What Happens During the Process of Germination?

happens-during-process-germination Credit: Getty Images/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Germination takes place in three steps or stages and takes the young seed from a dormant state to the very beginning stage of growing as a seedling. Germination takes place in plants, flowers and trees: this process is to members of the plant family what metamorphosis is to insects such as moths and butterflies. The process requires several critical ingredients to begin, including water, sunlight and nutrients.

In preparation for the journey through germination, seeds stock up on supplies of essential nutrients and minerals, including carbohydrates, proteins and lipids. Despite gathering food supplies, however, seeds remain dormant until inundated with hundreds of tiny water molecules. Water helps seeds process and digest the food that they have stored up to that point; upon digesting food, seeds turn fuel into glucose and other forms of energy that they can use to grow. As seeds continue to ingest water, they swell and expand to the point where pressure becomes overwhelming. High pressure signals the tough outer shells of the seeds to burst open, exposing the tiny buds to light. This triggers the second stage of germination, which prepares seeds for rapid growth. During the second stage, young seedlings generate roots and leaves; the final stage of germination involves the unfurling of leaves and extension of roots, which enable young seedlings to sprout and grow.