Growing seeds is one of the most satisfying things to do in life. There is something about the magical transformation that will move anyone’s feelings and motivate them to not just keep gardening but also to do it right.
Germination rate means how many seeds are likely to sprout in a given time period. Seed germination depends on both internal factors and external factors and is also affected by the plant’s original biological composition.
So what’s the answer to one of the most commonly asked questions in gardening? How long will it take for you too see the fruits of your labor?
Simply put, the answer is that there are a lot of variables and factors that contribute to seeds growing, so a definitive answer will be impossible and incorrect. A common period for seeds to germinate is one to two weeks, but then again, that depends on a lot of factors.
Before we dig into these problems and how to fix them, we must answer this question first: what does seed germination mean?
Germination is the process of seeds growing and turning into plants. Some seeds need only water and warm temperature to start germinating, others are not so simple in their cultivation and need a combination of techniques to work.
There are 5 steps for germination to happen successfully and these are:
In this step, the seed absorbs the water and starts to swell.
Sufficient oxygen is necessary for plants to grow and failure to germinate can occur if the plants don’t “breathe” properly.
Some seeds require light to grow, while others don’t, so understanding the relationship between light and germination is essential for success.
This is an important factor because each plant requires specific temperature conditions for germination success.
5. Development of the seeds
After the seeds receive proper nutrition, the cells inside them become active and start to grow in size.
What if my seeds don’t germinate?
Germinating seeds is usually an easy process, so if you don’t get the results you were aiming for, carve some time out of your schedule to educate yourself and figure out what went wrong. Here are some common problems and how to fix them:
1. Bad Seeds
Choosing the right supplier for your seeds is of the utmost importance when it comes to seeds germination. To save yourself the disappointment of not getting the results you want after a lot of hard work, make sure that your first step is always to purchase high quality seeds from a well-trusted supplier, so they would have a better germination ratio and successfully sprout.
2. Old Seeds
Even if your seeds are high quality but old, this lowers their viability and their germination success rate.
Here are a couple of ways to test your seeds and determine if they are viable:
- Sprout a couple of them individually first to see how they perform.
- Try a soak test. This is a method that is easy and takes no time. Simply, take some seeds, soak them in a jar or cup for twelve hours. The good seeds will float, while the bad seeds will sink.
3. Container Infections
Did you know that what you plant your seeds in can be infected? How? Well, if you don’t use sterilized containers, fungal and mold can start forming, which will consequently hinder the seeds growth. Disease is a main factor in why seeds don’t germinate successfully and a lot of care should be given to this step.
A helpful solution is:
- Use bleach (or a bleach alternative) to sanitize the pots you’ll plant the seeds in (this is especially important if they are plastic pots).
4. Wrong Temperature
There is an optimal temperature for every plant to grow and thrive, so if you are having problems with your seeds, then temperature is a factor to consider. It could be too hot or too cold or just not right. The direct relationship between temperature and seeds is important and can make or break the entire process. When you get the temperature right, the most quantity of seeds will sprout in the least amount of time.
A helpful solution is to use a heat mat to germinate seeds. Don’t let the cold nights interrupt your germination process and use a heat mat specifically designed to help you germinate your seeds and get the best results possible. Some plants can only flourish in warmer conditions, so keep that in mind.
5. Wrong Watering Technique
When it comes to germinating seeds, they can’t be too dry or too wet. How often you water your seeds and what you use to water them matters. A fine spray-hose nozzle is considered a good option to use for watering. Keep seeds damp during germination but be careful not to make them overly wet (no more than once per day watering preferably) because if they are too damp, you’ve just basically drowned your own plants—they will rot.
6. Time of Germination
Every seed pack comes with instructions on how long it will take for it to sprout, but these instructions are not always going to be accurate. Environmental factors can hinder the process and may require you to add a few extra days than the instructions regarding time require.
7. Seed Placement
Did you know that how you place your seeds matters? For example, if you plant them too deep, you risk the plants running out of nutrients, because of the effort and struggle it takes for plants to reach the soil they are planted in.
Here is a way to solve this problem:
Refer to the instructions that came with the seeds and remember that a general rule to live by when it comes to gardening is that given the choice between sowing too deep or too sallow deep seeds, choose the latter.
So, let us know in the comments what are other germination problems you faced and how did you fix them?
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