Set the seed flats or pots in which you planted the seeds on a heat mat. Most ornamental plant seeds germinate in soil with a temperature between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit; vegetable plants usually fall above or below that range. A heat mat transfers heat directly to the bottom of the pot or flat, helping maintain the optimal soil temperature and speeding germination. Place the pots or flats on top of a refrigerator or near a heater if you don’t have a heat mat. See the Resources section of this article for a list of vegetable seeds and their optimal soil temperatures for germination.
Place the seeds in a food-grade plastic container and pour hot distilled water over them. Allow the seeds to soak for 24 hours. Soaking seeds shortens their germination time by softening the seed coat and introducing moisture to the embryo.
Determine if your seeds need cold temperatures to germinate. Stratification refers to storing the seeds in a cold environment so they “think” winter has started. Several varieties of plants, such as Adonis “Pleniflora” (Adonis amurensis “Pleniflora”), need six weeks or more of stratification to germinate. See the Resources section of this article for a list of seeds that need stratifying to germinate.
Line the interior of a glass jar with a sheet of coarse-grit sandpaper with the rough side facing in if your seeds need scarification. Pour the seeds in the jar, cover with a lid and shake several times until you abrade the seeds. Alternatively, nick the seeds slightly with a knife or simply rub the sandpaper gently on each one to scarify them.
Soak 2 cups of sphagnum peat moss in water for one hour if your seeds need stratification. Squeeze the water from the peat moss and pack it around the seeds. Place the seeds packed in the peat moss in a sealable food-storage bag and place it in a refrigerator that has a temperature ranging from 34 to 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the seeds once a week for sprouting.
You can simplify propagation by thinking of seeds as tiny plants trapped inside hard shells, and germination as the key that unlocks them. A seed contains all the basic parts of a plant, including the leaves, referred to as cotyledons, a small root, and just enough food to get started, known as endosperm. Germination, the emergence of a plant from a seed, requires a warm environment and the absorption of water. Water penetrates the seed coat and activates an enzyme that causes the plant to emerge. When you look at it this way, you merely have to get water to the embryo faster to make the plant germinate faster.
Sprouting means your seeds have germinated successfully.
Determine if your seeds need scarification. Seeds with thick seed coats, such as goat’s rue (Galega officinalis), have dense coatings surrounding their embryos, and need to be nicked or scratched to help them sprout. See the Resources section of this article for a list of seeds that need scarification. You also can press your fingernail into the seed to determine if you need to scarify them. If you can’t dent the seed with your fingernail, scarification likely will speed germination.
Cover your seed flats or pots with a plastic cover or food-grade plastic film to maintain moisture. Seeds require steady, moist heat to germinate, and placing the supplied plastic cover over seed flats or wrapping the top of the seed pot with plastic film helps keep the humidity inside the enclosure constant, speeding germination.
You can simplify propagation by thinking of seeds as tiny plants trapped inside hard shells, and germination as the key that unlocks them. A seed contains all the basic parts of a plant, including the leaves, referred to as cotyledons, a small root, and just enough food to get started, known as endosperm. Germination, …
Start checking on them the next day. If the seeds are really fresh, some will germinate in as little as 1 day! The fastest germinating seeds include everything in the cabbage family – bok choi, broccoli, kale, cauliflower etc, and lettuce.
I was just researching this to prepare for our first garden at our new home, this post is perfect. Thank you so much for sharing the great information!
In this article, we will look at when and how to use this seed germination method. Comparison of two methods: germinating seeds on paper towel vs. germinating seeds in soil, plus some helpful tips we have learned along the way, and readers questions at the end!
I used to help my dad prepare all the seedlings ready for planting when I was younger! This takes me back a bit! Gorgeous images!
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thank you lauren! for 4″ pots, i put 1 seed if it’s tomato, broccoli, or other plants that take a while to grow or does not like transplanting, such as squash. if it’s onions, lettuce, cilantro, i put 3 or more seeds per pot. =)
thank you stacy! seeds are great because you can grow so many varieties!
It is important to have pots and soil ready to go.
Oh I love this I’m such a green thumb and absolutely love these tips Thankyou
Germinate seeds 3X faster with more success in 1 day! Best secret to plant herbs, flowers, & vegetables from seeds. Our favorite fail-proof gardening tips!