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Welcome to my Spring Series called “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool”. Today’s post is by yours truly and what my son and I discovered during our bulb experiment. Make sure to check out other posts in this series and guest author bios by clicking on “Bringing Spring into your Homeschool” under Blog in the menu.

Learning about Bulbs: Results and Conclusion

Written by Amber Marie | May 7, 2018

About four weeks ago, my son and I did an experiment with bulbs (see more here). We dissected and talked about the different parts of a bulb. We then forced them to grow in glass vases. Needless to say I was very surprised how quickly the hyacinths grew and bloomed. From the day we “planted” them, it only took 7 days for them to get to full bloom! During this week long experiment, my son and I made observations about the bulbs growth along with others. There were some interesting discoveries that I came to analyze and took note of.

In a science experiment, one follows the scientific method. The scientific method abides by the steps of purpose, hypothesis, materials, procedure, results, and conclusion. In my previous post, I covered the purpose, hypothesis, materials and procedure. This week I’m sharing with you our results and four conclusions we found after completing the experiment.

Quick Blooms

Over the course of the week, my son and I observed the growth of three bulbs we had “planted” in vases to force grow. There were many interesting discoveries we made along the way. Every few days I would have my son sketch a picture of what he saw with the hyacinths’ growth. It was the cutest thing to see him wake every morning and race down the stairs to see how much they had grown. As I mentioned above, it only took a week for the hyacinths to grow and bloom. Our original hypothesis was two to three weeks and was based on the research we had done prior to our experiment.

I took this opportunity to ask my son questions about why he thought the flowers bloomed so quickly. We came to the conclusion that because we “planted” them when they already had roots and were sprouting, it must of sped up the process. In the future (this winter) we plan to try this experiment again starting from chilled bulbs. 

Day 1
Day 3
Day 5

Roots and Height

Another observations we made was about the size of each plant. In the beginning of the experiment we “planted” three bulbs in vases. All of them had already sprouted and were about the same height when we transferred them. However, over the week of growth and bloom, we observed a significant difference between the three plants. One was very small, one was of medium height, and the last was very tall.

At first this fact surprised us, until we began looking back at our photos of the experiment. When looking through the pictures, it is clear that one of the bulbs had very little roots left, one had a good amount, and the last had a lot of roots. The difference in the amount of roots was do to the process of removing the bulbs from the dirt and gently cleaning them before the transfer to the vase. What we concluded was that the bulb with very little roots was the smaller of the plants (this was confirmed because we could see the roots through the glass vase). The tallest plant was the bulb with the most roots. My son and I discussed this further by hypothesizing (for a future experiment) that if we start three bulbs in the vase before roots have grown, that they will all grow the same height. Guess we’ll find out this winter.

Oh Mr. Sun

Sun. An important ingredient for a growing plant. My son and I found out that even though we were forcing the bulbs indoors, the sun was a much needed part of each bulbs growth. When we first began our experiment, I kept the bulbs indoors near a window. It wasn’t until the third and fourth day that I put them out on our front porch for the day. It was incredible what the sun’s rays did for these bulbs in that short amount of time. All but one began to bloom and the last bloomed the very next day. Of course direct sunlight is always best for these types of flowers, but in the future when we attempt this experiment again, we’ll try having one bulb outdoors and one bulb indoors the entire time to see what differences each bulb displays.

Tallest bulb at full bloom (Day 7)

Water and the Bulb

The final observation we made related to the amount of water we placed in the vases. Originally we stuck with keeping the level of water below the base of the bulb, which was recommended by others who had attempted this same experiment. However, we felt the roots were drying out and could tell that parts of the flower were not getting water when we saw some browning on the leaves. After taking this into account, we decided to fill the water high enough to cover the base of the bulb. Unfortunately, with the way we used the river rocks and placed the bulbs in the vase, it was difficult to determine exactly where the base of the bulb was located. After a few days, an awful odor started coming from each vase. With further investigation we found that we had filled the water too high and it began to rot the bulbs. We tried to remedy the mistake by drying them out in the sun but the damage had been done and by day eight and nine the flowers began wilting and the plant began to die.

My son and I talked about how we could fix this dilemma the next time and came up with a few ideas. First, we used two different sized river rocks but we mixed them throughout the whole vase. Instead of mixing them all together, we will use the larger rocks on the bottom to allow more room for roots to grow. On top of the bigger river rocks we will place the bulb and then surround it with the smaller river rocks for support. Not only would this allow the roots to grow more through the gaps in the larger rocks, but it would give us a marker for how high to fill the vase with water. I’ll make sure to update this post when we do this experiment again in the fall/winter.

The results and conclusions of this experiment were very eye opening not only when learning about plants, but when learning about the importance of the scientific method. When conducting this experiment, I knew it was important to not only complete the early steps of the scientific process with my son, but to also visit the later steps of results and conclusions. This helped my son learn that not all experiments work out perfectly and we must learn from our mistakes to fix future experiment results. Kind of sounds like a great life lesson as well. Overall, both my son and I thoroughly enjoyed this experiment and can’t wait to test out our new theories the next time we visit the task of “forcing bulbs”.

Check out more about the beginning of our experiment by clicking the image below.

Amber Marie

Welcome to my homeschooling blog. I’m a former educator turned homeschool mom. Homeschooling is a relatively new adventure for our family. Click my picture to learn more about my story and why I homeschool my family.

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