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What is germination?

The growth of a seed into a young plant or a seedling is called germination.


In this lesson we are going to learn about the growth of a seed into a young plant which is called germination. Learn the lesson and try ‘Seed Germination Quiz’ at the end of the lesson to check your knowledge.


Example of the steps of germination


Structure of a seed


First of all, let’s learn the three main parts of a seed.

  • Embryo
  • Food Store (Stored food)
  • Seed coat

Example of the structure of a seed



This is the tiny plant inside the seed which will develop into the adult plant. It consists of the young root and shoot of the plant.


Food store

These are food stored by the parent plant. Also, known as stored food, which is starch. Young plant uses this stored food until it is large enough to make its own food by the process of photosynthesis. (Click to read the lesson Photosynthesis)


Seed coat

This is the hard protective outer covering around the embryo and the food store. Seed coat protects the embryo and the food store.


The embryo rests inside the seed until the conditions are right for it to start to grow.

E.g. – Similarly, some seeds can stay in this resting state for hundreds of years.


Starting to grow


What is germination?

The growth of a seed into a young plant or a seedling is called germination.


Examples of the conditions (factors) that plants need to germinate

  • Water – Helps the seed to swell up, so that the embryo can start growing
  • Warmth – Speeds up and improves the process of germination
  • Air (oxygen) – Releases energy for the embryo to germinate

Watch the video of seed germination and read the steps of germination below to understand about how germination takes place.

Steps of Germination


  • When conditions are right the seed starts to take in water.
  • As water is taken in, the seed swells bigger and bigger until the coat splits apart.
  • Air can then get to the seed. So, the oxygen in the air helps the baby plant burn the food packed inside the seed.
  • Burning the food produces energy. As a result, the baby plant uses the energy to grow.
  • A tiny root grows downwards whereas a shoot begins to grow upwards.
  • The shoot develops and reaches toward the light while the root system develops deep in the soil.
  • The cotyledon later become the first leaves of the seedling when the seed germinates.
  • Tiny leaves sprout at the end of the shoot letting Photosynthesis to take place. These are called foliage leaves. They give the baby plant energy, until it gets its own green leaves to photosynthesise.
  • The primary root grows longer and thicker together with the secondary roots. The leaves grow larger.
  • Finally, More and more leaves grow and the stem becomes thicker and stronger.

Example of the steps of germination


Try Seed Germination Quiz