The Science of Spring Blooms

Easy on the eyes, but rough on the nose. That’s the sentiment a lot of people have about springtime. The blooming plants are bright and beautiful and signal a start to warmer weather, but the pollen can be a pain! Trillions (that’s right, trillions) of plants will bloom in the Northern Hemisphere alone this spring, so here’s a little bit about the process they’ll go through to show off their botanical beauty.


When plants bloom in the springtime, it’s a natural part of their lifecycle. They have to bloom in order to survive. Certain plants, specifically 300,000 of them, also spread pollen during their bloom for reproduction. Pollen contains microscopic plant grains that are transported by means of wind, insects, and other types of animals, and can travel up to 100 meters!


Something a lot of people don’t realize is that plants actually need to spend time in the cold in order to live. When November comes along and the days get shorter, cold settles in around the plants. They need to be in an environment below 45° for at least 1,000 hours every winter season to help regulate their growth. Plants can stay dormant as long as 6 months… that’s how long a black bear is in hibernation!


Does every plant automatically bloom when the temperatures rise? Not exactly. A gene called APETALA1 gathers signals about the temperature and sunlight around the plant on a daily basis. Once it’s above 50° and there’s plenty of sunlight during the day, APETALA1 activates over 1,000 genes in the plant, which all work together to make it bloom.


Imagine if every human on Earth had their own garden of over 140 plants… That’s how many plants this process will happen to this upcoming spring season!