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Why do flowers bloom?

wake-robin-trillium-vpr-lindholm-20220506.jpg
Jane Lindholm
/
VPR

Why do flowers bloom? How do flowers grow? Why are flowers different colors? Why do people find flowers beautiful? How are seeds made? Why do plants grow from seeds? Why do we put seeds in the garden? We’re answering your questions about seeds and flowers with garden writer Charlie Nardozzi and Hannes Dempewolf from The Crop Trust. Find more answers to plant questions in two of our older episodes: How Do Big Plants Grow From Such Small Seeds? and Are Seeds Alive?

Download our learning guides: PDF | Google Slide | Transcript

  • New seeds are made through pollination, plant reproduction. Pollen makes its way to the ovary of a flower in various ways. Sometimes it is spread from one flower to another by a pollinator, like a bee or hummingbird. Some flowers are called “perfect”, meaning they can reproduce with their own pollen–not the pollen from another plant. But they still need a way for their own pollen to drop onto their egg. A gentle gust of wind, or the jostling of the plant by a gardener's hand can do the trick. 
  • The flower will create the seed and then the flower structure will fade, leaving behind a seed. Sometimes it’s in a pod, sometimes it’s in a fruit or other structure to protect it. 
  • Seeds are alive, but dormant. They contain all the nutrients needed to make a new plant. That seed will wait for the right conditions to germinate and create a new plant. Some seeds only need a little moisture to germinate, others need to be submerged in water. There are many different kinds of seeds and they have different necessary conditions.
  • Flowers can be many different colors. They use those colors to attract pollinators. Those colors are created by pigments, natural colorings, in the plants.
  • Some plants only flower once per year, others can bloom multiple times. Some plants flower in spring, others in summer, and some in fall.
  • There is a lot of diversity in plants and the way they reproduce. That benefits all of us because if some plants aren’t thriving in certain conditions, other plants may do better. 

Resources

Seed sprouting experiment

Window gardening for kids

Webinar: Gardening with Kids

Jane Lindholm is the host, executive producer and creator of But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids. In addition to her work on our international kids show, she produces special projects for Vermont Public. Until March 2021, she was host and editor of the award-winning Vermont Public program Vermont Edition.
Melody is the Contributing Editor for But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids and the co-author of two But Why books with Jane Lindholm.