Plants provide a hands-on way for students to learn about biology, ecology and different environmental processes. It is best to allow a number of months for growing plants for science projects, particularly if it is your first time keeping a plant. However, if you are pressed for time in making a school project that requires plant growth, there are many plants that grow fast, allowing you to make up for lost time.
Bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants on the planet. Because bamboo growth is facilitated by rhizomes, the plant can grow up to 39 inches per day, dependent on species, soil type and other growing conditions. Bamboo also provides many opportunities for students to learn and understand plant growth and how it is affected by soil and environmental conditions; they can also study the rhizome growing process. For a school project, students can grow two or three bamboo plants, exposing them to different amounts of sunlight, humidity and water, and then compare growth rates.
For a showier plant, sunflowers are one of the fastest germinating and growing flowering plants around. Under the right conditions, sunflowers can go from seed germination to flowering within a month, and due to their dramatic colour, large size and thick stalks, their growth is easy to observe for science projects. Students can document the growing process of sunflowers in different soil and light conditions, experimenting with direct sunlight and different amounts of water to see which fosters the fastest growth. They can present their findings in graphs and in a final report, along with a beautiful sunflower itself.
Several other flowers can grow in a short time period and provide attractive results for students. Marigolds and the morning glory cultivar "Early Call" typically germinate in less than a week and can grow from seeds to flowers within three months, under the right conditions. They are both very easy to grow and can become quite hardy. Students can learn about the difference between perennials and annuals as they observe the growth of these plants.
If students have up to three months to do their projects on fast-growing plants, there are many more options. For instance, basil and zucchini can both grow within three months, allowing students to observe their development over a longer period. Both of these plants are also very hardy, which can be helpful for the beginning botanist. Additionally, mung beans can sprout within a month, but germinate slowly, so students can learn about the varying times it takes for a plant to come to fruition.