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Grow Your Own Beanstalk

Spring is here! Daylight hours are getting longer, baby animals are about to be born, and flowers are ready to bloom in a rainbow of colors. Celebrate the transition from winter to spring by growing your own beanstalks indoors. Kids of all ages will love seeing the amazing transformation from dried bean to plant right before their eyes.



glass jar

cotton balls


dried beans


InstructionsSprouting a bean

Wet a large handful of cotton balls and place them in the glass jar. The cotton should be wet, but not dripping, and no water should pool in the glass.

Wedge dried beans between the cotton balls and the side of the jar. Use at least two beans so that if there is something wrong with one of them, the other will grow.

Make predictions about what will happen and observe your beans twice a day. Add a few drops of water to the cotton balls each day to keep them moist. You should start seeing changes after just a single day!


What’s happening?

Each dried bean contains a tiny plant in embryo form. Its tough outer skin protects the baby plant and all the nutrients it needs to grow. The bean is dormant until it comes in contact with water. As the bean absorbs water, it expands until the protective skin splits. Oxygen reaches the plant, which helps it use the food packed inside to grow.

After the skin splits, look for the roots to emerge. They will grow downward to help anchor the plant in the soil (or in this case, the cotton balls). A young shoot will appear, and then the first leaves will appear. Now the young plant is able to make its own food from sunlight using photosynthesis.


Next StepsBeanstalk growing

Leave your beanstalk in the glass jars to continue making observations, or transplant it into soil. (Use a pot and leave the beanstalk indoors if there is still a risk of frost outdoors where you live.) Do some research to find out whether the variety of bean you planted likes to grow on a trellis or along the ground. With proper care and a little bit of luck, your beanstalk with grow tall and might even reward you with a fresh crop of beans to enjoy!


Take It Further

You don’t have to plant just one type of bean in a single jar. It’s extra fun to compare the growth of different types of beans. Use multiple jars and test as many different types of beans that you can find!