Step Four – Experiment with Seeds

Almost There! Let’s test your new knowledge of soils by planting seeds.

By the end of this step, you will plant one of your group’s six chosen native plant seeds. But first, we must understand how plants will grow from seeds!

Watch this video to learn about the seed’s journey to becoming a plant

Let’s Learn about Germination

There is one very important word that you will need to know when growing your own native plants; germination!

Seed germination is the “emergence of a new plant from a seed”. 

Here’s another video to watch about the germination process.

REAL-LIFE Plant Growth!

Now that you’re a master at plant growth and germination, watch the videos below to see the process of real-life plant growth:

Watch this video to learn about Sunflower Seeds Germination and Growth Time Lapse

What’s Happening in the Real-Life Plant videos?

What’s growing in these time-lapse videos? Watch the videos below to learn more about plant parts:

PART 1: Watch the Growing Process
(whole troop activity) 

Jersey-Friendly Plant

Plant The Seeds:

Sunflower & Partridge Pea

Now, you will watch the growing process in real life!

Your troop leader will model planting two plants with your troop; a Sunflower and a Partridge Pea. As your troop leader is planting the seeds, make sure to pay close attention to the steps!

Native Plant

How long does it take for these plants to grow?


Remember when you watched the sunflower grow from a seedling (Time Lapse of A Sunflower From Seed to Flower)? This video was was sped up to be a very quick little film – ONLY 2 minutes and 23 seconds! 

This sunflower took 80 to 120 days to grow (Growing Sunflowers: When to Plant and How to Grow Sunflowers). Sunflowers are not a native plant to New Jersey, however, are Jersey-Friendly plants.


Your troop leader will also model planting a Partridge Pea plant. This plant is native to New Jersey. While watching these two plants grow, you’ll notice that they will not grow at the same speed.

The partridge pea takes about 7 to 25 days to germinate (Partridge Pea Plant Guide).

The sunflower and partridge pea are also beneficial to New Jersey’s environment.

As shown in the Jersey-Friendly Yards databases, the sunflower blooms in the summer and attracts pollinators such as bees and butterflies (Helianthus annuus). On the other hand, the native partridge pea blooms during the late summer to early fall and attracts pollinators, butterflies, and birds (Chamaecrista fasciculata).

PART 2: Let’s Get Down To Business

Now,re-join your groups or pairs from Step 3. Decide on one of the six natives plants from your My Story Book creation that you and your group will grow together. 

Grow your plant in the soil that you had tested in Step 3. Stick to the plants that you’ve learned will grow happily in your soil! Use the Jersey-Friendly Yards database to get all the information to make your group decision!

While deciding on which plant your group would like to grow, consider the following:

  • What wildlife you would like to attract?
  • Remember the ecoregion your soil comes from.
  • What colors you want to see in your garden?
  • Is plant one you want to add to your own garden in the future?

Once you have decided your native plant, tell your leader so you can begin to grow your seeds!

Miss Plant Detective

Let’s begin our detective work!

Use your observational skills to record how long it will take for your plant to grow! Answer these questions to figure out the predicted growth rate of your native plant.

Understand that some group’s plants will grow faster than others and that’s okay! This final part of Step 4 will take a long time, so please wait for instructions from your troop leader to move onto Step 5.

Continue to check your native plant while working on Step 5 (your troop leader will remind you)!

Let your troop leader know when you have completed the Activity.

Congratulations! You completed Step 4 of your Girl Scout Gardener Badge!

Please wait for your leader’s instruction before moving onto Step 5!

Click Here to go back to the main Gardener Badge Page.