Do Magnets Affect Radish Plant Growth?

Researched by Jake H.


The purpose of this experiment was to determine if magnets affect the growth of radish plants.

I became interested in this idea because I have always been interested in magnets and how they work so I figured this would be a good opportunity to study their affects.

The information gained from this experiment might help farmers and gardeners by showing them if it is better for radish plants to be near magnets so that they might grow faster.

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My hypothesis was that the plants would lean towards the magnets and would also be shorter than the plants that arenít near a magnet.

I base my hypothesis on the fact that many plants contain iron and iron is very magnetic so the plant will start to lean.

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The constants in this study were: 
    -The type of radish plant.
    -The size of the pot.
    -The amount of soil.
    -The amount of water
    -The amount of light.

The manipulated variable was the amount of magnetism.

The responding variable was the radish plant growth. 

To measure the responding variable I measured the height of the plants in centimeters after three weeks.

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Cow Magnets
Shop Light
1 Grow Lux Bulb
6 Pots
72 Radish Seeds
1 Water Dropper
2 Trays
12 (Cups)Potting soil
Tap Water
1 Timer
Extension Cord 

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1. Gather materials.
2. Put the correct 2 cups of soil in the pot.
3. Then place one of the cow magnets in the middle of a pot with the north end facing up.
4. Then you must plant 2 seeds in each hole so there are 6 holes.  Plant the seeds about 2 centimeters away from the magnets and  centimeters deep.
5. Do this with all of the pots except for 3 of them.
6. Place the pots on the trays.
7. Put the shop light and the grow lux bulbs together.
8. Hang the shop light from the ceiling or from two chairs.
9. Place the trays with the pots on them under the shop light.
10. Turn on the light.
11. Give each pot 1/2 a cup of water to get the soil moist.
12. Give each plant fifty drops of water each day for four weeks.
13. Set the timer to turn the light off at 7:30 P.M and turn the light on at 7:30 A.M.
14. Examine the plants at least once every other day after the first week.
15. Then collect the data that you need.

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The original purpose of this experiment was to determine if magnetism affects the growth of radish plants.

The results of the experiment were that the average height of the plants near the magnets was taller than the plants away from the magnets.

See the table and graph.

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My hypothesis was that the plants would lean towards the magnets and the plants that were near a magnet would be shorter than the ones that were.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be rejected because the plants did not lean towards the magnets and they were taller than the ones away from the magnets.

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if the same would be true for other plant species.  I also wonder if a more powerful magnet would have a greater effect.

If I were to conduct this project again I would place the magnets in different places in the pot and longer to grow.  I would also have more pots and more trials.

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 Radishes are fast growing plants and magnetism is a force of nature that attracts substances like iron.  Have you ever wondered if a magnet would affect the growth of a radish plant?  This experiment will find out.


 The type of radish used in this experiment is called a spring radish.  Radish is a common name for a member of the biennial herbs of the mustard family.  Radishes originated in China.  They are grown for their roots, which are either eaten raw or are made into relish.  Radishes range from 1 ounce to 2 pounds in weight.

 Radishes grow best in cold weather.  They can also withstand frost.  They are ready to harvest 20 to 60 days after planting.  When radishes are grown in the U.S. they are usually harvested in March, April, and May.  Ohio and California are the leading states in radish production. 


 Magnetism is part of electromagnetism, which is one of the forces of nature.  The motion of charge particles called electrons produce magnetic forces.  This shows the relationship between magnetism and electricity.

 Magnetism was known in ancient times by the Greeks, Romans, and Chinese.  The mineral used by the people in ancient times was called lodestone.  Lodestone was an oxide used to attract iron objects. 

 Many scientists investigated the theories of magnetism and electricity.  In 1819 a discovery was made by Hans Christian Oersted, a Danish physicist.  He found that a magnetic needle could be deflected by an electric current running through a wire.  This showed a connection between magnetism and electricity.  Many other scientists made more discoveries about magnetism and electricity after Oerstedís discoveries.


 A tropism is a fixed, automatic, or inherited plant movement in response to a simuli.  A positive tropism is when there is movement toward the source of stimulation.  A negative tropism is when there is movement away from the source of stimulation.  An organism may have a negative or positive tropism to the same stimulus at different times.

Plant Tropism

 The type of tropism used in this experiment is called a geotropism.  Geotropism happens when the plant germinates and the young root turns downward.  This enables the plant to anchor itself into the soil, which causes the plant to bend.  When the young stem turns upward away from the earth it is called a negative geotropism.


 As you can see magnetism is a very important force of nature and we have studied it for a long time. Radishes are an important source of food that we use in many ways. 

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Blume, Martin.  "Magnetism," Encarta 2001

Crosby, Marshall.  "Radishes," Encarta 2001 

Danderzanden, Ann Marie "Botany Basics," Oregon St. University,

Gould, Carol.  "Tropism," Encarta 2001

Hughes, George.  "Radish," World Book Encyclopedia 1998

Johnson, George.  "Tropism," World Book Encyclopedia 1998

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I would like to thank the following people for helping me to create this science project:

  • First I would like to thank my father for helping me do my experiment and supporting me.
  • The second person I would like to thank is my mother for telling me not to give up and helping me find the materials for my project.
  • The very last person I would like to thank is Mr. Newkirk for donating his time to staying after school so that we could finish my project.  I would also like to thank him for helping me start my project and giving his opinion when I was done. 

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