Science project

Do Packaged Seeds Expire?

Research Questions:

  • What are the parts of a plant seed?
  • What causes a seed to germinate?

Seed packages have expiration dates--but does that mean they'll no longer grow if planted? In this experiment, we'll find out.


  • Packages of old, expired seeds (you'll need to ask friends and family, or ask your local gardening supply store)
  • Packages of new seeds that are the same kind/variety as the expired seeds
  • Soil with fertilizer
  • Water
  • Sunlight
  • Ruler
  • Patience

Experimental Procedure:

  1. Pick a location rich in sunlight to plant your seeds.
  2. Separate two spots for your two groups of seeds, at least six inches apart.
  3. Dig holes for your seeds. Insert your expired seeds in one section and the new seeds in the other. Cover the holes up.
  4. Water the seeds every day with the same amount of water.
  5. Observe the seeds daily and see which one germinates first.
  6. If growth is spotted, measure the height with your ruler and record the measurement.
  7. Compare the heights when several weeks have passed and note any significant differences.

Suggested Chart


Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Day 4
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Old Seeds








New Seeds









Terms/Concepts: Plant growth process; germination; Photosynthesis; Seeds; Water



Rabinowitch E, Govindjee (1969). Photosynthesis. London: J. Wiley. ISBN 0-471-70424-5.

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