Science Focus - the home of BBC Science Focus Magazine

Can trees grow in space?

Subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine and get 6 issues for just £9.99

Trees can grow in orbit, but good luck finding a pot big enough on the Space Station…

Asked by: Sam Tree, Shoreham


Experiments on the ISS have shown that young spruce tree seedlings do grow in microgravity, but they don’t look quite the same. The seedlings grow faster, and the pine needles don’t point downward so much. DNA analysis shows that several plant genes are more active in space, but we’re still waiting to find out the long-term effects on larger plants.


Subscribe to BBC Focus magazine for fascinating new Q&As every month and follow @sciencefocusQA on Twitter for your daily dose of fun science facts.


luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


Sponsored content