Germinating Plant Seeds

Germinating plant seeds – General guide

Various methods can be used when germinating plant seeds. Some of the most commonly used methods, among all levels of garden enthusiasts, professionals and scientists are listed below. Germination: the process of growing seeds to plants.
Germinating Plant Seeds
There are various methods out there on how to germinate plant seeds. To get the best results, it is best to first select good seeds. Germinate multiple seeds at once as not all seeds will successfully germinate.
Seeds can be seasonal and may go dormant in winter. A few things to consider.

  • Where will seeds be sourced.
  • Which potting soil is required, for both germinating and potting stages of growth.
  • Is there enough natural light available, where the seeds are intended to be germinated and grown, or will grow lights to be required.
  • Note successfully germinated seeds, may require fertilising within about 4-6 weeks of sprouting a stem. Consider which nutrients may be required for the particular specimen of plant being grown.
  • You can check out a few organic fertilizing options and general notes on fertilizer below.
  • We all want success when germinating plant seeds here are our top 3 methods:

Top 3 Methods – Germinating Plant Seeds


Paper Towel Method:

Most small seeds first require this method, when germinating plant seeds.

  • Place clean seed or seeds on a clean piece of kitchen towel and fold the paper towel into a square so that the seeds are secure and covered.
  • 6-9 seeds per paper towel is usually enough but can be increase if using moss pads or larger paper towel
  • Lightly moisten the paper towel with water but do not soak
  • Keep moist until seeds sprout or continue to moisten until the desired root length is achieved
  • Pot seeds in soil covering the top of the seed completely. Use soil that has correct nutrients and drainage required for specimen of plant.
  • Dampen soil above seed with water and place in a sunny window, small greenhouse, grow tent or other designated grow space. Seed should germinate within 2 weeks.
  • Use grow lights along with a timer, plant tray and heat mat for best results.
  • It’s important not to move the newly potted seeds around much in the early stages, as they are quite delicate at this stage in their growth and any damage can be very detrimental to the plants’ potential growth.
  • Water soil every few days and once the seed sprouts, it may be time to consider some organic fertilizer, like organic black leaf tea, banana sinks soaked in water, crushed egg shells and so forth.
  • When roots appear to be out growing the pot, if the season of weather allows, re-pot into a larger pot.

Water Method:

This method is most helpful when growing large seeds

  • Using a transparent plastic cup or glass is best, so you can see the roots grow easily and without disturbing the seed.
  • Depending on the size of seed you will either need to suspend the seed or cover it completely. We like to cut the top off of plastic bottles, using something that secures the seed while allowing half of it to sit in water, also encourages the roots to grow straight, from the start and you can then control at which length to allow the roots to curl. Such early attention and preparation see that the plant or tree can grow to the size you have in mind.
  • However, some seeds can be submerged in water entirely, even those that are usually half-submerged in water rather than completely covered will also germinate regardless.
  • Place clean seed(s) in water and change the water every 4-5 days or sooner if needed. More than one seed can be placed in the same cup.
  • When roots appear pot the seed root first in soil containing the right nutrients and drainage for that particular specimen of plant or tree.
  • Do note that some seeds will take longer to germinate using the water method in comparison to the paper towel method.

Soil Method:

This method is the most low maintenance and least time-consuming, as well as the option that will germinate most plant seeds.

  • Using a small pot along with the correct soil and fill the required number of pots with the soil
  • Place all pots in a tray that has raised edges, if germinating multiple seeds
  • Lightly moisten the pots of soil with water and make a small hole in the middle of the soil about half-way into the pot
  • Place clean seed in the hole and cover with more soil
  • Moisten the top of the soil with water
  • Place pot tray in a sunny south-facing window or use grow lights and timer if preferred.
  • Water every few days and try not to let the soil dry out
  • When roots seed has sprouted a stem it may be time to consider adding some organic feed
  • Re pot the plant when the roots begin to outgrow the pot and repeat re potting as required throughout the plants” lifetime or plant outside

For good quality crops and to truly organic greens,  consider using fertilizer at some stage of a plants’ growth.

Each plant has its own preferred soil composition. Generally, soil is part air, part water, part organic matter and minerals tend to make up the largest part of a plants’ remaining soil composition. Using a feed or fertilizer helps ensure plants grow to their best potential. Some research on what your plant would feed on if it were in its natural habitat, can go a long way.


Organic Fertilizers

A few easy DIY nutrient rich organic fertilisers are listed below:

Black organic tea 

Using an organic black tea bag make at least 500 ml of tea and let it sit for several hours, when cool use to water plants’ as usual. Be sure to check your plants’ needs as some of these organic fertilizers can cause bacteria to grow and consequently sometimes an infestation of bugs in the soil. For example the black tea fertilizer doesn’t work well on lemon seeds or trees.

Soaked banana skin water

Soak clean banana skins of 1 or 2 bananas, in hot water overnight, remove banana skins and use to water plants’ as usual.

Dry crushed egg shells 

Wash 2-3 empty egg shells and allow them to dry. Crush the dried eggshells into small pieces and push into the soil.

Does your grow space lack natural sunlight? For a guide on plant grow lights click here