Germination – Different Methods And The Most Common Mistakes

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 09:04 pm

In the successful germination of a seed, the two factors of heat and moisture play an important role.

The natural germination

Germination - Different Methods And The Most Common Mistakes

In the wild, the adult plant forms seeds. These fall to the ground, where they remain dormant throughout the winter.

In the spring, the soil warms and precipitation increases – the seed awakens from its hibernation.

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Since winter can be very harsh, and moreover, other harmful influences of nature such as insects, parasites or fungal diseases, natural selection strikes here. Many seeds do not survive the winter; only the strongest and most resistant come to life and begin to germinate.

Germination in indoor growing

As in all areas of indoor growing, there is always an attempt to artificially create the optimal conditions for the plant or seed.

Thus, however, natural selection is completely absent here. Even the relatively weak seeds that would die in the wild are made to germinate in this way. Therefore, all particularly slowly developing and weak plants as well as genetically deviating plants should be sorted out by hand by the home gardener himself. How strict the selection in this process is up to each person.

Two methods of germination – procedure

As already described, the seeds need heat and moisture to germinate. Therefore, the easiest way is to put them in moist (not wet!) pre-warmed soil, we recommend peat swell pots (Jiffys).

It should be ensured that the conditions are as favorable as possible for all plants. This will ensure that all seedlings develop equally quickly and well.

The soil should not be pressed or only very lightly. The seed is placed about 0.5 cm below the surface of the soil and lightly covered.

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Before that, however, they should (do not have to!) First germinate.

  1. the method in the water glass

In this method, the seeds are simply placed in a glass of mineral water with a pH of 7 and placed in a dark corner. The glass can also be covered, the main thing is that the seeds are in the dark.

After about 2 days, the shell will burst open and the radicle will emerge. As soon as it can be recognized as a white dot, the seedling should be taken out of the jar and placed in the moist and slightly pre-warmed Jiffy. The radicle should point downwards.

With the “water glass method” the seeds germinate somewhat faster, because they are soaked quickly and thoroughly. However, there is a greater risk that if they are left in the water too long, they will not get enough oxygen and will mold or even rot.

It is also relatively difficult to maneuver them out of the water jar and into the soil without damage.

However, it is relatively easy to see which seeds are germinable and which are not. The germinable seeds sink within a day, while the non-germinable ones float on the surface for a longer time.

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  1. germination between damp kitchen paper

Line a plate or a lid of a tupperware bowl with a small rim with several layers of kitchen roll. The seeds are now distributed on this and then again covered with a piece of kitchen roll. The whole thing is now sufficiently moistened with water with a pH value of 6.5.

Optionally, everything can now be placed in a dark corner. Check several times a day whether evaporated water must be poured in, because the seeds must not become dry at any time.

Or you can darken by covering the whole thing with a second plate. In this case, it is only necessary to ventilate several times a day for better air circulation and prevention of mold.

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After 2-3 days the seed coat splits and the radicle appears. After that, even with this method, the seedling should be planted in a jiffy relatively quickly – so be sure to check regularly.

If you wait too long, the roots become too long, turn in and are difficult to handle. Shortly after germination, the roots also get very fine root hairs that anchor themselves in the kitchen paper and can then hardly be removed without damage. Too much damage or breakage of the root at this early stage almost always means the death of the plant.

For fresh, high quality seeds, the germination rate is 95%.

Weak or slow germinating or growing plants can be discarded.

The most common mistakes when growing from seed:

  • Overwatering the seeds causes the roots to suffocate and the plant to shoot up too quickly.
  • Soil temperatures that are too low inhibit root development.
  • Overfertilization. Do not fertilize before the first true leaves have developed.
  • Too small or too great a distance of the light source from the young shoots. Too small a distance will cause burning, too large a distance will cause long stems to form.
  • Small plants and seedlings need wind to form strong branches and branching. It also prevents against pests, making them feel less comfortable.
  • Too tightly pressed soil inhibits root growth, up to the death of the root.
  • Drying out the kitchen paper and thus the seeds during germination.
  • Setting the seedlings too late.

The germination

In general, it can be said that seedlings develop best at temperatures between 18 and 25°.

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Since seeds, as already described, should rest through the winter until spring and not germinate at all, seeds that are too fresh are protected from rapid germination.

But if they are well seasoned, the germination rate is over 90%.

Very old seeds, on the contrary, germinate very slowly or not at all. However, if stored well (cool and dry), they can retain their germination for many years. However, germination may then take up to four weeks (!).

The phases of the moon

About the moon phases one hears again and again that they have influence not only on us humans, but also on plants.

It is assumed that seeds germinate best when they are sown after the new moon and a few days before the full moon…

Author

  • 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.

    https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-jones-436784297/ gardeninguru@outlook.com Jones James

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