The entire life cycle for Fast Plants® is extremely short, and under ideal growing conditions of continuous light, water, and nutrition, plants will produce harvestable seeds approximately 40 days after planting.

  • Day 0
    Each seed contains a tiny, new plant, called an embryo. The outside of the seed is called the seed coat. A seed can remain quiescent (sleeping) for years, as long as it stays dry and cool.

    Days 1-2
    A day or two after planting and watering, the tiny seed germinates. During germination, the seed takes up water and swells until its seed coat cracks.

  • Day 3
    The hypocotyl (stem) pushes through the soil, pulling the cotyledons (seed leaves) along with it. No longer needed, the seed coat drops from the cotyledons to the soil.

  • Day 4
    Above ground, the hypocotyl elongates as the plant reaches upward for light. Underground, the roots grow downward and anchor the seedling in the soil.

  • Days 5-8
    Above ground, the true leaves, stems grow and develop from a point at the very top of the plant, called the shoot meristem (growth tip). Underground root hairs grow to absorb water and nutrients from the surrounding soil and bring them to the rest of the plant.

  • Days 9-13
    Around day 9 the plant begins to turn to reproduction, shifting from stem and leaf growth to flower development. Flower buds grow from the shoot meristem (growth tip).

  • Day 14-17
    Flowers bloom! If pollen is passed from flower-to-flower, pollination occurs. Pollen that lands on the tip of another flower's pistil grows a tube down into the pistil, where the eggs are housed. Sperm (from inside the pollen) then move down the tube until they reach the eggs and fertilize them.

  • Days 18-20
    Fertilized eggs inside the plant's pistils grow and develop to become the embryos of new seeds. The outside of the pistil swells and becomes the seed pod (or fruit) that encases several seeds.

  • Days 21-40
    Flower petals slowly wilt and fall off and seed pods Inside each seed is a tiny embryo, waiting for water and warmth so it can germinate into a new plant, and another life cycle can begin. After the seeds have dried out completely, they are ready to be planted or stored.

The days listed here are a general guide. The rate of growth may vary depending on temperature, soil type, humidity, light, and other environmental factors. Refer to the Troubleshooting page if you think your plants are growing too slowly.

Fast Plants® Life Cycle Time Lapse Video

Life Cycle Activities

Visit our Digital Library for LIfe Cycle Activities »

Download the 32-page booklet below, containing complete instructions for activities at each life cycle stage (includes important background information about plant physiology and how to grow Fast Plants®).

Growth, Development and Reproduction Activities with Fast Plants®

Growth, Development and Reproduction kit is available. You can also conduct all the investigations explained in the booklet using seeds from a packet of Standard Wisconsin Fast Plants® seeds (or seeds from Fast Plants you grow yourself) and your own potting mix and growing system. Either way, you'll need to plan for providing adequate light. Learn about all these factors in the How to Grow files on this website.
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