It’s almost spring! Soon you’ll see flowers blooming all over the place. Today you’re going to become a gardener and plant your own flower bulbs!
What is a bulb?
A bulb is like a plant’s lunch box. It’s completely packed with nutrients for your plant to draw from. Check out the image below for an example of a bulb.
The biggest difference is that seeds are baby plants that haven’t grown yet, while bulbs are mature plants that have already grown up before. The process that a plant goes through to sprout from its shell is called germination. We learned about this when we watched beans grow: http://www.discoveryexpresskids.com/blog/a-plant-is-born-seed-germination.
A bulb has already gone through germination and become a mature plant. When the plant is out of season, the bulb lies dormant. When the time is right, the bulb uses its stored energy to grow again.
For more information, read the link below and create a t-chart to help define the differences between seeds and bulbs.
There are two main types of bulbs: hardy bulbs and tender bulbs. Hardy bulbs are planted in the fall, survive the cold winter, and bloom in the spring. Tender bulbs are planted in the spring and bloom in the summer. The bulbs you are going to use today are tender bulbs.
Soon after being planted, a bulb produces roots. When the time is right, the bulb uses its stored energy to create a stem, leaves, and flowers. The bulbs below have already produced their shoots:
Now that you know about bulbs and how they grow, you are going to plant your own!
* Flower bulbs (you can find these at most home improvement stores, or even your local grocery store)
* Clear pots or large containers
Here’s what to do!
1. Select three containers. Fill one half full with rocks, one half full with pebbles, and one half full with sand.
2. Place a flower bulb on the surface of each container. Make sure the root side is facing down.
3. Pour water into each container until the water level reaches the base of the bulb.
4. Make a prediction, which bulb will grow the best? Will there be a difference between the three?
5. Place all three containers in an area where they will get plenty of sun. Make sure to continue to add water whenever the water level goes down. Your plant needs plenty of hydration to grow!
6. Write down your observations each day. Record the first day that you see roots produced.
7. Record the first day that a stem pops out from the bulb. Measure the height of the plants each week. Which plant seems to be doing the best?
8. Create a graph to chart your plants’ growth.
1. Fill three containers half full with rocks, pebbles, or marbles. You choose, but make sure you use the same for all three.
2. Select three different types of flower bulbs.
3. Place a bulb in each container. Fill the containers with water until the water reaches the bottom of the bulb.
4. Check the water level of your containers each day and add water when necessary.
5. Observe your plants each day. Record the first day that roots are produced in each container.
6. Record the first day that you see a stem start growing. Measure your plants each week. Compare the rate of growth for your three plants. Record your measurements and make a graph to track your plants’ growth.
Check out our blog on bean germination for another fun gardening activity: http://www.discoveryexpresskids.com/blog/a-plant-is-born-seed-germination