The Life Cycle Of Flowering Plants – Flowering plants have evolved in many different ways to help them reproduce and survive in a range of habitats. Knowing how plants function and understanding their life cycles will make it much easier for you to grow them satisfactorily and work out an interesting planting plan in your own garden. There are four steps in the life cycle of a flowering plant:
1. Germination. Once the seeds have fallen from a plant, they are stimulated into growth only when they have enough water, light and warmth. Seeds of some flowers such as alpines must experience a period of cold before they will germinate.
Others may require their seed coat to be nicked or ‘sandpapered’ to allow the seed to absorb water. In nature this happens when, for example, the seed travels through the digestive system of an animal or bird.
2. Growth. Seed leaves (cotyledons) appear first, then true leaves grow to build up food reserves for the young plants.
3. Maturity. The first leaves and stem rapidly develop into a mature shoot system. Their initial function is to gather energy from sunlight, essential for photosynthesis, which uses a complex series of chemical reactions to produce glucose from carbon dioxide. The initial growth of the leaves often slows down to allow the plant to put its energy into developing flowers. All the plant’s energies are now focused into flowering and reproduction.
4. Seed formation. The flowers have been fertilized and develop into fruit containing seeds, which ripen and disperse.