How to Speed Up Seed Germination

Updated/Fact-Chacked on March 9, 2022 by John

On average most seeds take up to two weeks to germinate if the right conditions are present. However, it can take longer if these conditions are not optimum. Luckily, there are several things you can do to speed up germination. This article covers how to speed up seed germination.

These techniques will work with almost every seed and are very effective. It doesn’t matter whether you are trying to germinate a flower, herb, or vegetable seed but most of the tricks will work.

How to Speed Up Seed Germination

4 Ways On How to Speed Up Seed Germination

1. Starting the Seeds on Paper Towel

Starting your seed on a wet paper towel is an effective way to expedite its germination. The method is fast and easy. You only need to take a paper towel. Dampen it and lay it inside a dish.

Cut open your seed packet open. Spread out the seeds on the wet paper towel evenly. Press them onto the paper gently. Cover the dish with clear plastic wrap and place it in a cool dry place. If it is extremely cold, you can place the dish on a heating mat.

Wait for 3 to 5 days and your seeds will germinate.

The best thing about this method is that there is less mess like if you were using soil. You will also observe the progress.

2. Seed Scarification

Seeds have a tough protein coating. This prevents moisture from penetrating the seed. As a result, seeds can take longer to germinate depending on how hard this cover is. The shell only breaks and allows the shoots to emerge when germination conditions are right.  These are proper temperature, water, and oxygen.

Scarification is the use of a tool or abrasive material to weaken the shell of the seed. You can either use a  file, nail clipper, or sandpaper.

Larger seeds require a file. As for the medium-sized seeds, a nail clipper should do. Sandpaper is ideal for small seeds.

Rub the tool of your choice on the seed’s surface. The goal is to break the tough shell without damaging the seed’s embryo. For this reason, you need to do it carefully. Inspect the seed to confirm that you are wearing out the shell.

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3. Pre-Soaking

The seed coat is quite resilient. It only gives way when the conditions are good enough for the plant to emerge. As soon as there is ample moisture surrounding the seed, the shell raptures.

When the germination conditions are not met naturally, the seed will not sprout. Soaking the seeds in water allows them to absorb moisture. The seeds swell, and the shell raptures allowing them to germinate.

Also, some seeds have germination inhibitors. Soaking them in water helps wear down these barriers. Once the inhibitors are removed, the seeds are ready for germination.

4. Cold  Treatment

Cold stratification revolves around subjecting seeds to moist cold. When you expose seeds to such conditions, they tend to “think” they are going through winter. This method mimics nature.

While using this technique, soak the seeds in water for about 24 hours. Place them in a sandwich with moist soils. Put the bag in a refrigerator and monitor the seeds closely. When they germinate transfer them to your preferred planting medium.