Are Tomatoes Light Germinators Or Dark Germinators

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 08:35 pm

The fact that tomatoes are sun lovers is no secret among amateur gardeners. But did you know that the light is also essential for their germination? Learn all about light and dark germinators here!

Each plant has certain characteristics, thanks to which it can be classified and ordered. The type of germination also allows to assign the plants to a certain category. Because depending on whether the plant needs light to germinate, it is a light or a dark germinator.

Are Tomatoes Light Germinators Or Dark Germinators

Light as a source of information

Light is a source of information for tomatoes as well as for all other plants. The plants are able to perceive light and react to changes accordingly. It is noteworthy that they can register not only the light itself, but also its properties. Tomatoes perceive the following characteristics, among others:

  • Light direction
  • Intensity
  • Duration of exposure
  • Spectral range

Light germination

In addition to heat, oxygen and moisture, light germinators absolutely need light to germinate. This is due, among other things, to the very small seeds, which, according to their size, can store only little energy. However, the seeds accordingly lack the energy to be able to grow to the light. However, if the seeds are sufficiently exposed to light, the so-called photomorphogenesis can be activated. This is because the seeds contain photochromes, which in turn contain photoreceptors. These are chromoproteins that react to the photons in the light and thus stimulate growth. Well-known representatives of the light germinators include:

  • Carrot
  • Cucumber
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Purple loosestrife
  • Dark sprout
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Unlike light germinators, dark germinators do not need light at all to germinate. Therefore, the seeds of dark germinators are usually protected from sunlight by a thick layer of soil. The seeds of dark germinators are usually somewhat larger and can therefore store enough energy to bring the plant to light. This process is called scotomorphogenesis and takes up all the energy of the plants. In order for germination to occur more quickly, all other developmental processes that are not required for life in the light are suppressed. Dark germinators include most vegetables, such as:

  • Cucumbers
  • Corn
  • Pumpkins
  • Lamb’s lettuce

And what are tomatoes?

Tomato seeds are generally planted in growing soil during cultivation and would therefore belong to the dark germinators. However, tomato seeds require the bright red spectral range of light for germination, which is why botanists classify them as light germinators. In addition, it should be mentioned here that placing the tomato seeds too deep can definitely inhibit germination! Germination succeeds best if the following points are observed:

  • from the beginning/middle of March
  • use low-nutrient growing soil
  • Spread the substrate on a tray
  • plant seeds at a distance of about 3 cm
  • cover seeds with substrate
  • layer of soil about 0.5 cm
  • Keep soil moist at all times
  • expose to sufficient light
  • or place in a sunny location
  • optimal temperature between 20-24 degrees

Tip: To ensure that the tomatoes always get enough light, they should be artificially lit if necessary.


  • James Jones

    Meet James Jones, a passionate gardening writer whose words bloom with the wisdom of an experienced horticulturist. With a deep-rooted love for all things green, James has dedicated his life to sharing the art and science of gardening with the world. James's words have found their way into countless publications, and his gardening insights have inspired a new generation of green thumbs. His commitment to sustainability and environmental stewardship shines through in every article he crafts.

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