Life Cycle - Plants (3A)
Post Lab 

  • Comparing how plants reproduce.
  • Contrasting the growth rate of different plants.


  • leaf
  • stem
  • potting soil
  • glasses with water
    containers for rooting plants
  • plant cuttings
  • plastic wrap


Students grow a plant from cuttings.

Sugarcane fields with palm trees in the background.


Many plants can reproduce either sexually (seeds) or vegetatively (asexual), utilizing other plant parts. Whole plants can be grown from stems, leaves or roots, if the right plant is chosen. The following are some suggestions that can be used to illustrate vegetative reproduction.

Stems: Ivy, potato tubers, bamboo and iris rhizome, bulbs of various kinds (bulbs are actually modified shoots), crocus or gladiolus, corn, Philodendron, Monstera (split-leaf philodendron), strawberry and spider plant offsets. (Many others will grow, even hardwoods, but they take a lot of time and effort.)

Roots: Japanese anemone, Oriental poppy, trumpet creeper, blackberry, raspberry, lily of the Nile, and any other plant that produces sprouts from roots. (The roots you plant will show no visible growth buds, the buds develop after the root cutting is planted.)

Leaves: Begonias, African violets, various succulents, sansevieria, piggy back plant (if leaf has plantlet), and Bryophyllum.


  1. Instruct the students to bring a variety of plant parts from home to demonstrate vegetative reproduction. Have a few plants on hand yourself for kids who do not contribute and so that you have a few that you know will work (see list above). Plant the parts in soil or water and keep them moist, but not soggy as to avoid rotting the plant part. Remember that not all parts of a plant can sprout. So try and instruct students to bring in stems that look like they may be sprouting "air" roots (i.e. ivy).
  2. Sprouting can take anywhere from a few days (some kinds of leaves or stems in water) to a few weeks (some tubers and rhizomes). It is best to keep the plants out of direct sunlight. Instruct the children to guess which will be first and keep a record of all the plants, since all the plants may not sprout. In most cases, with the exception of stems, do not make the cuttings "sit" in stagnant water, aeration will help promote growth.
  3. Use plastic wrap to cover the roots, to keep plants and soil from drying out.

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