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A Bit about Buds
Which Bud?
buds labeled on firecracker plant
A firecracker plant labeled with buds
Oh, Bud! Whatcha Doing?

What are Some Things a Bud Might be Doing?

Buds are growth tissues on plants. Buds will grow the cells to make stems, leaves, and flowers. Buds will release hormones to other plants parts so that plants grow or heal or flower. Buds have names so they can be identified. What a bud does is called its function.

The Plant that was Labeled
Images of the above labeled firecracker plant

What does the Firecracker Plant Look Like?

These pictures show the flowering tip at the end of the stem and the lower part of the stem. The lower stem is the plant picture that is labeled above.

Can you spot the buds? 

Can you Find the Buds?
Examples of Buds

Locate the Buds on these Plants. 

Buds and Pruning

A stem that grows upward from the terminal bud makes the plant taller. 

When you prune a plant, you cut off the terminal buds. Such an injury releases growth hormones that cause the lateral buds to become more active. The effect is a fuller, prettier plant because new stems will grow from the lateral buds. 

When you prune a plant, you usually cut the stem diagonally between two lateral buds. Some plants will have bud clusters at the same level on a stem. In that case, cut between bud clusters.

Some plants only grow during certain times of the year. If you cut the buds before the plant is to grow, the growth for the year will be affected. For some plants this turns on the growth hormone and the plant grows more. For others, cutting off the buds stops the plant from growing much that year. For some plants, like azalea and wisteria, pruning the stems just before the plants develop the flower buds decreases the number of flowers that will grow. Azaleas and wisterias are best pruned after the flowers have bloomed.

How does the Garden Grow? 

Visit The Discovery Garden often. Observe the plants in the Discovery Garden to note when and how the buds are developing, and when the plants are pruned. Keep a log of plant growth with measurements, pictures, and sketches. See if you can answer these questions from your observations.

A Few Questions 

  1. What happens when the insects eat parts of the plants?
  2. From which bud does the new growth develop? 
  3. How does a flower bud differ from an axial, a lateral, or terminal bud? 
  4. Which grows faster, the stem growing from a terminal bud or the stem growing from the lateral bud?
  5. If you prune a bush at home, what difference do the buds make to how you prune? 
  6. If you prune a bush at home, how does your pruning affect the plant and how it grows?

City of West Columbia • PO Box 487 • West Columbia, TX 77486 • (979) 345-3123 •
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