Pre-soak Seeds In Chamomile Tea: Tips For Faster Germination

Pre-soak Seeds In Chamomile Tea: Tips For Faster Germination

Some vegetables take quite a long time in the bed before the first tender plantlets emerge from the seeds. However, there is a trick you can use to speed up germination. We will show you how you can help your seeds by pre-soaking them in chamomile tea.

Why is pre-soaking of seeds useful?


Seeds have a dormant life in the inner core. It is only when moisture penetrates the hard seed coat that it is awakened and a seedling emerges. If not enough of it gets into the seed kernel, this process cannot take place, germination fails and all efforts were in vain. Therefore, especially in the open ground, insufficient watering may result in a lower germination rate.

During soaking or presoaking, the seed is exposed to constant moisture, which makes the hull softer and more permeable. After sowing, this allows it to begin germinating more quickly.

Our expert tip:


It is often read that only seeds that have sunk to the bottom are germinable and seeds that float on the surface can be discarded. Due to the surface tension of the water, some seeds may not sink even after hours. Therefore, as a rule, this does not say anything about the germination capacity of the seed.


Why is chamomile tea good for soaking?


Many amateur gardeners use pure water to soak seeds. This usually works well, as long as the recommended soaking times are followed. What water can’t do, however, is disinfect the seed at the same time. Chamomile’s antibacterial and fungicidal properties reduce the formation of bacteria and fungi before and during germination. So after sowing, you can expect healthier seedlings and a higher success rate.

What seeds can be presoaked with chamomile tea?

Basically, almost all vegetable seeds are suitable for presoaking in water or chamomile tea – it does not matter whether they are subsequently preplanted or planted directly in the bed. As a rule, however, it is only worthwhile for varieties that take longer to germinate. For fast germinators such as lettuce or radishes, which only have a germination period of one to two weeks anyway, soaking does not bring any significant advantages.

The following seeds are good for pre-soaking in chamomile tea:

  • Beans
  • Borage
  • Broccoli
  • Chili
  • Peas
  • Fennel
  • Cucumbers
  • Pumpkin
  • Corn
  • Swiss chard
  • Bell bell pepper
  • Parsnips
  • Tomatoes
  • Root parsley
  • Zucchini


For very small seeds, however, soaking or presoaking should be avoided. In this case, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits and the soaked seeds are also more difficult to handle. These include carrots, celery and beets.

How long do seeds need to soak in chamomile tea?


The length of soaking time depends on the hardness of the shell. For seeds with soft or thin coat already a few hours are enough, thick-shelled seeds should be in the soaking bath between 12 and 24 hours. Usually it is the large and wrinkled seeds that have a very hard shell. If the seed is already older, a longer soaking time is also recommended.

To find the optimal soaking time, the seeds should be checked every few hours. As soon as the seed circumference has increased by at least one third or you notice a slight yielding of the shell, the seeds can be removed from the pre-swelling bath.

How to soak seeds in chamomile tea?

Pre-soak Seeds In Chamomile Tea: Tips For Faster Germination

Before the chamomile bath, sort out any seeds that are visibly damaged. If you detect a slight fungal infection, but the seed otherwise looks good, wipe off the spores with a paper towel and put it with the suitable pre-swelling seeds. For the chamomile tea, you can either use ready-made bags or resort to dried or freshly harvested chamomile flowers.

Once the tea has cooled down, it should be lukewarm at most, proceed as follows:

  • Place the seeds in a glass or small bowl and fill it with cold chamomile tea until they are completely covered.
  • Place the container in a warm and bright place.
  • Wait for the soaking time, which can range from a few hours to a day
  • Once the seeds have sufficiently fully absorbed, it is best to pour off the tea through a paper towel placed in a strainer.
  • Plant the seeds in the soil as soon as possible.


Plant pre-sprouted seeds promptly.


In principle, you should start pre-swelling only when you have prepared everything for sowing and can then sow the seed directly. If a pre-swollen seed remains in the air for too long, it will dry out again and may lose its ability to germinate.

Therefore, it is important to put the seed in the ground immediately after pre-swelling. Of course, the earliest possible sowing date for the respective plant species must be taken into account here. For preplanting, pre-swelling can be done as early as January or February, depending on the plant species. But there is nothing wrong with soaking for sowing or reseeding during the entire growing season.

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