If you’re searching for information about the stages of a dandelion, be it for better care or for controlling its spread, this article is the right option.
You will understand more about the interesting things about this flower type, not only its main growth phases.
Apart from learning about the life cycle of dandelions, knowing how to grow and care for them properly is necessary.
Also, it’s better to understand how to control dandelion spreading as these plants will mushroom and fill up your garden soon. Read on for more details!
What Is A Dandelion?
A dandelion is a yellow flowering plant with various varieties, with the most common being Taraxacum Officinale. Also called Herbaceous perennials, they grow from a large unbranched taproot.
You can come across this weed in different places worldwide. Yet, this plant type is popular in Europe and North America.
Dandelion, including stems, roots, leaves, and flowers, may be a valuable herb with multiple medicinal purposes, according to botanists’ consideration.
These weeds are short-lived perennials that can grow in almost any place in various soil conditions.
Yet, they will grow best in nutrient-rich soil. The best thing is that this flower type may tolerate severe weather conditions, including frost and freezing.
Interestingly, the name ‘dandelion’ refers to the tooth-like projections on the plant leaves and comes from the French word ‘dent de lion,’ meaning teeth of a lion.
What Are the Stages Of A Dandelion?
There are 6 stages of dandelion: germination, mature plant, flowering, fruiting, seeding, and reproduction. The germination phase is when its seed takes root and grows into a mature plant.
After maturity, it starts the flowering period with developed stems and flowers.
When the flowering phase is over, the plant will produce fruit (one-seeded fruit); during the reproductive stage, its seeds will germinate again to prepare for the next winter.
Germination is one of the phases of dandelion that begins when the environmental conditions are suitable for the seeds’ growth.
These favorable conditions are typically sufficient sunlight and moist soil with a proper temperature of around 77 °F.
During germination, the seedling stage also occurs when these flowers grow roots and leaves. Remember that dandelion often takes 8 to 15 weeks at the seedling phase.
One of the dandelion phases is when it transforms into a mature plant. Dandelion plants grow bigger when they mature.
Their leaves can develop from three to ten inches with well-defined toothed edges and twist into a rose-shaped at the center.
At this point, the dandelion plant has no visible stems. A mature dandelion sits tightly on the ground. Plant roots are thick and extend deep into the soil.
Flowering is one of the six dandelion stages of life. A 6- to 24-inch-long stem should grow before the mature plant can flower.
This will mark the start of the flowering period. The dandelion plant is often hardy, so it still blooms again, regardless of being eaten or transplanted.
In addition, dandelion flowers can bloom whenever they can during their growing period.
From the center of the leaf cluster, you will see a tall stem sprouting. It can reach 12 inches in height, and there are no leaves on that flower stem.
A single yellow bloom may appear on top of that leaf-free stem. Its flowers can grow with a diameter of about 1 to 2 inches.
When cut or damaged, the hollow stem exudes the white milky substance similar to what the roots release.
This is also one of the basic dandelion growth stages you must understand comprehensively.
The dandelion fruits grow inside their flowers and are brown, between 1/10 and 3/16 inches long. The seeds are thin, oval, and elongated.
The fruit’s end extends about 2-3 times the size of its seeds, including the pappus. This a fluffy seed head collection with white hairs forming a circle around the dandelion stem’s end.
After the fruiting stage, the dandelion will develop into seeds if the pappus separates from the original plant. Besides, note that seed dispersal usually appears during a gust of wind.
The long, hair-like structure of dandelion pappus allows its seeds to move throughout the air. Sometimes, dandelion seed dispersion occurs when a person or animal rubs against the plant.
Also, a viable seed settling in wet soil with much sunlight exposure will continue growing into a new seedling.
This is one of the essential dandelion stages. The dandelion seedlings’ leaves have pale yellow-green with an oval shape to establish a basal rosette.
The youngest seedling leaves mostly feature smooth edges. These edges will be jagged or toothed when their leaves are mature.
The tip of the leaves becomes wider, and the part where they touch the stem will be narrower and no longer have an oval shape.
Like the fescue growth stages, after completing all the above stages of a dandelion life cycle, the dandelion enters the reproductive stage from the tiny seeds that appear when the flowering phase is over.
A dandelion is asexual, so it may reproduce without the requirement of pollination.
The seeds connect to structures of white floating hairs known as pappuses. These papuses will drift away from the original dandelion and begin germinating elsewhere when they are ready.
After this plant drops its seeds, it will become dormant in the cold winter and continue emerging again in the warm spring weather to reproduce new blooms.
How To Grow and Care Dandelion Properly?
Dandelions are highly productive plants you can grow from seeds. See the simple steps below to learn how to plant your dandelion.
- Make preparation and selection of the planting location.
Choose places with favorable conditions, such as much sunlight and nutrient-rich and well-drained soil, for your plant to make successful germination.
- Directly sow your dandelion seeds into the fertilized soil in the garden for about 6 weeks before the last spring frost comes.
You should keep in mind that the soil temperature must be at least 50 °F.
- Arrange the seeds about one inch underneath the surface of moist soil and cover them lightly with a thin soil layer to allow sunlight to help with germination.
If sowing seeds of the plant in rows, space each one a few inches apart, leaving about one foot between rows.
- Thin your dandelion. The dandelion plant grows up to 6 inches in height in clumps of 6 inches in width.
When my dandelion sprouted several inches in size above the ground, I thinned it 6 inches back to avoid its overgrowth that overwhelms and competes with other plants in my garden.
Caring For Dandelion
Dandelion is self-pollinated without needing much care. Removing them forever requires more effort than growing them in your garden.
Yet, here are some necessary steps to take care of your dandelion without difficulty.
- Give your plant sufficient water regularly. This plant type prefers wet soil. Thus, supply them with moisture by watering them steadily.
- Provide your dandelion with the proper fertilizer. This plant may withstand multiple soil types with little fertilizer requirement.
But you should still add the right fertilizer to support your plant growth best.
- Be careful with sunlight. When growing dandelion, you must allow it to receive at least 6 hours of daylight each day. Once firmly rooted, provide the shade to avoid harsh light and temperature.
- Pulling weeds around your dandelion also contributes to its profitable growth. Yet, new seedlings require proper spacing to take root. Therefore, avoid weeding by hand.
- Restrict mulching, although this is a popular method to keep common weeds away from your plant.
The improper mulching will hinder the light dandelion from germinating its seeds. Thus, it’s best not to use mulch on your dandelion.
Why And How To Control Dandelion Spread?
Besides learning about the main cycle of a dandelion, knowing why and how to control the spreading of this plant is essential.
The main reason you should manage your dandelion spreading is its inconvenience for your garden and other plants, such as lily flowers.
You also know how annoyed you can feel when dandelions cover your garden and outshadow other beautiful flowers.
This plant will germinate easily and quickly with many seeds dispersing around your garden and yard.
Also, dandelions can hurt the soil even when they look harmless. This plant is one of the weeds to settle in rough terrain where many other plants cannot.
Besides, removing dandelion and preventing its spreading from your garden is not simple.
This is also why you must know how to control the spreading to care for your garden better. Follow this advice to monitor the dandelion spreading.
- Don’t cut your lawn too short, less than 5 cm, or more than 1/3 of the blade’s length at one time. Mowing the yard gives the dandelion the extra space to develop.
- Do not use fertilizer. Grasses absorb nutrients less efficiently than weeds, such as dandelions. Fertilizing your lawn with organic nitrogen fertilizer will support dandelions to grow.
How Long Is the Lifecycle of a Dandelion?
Individual dandelion plants can survive and grow for about 10 to 13 years in good conditions.
Also, dandelion seeds will form quite long-lived seed banks. The half-life of seeds in soil is about three months. Besides, some seeds of this plant can keep viable after five years once buried.
How Does A Dandelion Adapt To the Environment?
It will adapt to the surrounding environment by forming root hairs and new rosettes. The new rosette will help it gain an edge over other non-perennials during winter.
Root hairs allow the dandelion to adapt by increasing the roots’ surface area to absorb nutrients and water better.
Can You Eat A Dandelion?
Yes, you can eat dandelions. This plant can be one of the main ingredients to produce wine and other beverages. You can search for online recipes for making dandelion wines.
Besides, its parts, such as leaves, flowers, and dandelion roots, may be useful in producing medicines. Furthermore, you can use younger leaves of dandelion to make your favorite salads and enjoy their taste.
In addition, the roots of dandelion can be a surprising alternative for coffee after pulverization.
Does A Dandelion Grow All Year?
Yes, it does. You can grow your plant for the whole year. It is easy to live and thrive anytime and anywhere, indoors or outdoors.
Is A Dandelion Easy To Grow?
Yes, it is. This plant is simple to grow, so you can plant it anytime. Yet, the best time for planting your dandelion is early spring or late summer.
The above is useful information about the main stages of a dandelion and the ultimate guide on planting and caring for this common plant.
The dandelion has a long life cycle with six basic phases: germination, maturity, flowering, fruiting, seeding, and reproduction.
A dandelion can live for 10-13 years with rapid and easy development without requiring too much care.
Yet, you must know how to control the spreading of dandelions by using a few simple tips in this article to prevent trouble with your garden and other plants.