Plants & Gardens Blog

Grow a Popcorn Grass Garden (Project)

Do you like to eat seeds? Actually, you probably do! The cereals and grains we eat are also the seeds of plants in the grass family. If you look at the ingredients list on the side of a box of your favorite cereals, you may see “puffed rice,” “puffed wheat,” “oat flour,” or “milled corn.” Rice, wheat, oats, and corn are all members of the grass family.

An illustration of a popcorn kernel with a shoot extending up and roots growing down.
Illustration by SAm Tomasello.

Another common grass seed we eat is popcorn. Did you know that if popcorn isn’t popped, it is usually still viable as a seed? In fact, you can create a small grass garden using popcorn!

Making Your Garden

An illustration of a clay pot with grass like shoots growing.
Illustration by SAm Tomasello.

You will need:

  • Shallow flower pot or other flat container
  • Soil
  • Popcorn (plain, not microwave) or grass seed
  • Pebbles or gravel and larger stones
  • Construction paper

What to do:

  1. Fill the pot with soil to about 3/4 inch from the top edge.
  2. If you like, plant the popcorn in a pattern. Cut out shapes of construction paper and place them where you don’t want grass to grow.
  3. Scatter the seeds on the soil. Cover the seeds with about 1/4 inch of soil. Keep the soil loose.
  4. Remove the paper. You can make a “pathway” with gravel and line it with larger stones or add a seashell to hold water and make a little “pond.”
  5. Water the newly planted seeds gently with a sprinkler-spout watering can. Place your dish garden in a sunny location. Check your garden every day and water as needed to keep the soil moist but not soaking wet.

This project originally appeared in Gardening With Children (Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 2007).


  • Janet Torkel October 28, 2020

    As a former elementary Science teacher, I love the pumpkin and popcorn ideas. Teachers can do “hands-on” virtually with students as these materials are readily accessible. There’s also a Social Studies crossover using 2/3 of the Three Sisters plants grown by Native Americans from this region
    I will be trying these with my fifth grade granddaughter.

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Image, top of page: Sam Tomasello