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Growth of a Perennial Plant

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A. Balance an onion bulb on a beaker containing water. Make sure that the water just touches the base of the bulb. Leave at room temperature for three weeks, topping up the water when necessary.

Onion bulb rooting © Shirley Burchill

B. Put some soil in a soil box so that the box is half full. Level the surface of the soil. Place a few potatoes into the soil so that about one third of the potato is covered by soil. Leave at room temperature for three weeks, watering the soil when necessary.


Carefully remove the onion and potatoes. (Wash the potatoes with running water tp remove any soil.) Observe any growth of roots, stems and leaves.

Draw the bulb and one of the potatoes.

The following drawings show the results of two potatoes which were left in soil for three weeks.

Potato development © Shirley Burchill

Potato development ©  Shirley Burchill

A. What is the plant using to grow?

B. Once the green leaves are above the soil surface, what is the plant now using to make food for growth?

C. How does the potato plant survive the winter?

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