Easy Outdoor Gardening Activities For Kids

Plant Buddies

The plant buddies activity reveals a fascinating truth about a section of the plant kingdom. Most plants just need some soil and a little sun to sprout. But there are special plants that don't need soil at all -- instead they rely on their plant buddies to help them grow.

If you'd like to learn more about these fascinating plants, it's easy -- just take a closer look at the trees.

What You'll Need:

  • Mossy tree
  • Your own powers of observation

When you're in a forest, look for plants that grow on trees. Scientists call these plants epiphytes. Their relationship is symbiotic, a scientific word that means "living together."

Moss is an epiphyte. Look closely at moss growing on a tree.

Moss, a simple plant, does not have true roots, but tiny root-like structures help the plant cling to the side of the tree. Bits of dead bark collect and rot, providing nutrients for the moss.

You can also look for epiphytes other than moss. In some areas, licorice fern grows on oak tree limbs. Mistletoe, another epiphyte, is a parasite. Its roots bore into oaks and spruces and draw out moisture and sap.

On the next page, learn how to grow flowers in a wagon for a traveling garden.

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