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How to get your seeds to germinate – Accelerate plant growth and avoid common mistakes.

It is very disappointing when germination rates in the garden are low, but by avoiding mistakes seeds can be made to germinate. However, gardeners may also encounter the problem that no seedlings appear at all. In such cases, therefore, they need to find out why the seeds they have sown are not germinating. Fortunately, it is often quite easy to locate the causes and the errors. In addition, there are a number of simple measures you can take to solve the problem, whatever it may be. Here is some useful information and gardening tips that can help.

How to make seeds germinate

increase germination rate with proper watering of seedlings

The first thing you need to do is to think about problems in the environment as well as in the soil. Such factors are often the most likely cause of poor germination. The various factors in the environment are important because you should first determine how healthy your future plant growth will be. The three key factors for successful germination of common plants are the amount of water, the oxygen content and pH of the soil, and the weather conditions, or temperatures.

If the water is not sufficient for the seeds

seeds do not germinate due to different factors in the garden soil

Getting your seeds to germinate usually requires proper irrigation. As the seeds mature, they can dry out quickly. Accordingly, in order to germinate successfully, the maturing seeds need to absorb a lot of water. Only when they have absorbed sufficient water can cellular metabolic processes and plant growth occur normally. As seeds in the garden soil absorb the water, hydrolytic enzymes begin the process of converting stored food resources into chemicals necessary for germination processes.

cycles of plant growth from seed to seedling

Seeds also often need water to dissolve the coating of each seed and allow the seedling to emerge. So if you have poor germination rates, it may be because you have not provided enough water for these processes to occur. However, dry garden soil in containers or in planting areas such as beds is fairly easy to detect by regular inspection. Therefore, water seedlings with sufficient water, being careful not to wash your seeds away or push them too deeply into the growing medium. This will ensure that your seeds can still germinate in time.

Avoid excessive watering

overwatering seeds after sowing can lead to death


In general, the goal is to provide enough water to irrigate the seeds. However, you should not soak them. Of course, the amount of water you need depends on the type of seed you want to germinate. In addition, overwatering is one of the main causes of poor, patchy or non-existent germination. Too much watering can cause waterlogging and compaction, which is related to the following point. In addition, a garden soil that is too wet can also cause you to have problems with damping off. If you watered too much, you may be able to restore things by letting the seed growth medium dry out a bit. Unfortunately, if overwatering has led to any of the other problems described below, it may be too late to save the seeds. In this case, you may have to start over.

Seeds are not getting enough oxygen

not enough oxygen in the soil for healthy seedling plant growth

A germinating seed needs oxygen for metabolism until the process of photosynthesis begins. Before a seedling’s leaves develop, it gets most of its energy from aerobic respiration. In addition, oxygen demand is linked to water demand. Envelopes of certain seeds must therefore be broken down before they can absorb water and oxygen from the environment. Both too little and too much water can result in seeds not getting enough oxygen to germinate. Underwatering can cause problems because the seed has not broken down its coating. Excessive watering may have caused the soil to become soggy and compacted, with compaction making it difficult for oxygen to pass through.

growing medium for growing seeds in native conditions


Another mistake may have resulted in the seeds not getting the oxygen they needed. You may have then buried your seeds too deep. In this case, it’s best to check the seed packet, in gardening books or online, to see at what depth seeds should be planted. Then, if you think that was the mistake you made, you can try again. You may also have chosen the wrong growing medium for the seeds you want to grow. This could also cause problems, as the seeds will not get the oxygen (or water) they need to germinate. Make sure you know what type of growing medium is needed, and replace the container if you made the wrong decision last time.

Do not let seeds germinate at too low temperatures

growing seedlings using led growth lamps indoors

Consider investing in some LED grow lights if your home is too cool to start seeds. In fact, some of the most common problems with seed germination revolve around temperature. This has an impact on cell metabolism and growth rates. Seeds generally germinate within a certain temperature range. Outside of that temperature range, they do not germinate at all, and at the ends of the temperature range, germination rates can be significantly reduced. Many common garden plants germinate effectively at about the average room temperature in heated homes (15-23 degrees Celsius.). However, a wide temperature range is required.

insufficient watering of seedlings in dwelling causes drying out of soil

Some seeds germinate at temperatures just above freezing, and some at surprisingly cool soil, and still others only when the soil has warmed significantly. Some seeds require a cold period (vernalization) to break dormancy. Meanwhile, others germinate only in response to an abrupt change in temperature (like that which marks the change of seasons). In addition, successful cultivation depends on what role the temperature plays for the seeds you want to grow. Problems with excessively low temperatures usually occur when seeds are sown directly in the open. You may have simply sown your seeds too early. Or temperatures may have experienced a sudden and unexpected nightfall. In a cool or cold temperate climate, late frosts can also be a problem if sown early.

How to solve the problem with too low temperature

germinating seedlings and seeds with foil tunnel

To avoid the mistakes described above, you may want to start seeds indoors before transplanting them to their final growing locations once the weather (and soil) warms up. If they have a short growing season, it may be important to start seeds early. Not only can you consider sowing seeds indoors, but you can also create a warm bed or cold frame in which to sow your seeds. If you want your seeds to germinate, you can protect young seedlings appropriately with a greenhouse, foil tunnel, or row cover. The soil will warm up faster under one of these structures. So it might be easier to reach the temperatures needed for germination as a result.

Don’t let the seeds germinate at too high temperatures.

growing your own cereals with suitable plant varieties and seeds

If you grow your seeds indoors or in mid-summer in a warmer climate, you may have the opposite problem. Many seeds will not germinate in temperatures above 30-35 degrees Fahrenheit. If they have experienced temperatures close to those in your home or garden, this may be the reason for poor or non-existent germination. If you are seeding indoors, you can check to see if there are any heat sources near your growing area that could cause such a problem. Sometimes too extreme temperature fluctuations can cause this. For example, your seeds may be too close to a radiator, stove or oven that goes on and off.

growing seeds in egg cartons under suitable conditions and temperatures

If your greenhouse or foil tunnel gets too hot, make sure you open up the structure to create adequate ventilation. When seeding during a very hot summer, try to provide more shade to lower temperatures. Also, still make sure the soil is mulched to reduce evaporation and water well to make sure you have met water needs to create cooler soil and air temperatures.

Fungal diseases that cause seedlings to rot.

rot on seedlings due to infestation of fungal disease called damping off

If your seedlings have germinated, but may be patchy, and wilt and die soon after, you may have a problem known as “damping off.” This usually results in seedlings not emerging at all and collapsing some time after germination. The problem is most common when seedlings are sown early indoors or in a greenhouse. It is most harmful in the spring, when light conditions and temperatures are low, and humidity can often be high.

germinating stored packets of seeds

This is because seeds grow the slowest at this time. However, it can occur at any time of year. This disease is caused by a number of different soil-borne fungi and fungus-like organisms. These include Pythium, Phytophthora, Rhizoctonia and Fusarium. These attack seedlings shortly after germination and cause them to collapse, rotting the plants . You may see a white mold around affected seedlings, which is a sign that this is the problem.

Follow other tips if you want to get your seeds to germinate

germinating seedlings in the soil from seeds

It is a fact that some seeds naturally have a higher germination rate than others. With all seeds, it is common for a certain percentage to fail. However, with some particular species, it may be that only half of the seeds germinate. It could also be that the seed germination rates are usually low for the seeds you are trying to grow. Another reason your seeds may not germinate could be that they are no longer viable. Unfortunately, seeds can lose their ability to germinate if you have not stored them properly. In this case, unfortunately, the seeds do not germinate at all and are no longer good. They may be so damaged that they can no longer mature into healthy plants. It is also important to know that seeds have an expiration date.

packets of carrots as seeds germinate

It may simply be that the seeds you want to germinate are just too old. Seeds are only viable for a certain period of time, and some lose viability faster than others. Carrots and parsnips, for example, are among the seeds that lose viability more quickly. This, of course, means that it is important to plant your seeds in a timely manner. Aim to grow seeds of these and other plants that lose viability quickly within a year. Alternatively, you can collect or buy these seeds every year. If no seedlings have appeared at all, there is one last possible answer to this conundrum. If you sowed seeds outdoors or in an open greenhouse or foil tunnel, something may have eaten the seeds before they had a chance to germinate. Birds, rats, mice or voles are the likely culprits as garden pests.