)

  19. Hi, I am doing a science fair project on plants and this wonder was very helpful.

    Thanks a million,

    • Hi UNKNOWN! Plants grow at a very gradual rate, so it is almost impossible to see it grow by continuously watching it. It seems to change over time for us to notice it. Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

  20. We are planting plants in plastic bags to decide which nutrient it grows better in; soil, sun, or water. We have been studying plants and want to find out how they grow. We are putting the seed with soil in the cabinet to see how long the seed will grow without sun or water. We are going to put a seed by the window without soil or water. We are going to put a seed in a bag with water, but no sun or soil. Thank you Wonderopolis for reading and replying to our project.

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Have you ever wondered…

  • How do seeds sprout?
  • What is germination?
  • What three things do plants need to survive?


Wonder Gallery

bean seeds_shutterstock_57850783Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Ready to watch some seeds sprout right before your eyes? You don’t need a garden or a lot of space. All you need are some seeds, some soil, a container…and a little patience.

For easy-to-follow instructions and helpful tips, just jump online to check out Plant Seeds & Watch Them Grow. You’ll want to ask an adult for permission and help on this project. If you can, take plenty of pictures, so you can look back and keep track of your seeds’ growth.

When you’re finished, share your experience with other Wonder Friends by posting comments and pictures on Facebook. We can’t wait to see what your seeds turn into!


Still Wondering

Check out Science NetLinks’ Look at Those Seeds Grow! lesson to learn about the basic parts of seeds and what they need to grow into a plant.


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Wonder What’s Next?

Join us tomorrow in Wonderopolis to learn about a famous Mickey who got his start on a steamboat!

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