Difference Between Seeds and Bulbs (With Table)

Planting a garden depends on a lot of factors. The soil type, the plants to be planted, water and nutrient requirements, are some of the things to be kept a note of while deciding to grow a garden. One of the factors in deciding whether to use seeds or bulbs of the plants to be grown.

Seeds vs Bulbs

The main difference between Seeds and Bulbs is that Seeds are the embryonic state of a plant and they can lie dormant for long periods before they can begin their germination under the right environmental conditions. Bulbs on the other hand are plants that grow and live under the ground surface.

Seeds are the first stage in the life cycle of a plant. Seeds are formed after the species of the plant has been pollinated. They are the embryonic state of the plant and are often covered in a shell-like coat which could either be hard or soft, and this coat is required to store the food.

Bulbs are plants that grow and live under the surface of the ground. Bulb shoots develop leaves on the top part of the bulb and the leaves break through the ground surface. The food for the bulb is brought in from the leaves and the root which are then stored in the base of the bulb.

Comparison Table Between Seeds and Bulbs

Parameters of Comparison SeedsBulbs
Definition Seeds are the embryonic stage of a plantBulbs are plants that grow under the ground surface 
Growth Seeds germinate under the right conditions The bulb is a modified stem and growth happens from the base of the stem
Lifetime Seeds can be annual, perennial, and biennial Almost all Bulbs are perennial 
External coatMost seeds contain an external coating that protects the inside of the seeds and also holds the structure of the seedThe globe part of the Bulb itself is the coating that holds the nutrients for the stem inside the bulb
Planting Seeds are sown by placing on the ground and covering with soil Bulbs have to be planted by digging a hole in the ground to the right depth 

What is Seeds?

Seeds are the first stage in the life cycle of a plant. They are the embryonic stage of the plant and are formed after the plant has been pollinated. 

Seeds have a coating on the outer surface which could either be hard or soft and it holds the structure of the seed. The coating also holds the nutrients inside the seed.

As it is the embryonic stage of the plant, seeds need to germinate for the plant to grow. The germination only occurs if the right environmental conditions are met, including the soil type, availability of nutrients such as ample water and fertilizers, weather, temperature, and so on.

Thus as the weather and environmental factors play a huge role in the growth of the plan, the seeds can be annual, perennial, and biennial.

Thus the maintenance required for growing a plant from the seed is more compared to bulbs and shoots.

While most seeds are dispersed from their flowering plants during pollination, some need to be sown. Seeds are sown by placing on the ground and covering with soil. 

The depth and the amount of soil for covering the seed must be noted as these factors are different for different plants.

What is Bulbs?

Bulbs are plants that grow under the surface of the ground. Unlike seeds, which are the embryonic stage of a plant, Bulbs are the entire plants that grow from within the ground surface.

Bulbs do not require germination for growing, as these are already fully formed. The bulb is also known as a modified stem, as the actual base of the stem is contained inside the globe part of the bulb.

A Bulb consists of a large globe part, a small bud on top of the globe, and the stem base inside the globe. The globe part of the Bulb holds the nutrients required for the growth of the Bulb.

The stem is the main growing part of the bulb and the bud on top of the bulb grows into the leaves. Thus the leaves break through the ground surface after the bud has developed.   

Unlike seeds which could be annual, perennial, and biennial, almost all Bulbs are perennial and thus they die off in the winter season. The next Bulb grows from the remains of the root of the last Bulb.

The nutrients required for the Bulb are partly obtained from the roots and the leaves, and the rest are stored in the globe of the Bulb.  

Main Differences Between Seeds and Bulbs

  1. Seeds are the embryonic stage of a plant, whereas Bulbs are plants that grown underground.
  2. Seeds germinate under the right conditions, whereas Bulbs are modified stems that grow during the year
  3. Seeds can be annual, perennial and biennial whereas most Bulbs are perennial.
  4. Seeds contain a protective outer coating which protects the inner part of the seed and also holds the structure of the seeds. In case of Bulbs, the globe part of the bulb acts like a protective coating.
  5. Seeds are sown by placing on the ground and covering with soil, whereas Bulbs must planted at the right depth for growing.

Conclusion

Different plants have different growth requirements, including different types of weather requirements, water and nutritional requirements, and soil conditions. Similarly, the planting techniques used for planting different plants are also different.

Both Seeds and Bulbs are used for planting different types of plants. But Seeds and Bulbs are completely different plant products.

Seeds are the embryonic stage of a plant, whereas Bulbs are the entire plants that grow under the ground surface. As Seeds are the embryonic stage of a plant, they must germinate first for the plant to form. 

This is not the case with Bulbs, as they are already fully formed plant stems. Thus Bulbs are also known as modified stems of a plant.

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1023/A:1004321331708
  2. https://www.apsnet.org/publications/plantdisease/backissues/Documents/1982Articles/PlantDisease66n01_87.PDF
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