See What Happens When a Seed Germinates (and Why It Might Not)

What happens when a seed germinates? Learn about the magic of seed germination, the process of a seed swelling and rupturing (what we call sprouting), and how to identify all the different parts of a seed and seedling.

By understanding seed anatomy and the science behind germination, you'll be better equipped to troubleshoot common seed starting problems.

No matter how many times I’ve seen it, the magic of germination still awes me as if it was the first time.

Germination occurs when all the proper variables are in place for that particular variety (oxygen, temperature, light or darkness) and the seed coat absorbs water, causing it to swell and rupture.

The first sign of life comes from the radicle, a little white tail that eventually becomes the primary root of the plant.

The role of the radicle is to anchor the plant in the ground and start absorbing water.

Once it absorbs water, a rudimentary stem called a hypocotyl emerges and the cotyledons start to unfurl, often taking the seed coat with them as they rise above the soil.

I like to call them seed hats, as sometimes they’re never shed from the cotyledons and end up looking like little berets.

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