The life cycle of a dandelion has three different stages: germination, flowering and reproduction. The germination stage is concerned with the seed taking root and starting to grow. The flowering stage involves the plant growing a stem and a flower, and the reproductive stage deals with the plant developing seeds and preparing for winter.
The germination stage starts when a seed lands in conditions that are right for it to grow. These conditions usually include moist soil that gets plenty of sunlight and has a temperature of about 77 degrees Fahrenheit. The seedling stage, when the plant develops leaves and roots, also occurs during germination. Dandelions are typically in the seedling stage for eight to 15 weeks.
The next stage is flowering. Before the plant flowers, it must grow a stem that is 6 to 24 inches in length. This marks the beginning of the flowering stage. Dandelions are hardy, and even if they are moved or eaten they can still come back to flower.
The reproductive stage begins when the flower changes into dozens of little seeds. Dandelions are asexual, so they do not need pollen to reproduce. The seeds are attached to white floating structures called pappuses, and when they are ready, they float away from the original plant and germinate elsewhere. After a dandelion has lost its seeds, it goes dormant in the winter, but emerges in the spring to create new flowers.