Life Cycle of Flowering Plants


Angiosperms comprise the majority of the plant kingdom. Their success is due to the fact that flowering plants have a reliable method of reproduction. No matter what their shape or size, all have the same life cycle.

Life Begins

A small, dome-shaped growth inside an ovary is fertilized by pollen that travels through the stigma, usually after deposit by a traveling insect from another plant's anther. The cell formed matures into a seed.


As the embryo ripens, the plant's ovary swells, often inside a protective pod or fruit that will shield the seed until mature and provide nutrients to provide food. When the seed matures, the pod opens or fruit drops, depositing the seed on the ground.


The seed, usually after a period of dormancy, begins growing roots and a leaf. The "cotyledon" is eventually replaced by true leaves.

Vegetative Stage

The young plant processes nutrients using photosynthesis, growing roots, branches and leaves until it reaches maturity. During this period, it may be managed by pruning or pinching to delay or increase flowering.

Reproductive Stage

The plant produces buds that bloom as flowers, followed by seed pods or fruit, in which seeds develop. Fertilized seeds leave the parent to become new plants.


After one or more years of growth and reproduction, the angiosperm looses vigor and begins to die back, decomposing to provide fertilizer for its offspring.


  • University of Manitoba: Angiosperm Life Cycle
  • University of Hamburg: Growth and Differentiation

Who Can Help

  • University of California Clermont College: Life Cycle and Glossary
Keywords: flowering plants, life cycle, angiosperms

About this Author

Chicago native Laura Reynolds has been writing for 40 years. She attended American University (D.C.), Northern Illinois University and University of Illinois Chicago and has a B.S. in communications (theater). Originally a secondary school communications and history teacher, she's written one book and edited several others. She has 30 years of experience as a local official, including service as a municipal judge.