How to test the germination rate in a batch of seed

Materials Needed:

  • 10 -20 of the seed to be tested
  • A spray bottle of water
  • A seed starting mat or another place where the seed will stay warm
  • Paper towels
Healthy root systems.
Successful germination.

Germination Testing Procedure

  1. Use a double thick layer of paper towels.  Moisten with water and fold in half.
  2. Open paper towel and place a minimum of 10 seeds on one side of towel.
  3. Fold paper towel over, covering the seeds completely.
  4. Place paper towel in plastic bag, or on plate covered with plastic.  It is ok to roll or fold the paper towel to fit if necessary.  Do not seal the bag shut as you need some air for healthy germination.
  5. Put the bag in a warm spot (for example, on top of your refrigerator or on a seed starting mat.
  6. Check daily to make sure the towel does not dry out.
  7. Most seeds will germinate within 3-10 days.  Some flowers and herbs may take longer or have special germination requirements.  To determine any special germination requirements, please do a simple Google search for “germination requirements for ___”
  8. Check seeds every few days  and monitor seed quality and germination rate.  Healthy seeds have uniform germination and will not have any fungal or bacterial growth on outside of seed coat.
  9. If your germination rate is less than 60%, consider buying new seeds or sowing your seeds extra thickly to compensate for the low germination rate.

seed germination test


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