The germination process is very simple, and once you know how to germinate seeds, it can become much less stressful.
If it’s your first time growing, you might just plant a seed in the ground and start watering it. While this can work, knowing how to germinate seeds can make a big difference.
What is Germination?
Simply put, germination is when a seed is exposed to moisture enough that it will crack, exposing its root that is seeking that moisture. Opposed to planting seeds straight into soil before they are cracked, germinating your seeds can speed up the process in which your plants begin their initial stages of growth.
With the root already exposed, the plant will grow into the soil faster and more efficiently. Plus, knowing how to germinate seeds can help you determine the viability of your seeds before you plant them. If you germinate a seed and it doesn’t crack, then you don’t waste the time of planting it only to find out later on that it’s unviable.
How to Germinate Seeds
When it comes to how to germinate seeds, environment is the first factor to get out of the way. You need moisture, in a warm and dark environment.
The most popular and easiest technique of germination is the paper towel method. In case you didn’t guess, it involves nothing more than a paper towel and the optional holding container.
To start the germination process, you’ll want to wet the paper towel. Not dripping wet, but to the point that the whole towel is wet while staying strong. Place the paper towel down on a flat surface and put your seed into the center of the paper towel.
You’ll then want to fold the paper towel over the seeds so they are completely covered. Now you can put the paper towel with the seeds wrapped within into a holding container if you’d like. Be careful with containers though, as a tight seal with no air flow can become a breeding ground for mold.
After you have the seeds wrapped up and in the container (or not), put them in a dark, warm place. A closet near a heating vent, under the bed, wherever there is little light while still staying warm, between 65 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Germinating Seeds Successfully
Another option for germinating seeds is using rockwool. This is much more popular for large scale growing, as you can plant hundreds of seeds into small blocks of rockwool and treat it similarly to the paper towel method (Check out our How to Clone Guide!).
Just keep the rockwool blocks wet with pH balanced water. With rockwool, you don’t have to transition your seedlings from a paper towel to the next medium. You can let your plants progress through early stages of vegetation before needing to transplant them to soil or whichever medium you are using.
A successful germination in rockwool is obvious, since you will see the growth. With the paper towel method, you need to see the taproot popping out from the shell of the seed within a day or so. You can still plant seeds that have not cracked at this point into the medium you use with the successful seeds. They might just be delayed in their growth, or they won’t sprout.
Getting your plants started is easy once you know how to germinate seeds. Whether you are on a budget and want to use a paper towel or have a bunch of seeds you want to pop, the main thing is to be observant. Keep an eye on your seeds and make sure they’re hydrated.
Before you know it, it will be time to transplant!