For questions about this project, please click here to contact the Project Chair.

Did you ever wonder “what if” with the plants you grow? Sometimes the fun part of gardening is experimenting to see what’s going to happen. There are lots of experiments you can perform with plants. The idea behind an experiment is what if. What happens to one thing if you change something else while you keep all the other conditions the same. The idea is to learn something new through an experiment. In this project you select, plan, and conduct an experiment related to horticulture and write a report of the results. The experiment can be done solely or in groups of two or more.

Here are some topics to get you started.

  • Is organic gardening better than inorganic gardening?
  • How does temperature affect the growth of plants?
  • What methods work best for preserving flowers?
  • What happens when you cross-pollinate two plants?
  • Will a plant grow the same in two different soil mixes?
  • How do plants take in water?
  • How do plants react to gravity?
  • What fertilizers are most effective?
  • Is there an optimum pH for plant growth?
  • Are bees attracted to different colored flowers?
  • Does it matter if a seed or bulb is planted upside down?
  • Does seed spacing affect plant growth and yield?
  • Will newer cultivars outyield older plant cultivars?
  • What conditions do tree seeds need for germination?
  • What is effective in extending the life of cut flowers?

This project is designed for youth who are inquisitive and are interested in experimenting with horticultural plants or with general plant physiology.


Who Can Participate

15-18 and 19-22 years old; individuals or groups of two or more.

Project Requirements

A written report and an informal interview at the NJHA convention are required. Generally some group members will be unable to attend the convention but may be represented by another member of the same group. Consult the report format below for additional information.


WORK PHONE: 7038364606 EXT 106


Report Format

1. Cover sheet – Name, age, date of birth, permanent and college address, telephone number(s), and name of parents.

2. Report including:

  • (a) Project Title (5 points).
  • (b) Statement of Problem that covers the type of study you have undertaken, reasons for the study, and what you hope to accomplish (10 points).
  • (c) Review of Literature briefly tells what others have found out about the problem. This information will be reported in bulletins, books, and scientific references; not to exceed 100 words (10 points).
  • (d) Materials and Methods list materials you used in your experiment and how they were put to use in your experiment; not to exceed 500 words (25 points).
  • (e) Results of the Study report what happened. Charts, graphs, and pictures may be used to explain what happened; not to exceed 10 pictures and 600 words (30 points).
  • (f) Summary and Conclusions analyze your results and state conclusions that you can draw from them. Briefly summarize your study and indicate any practical applications for your findings; not to exceed 200 words (15 points).
  • (g) Bibliography should be an alphabetical listing by the author’s last name of all work cited in the review of literature; no word limit (5 points).

Submit Your Entry: Submit your entry by attaching your file to this email

Entry Deadline

September 15.

Download the Scoresheet

For additional information consult the project chairperson:

Mike Rethwisch
UNL Extension – Butler Co.
451 N. 5th Street
David City, NE 68632-1666
Phone (402) 367-7410

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