Written by Michelle Tran

Edited by Kiritika Rana

Designed by Tvisha Lakhani

Published by Kiritika Rana


The term “Germination” revolves around growing seeds into a plant. A seed goes through multiple stages to sprout into a seedling. Germination happens after the seed dormancy stage. Once the seed passes that stage, it continues the process of germination.


Seed Dormancy

A seed goes through a dormant stage so that the seed can survive during unfavourable circumstances (Bewley, 1997; Finch-Savage and Leubner–Metzger, 2006). During this stage, the coat of the seed becomes resistant to water and gases, restricting water uptake and oxygen exchange. The seed also can not perform germination.

Note that the time for a seed to germinate may depend.


Steps of Germination (BYJU’S, n.d.):

  1. IMBITION: The seed coat softens and swells, caused by the seed taking in water quickly in an appropriate environment.
  2. The enzymes in the seed begin activating and start to respire and produce proteins. It also begins metabolizing stored food.
  3. After the seed coat breaks, a radicle sprouts from the roots. The roots begin absorbing underground water.
  4. The plumule (shoot system/stem of the plant) shoots up and begins to grow upwards.
  5. FINAL: The cells of the seed become metabolically active, growing and dividing to assist the plant in rising.


Seed Growth

Before the swelling of the seed, the embryo of the seed absorbs the water obtained, causing it to expand and slowly break the seed coat. During the first stage of germination (imbition) the embryo actively grows to the point where it produces the radicle of the seed. However, some plants may produce the shoot or plumule first before the radicle (Heslop-Harrison, 2023).


Appropriate Environment

For a seed to germinate, it needs to be in an appropriate environment, but what exactly does this mean?

The seed must have access to:

  1. Enough Water (not too much not too little)
  2. Oxygen (for cellular respiration and photosynthesis)
  3. Preferred Temperature and Climate
  4. Light (Some plants prefer nighttime, but most require sunlight)

Depending on the plant, it may have other triggers, but most plants need these necessities to go into germination.


Germination at Home

There are many fun experiments to demonstrate germination at home. All you need are seeds, paper towels, water, and a container (with a lid)!


  1. Arrange 1 paper towel at the bottom of the container, and cut/adjust the size if needed.
  2. Place your seeds on top of the paper towel.
  3. Pour enough water (depending on your seed) into the container.
  4. Allow the water to soak into the paper towel.
  5. Wrap the seeds in the soaked paper towel.
  6. Close the container and leave it in an area that is exposed to sunlight.

After a timely manner, your seeds will produce their stem and radicle. The type of seeds you use may affect the germination timing, but you’ll be able to see how the germination process happens all within your home!


After Germination

The plant will not be fully grown after germination. However, if they are put into a soil pot and are efficiently taken care of, they will have the potential to grow into a full plant that can produce fruits, vegetables, flowers, and many more things the flower can grow. Treat the germinated seeds as a grown plant, and check if they need water regularly to ensure the seeds absorb enough moisture and nutrients.




Work Cited

BYJU’S. “Seed germination – Process, Necessity, and its Major Factors.” BYJU’S, https://byjus.com/biology/seed-germination/. Accessed 4 January 2024.

Bewley J. D. (1997). Seed Germination and Dormancy. The Plant Cell, 9(7), 1055–1066. 


Finch-Savage, W. E., & Leubner-Metzger, G. (2006, August). Seed dormancy and the control of 

germination. New Phytologist, 171(3), 523. https://nph.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-8137.2006.01787.x

Heslop, J. (1999, May 3). Germination | Description, Process, Diagram, Stages, Types, & Facts. 

Britannica. Retrieved November 2, 2023, from https://www.britannica.com/science/germination

Lastochkina, Oksana. “File:Germination of wheat seeds in Petri dish.jpg.” Wikimedia Commons, 23 July 2015, https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Germination_of_wheat_seeds_in_Petri_dish.jpg. Accessed 4 January 2024.