With seeds that are not tiny, we already have numbers of in our collection, or are known to be easy germinators, or even if the weather is consistently warm and sunny, then this is the technique I use.
Anything I have never grown before, or species that have tiny seeds, or if the weather is cold but those seeds prefer it hot, then I run a trial that includes the Tiny seeds or cold climate germination method as well.
Depending on the rarity of the species I may even run a SMOKE and GA3 trial as well to further increase the odds of success.
For all the common or easy to grow species in warm weather this method outlined below is the consistent winner for me here.
Common warm weather seed germination method.
- I start with my standard sandy well draining Soil mix. I then add it to trays of 100mm pots or large 9lt buckets that I commonly use as pots. More info about Pots here.
- I fill my pots and I give them a firm tap on the table but I do NOT push down on the soil.
Shake the tray or firmly tap them but leave the soil nice and fluffy and at an even density. I don’t care what other folks will tell you, trust me, this is super important!
If you packed the soil down then poked a hole it the soil can prevent good root development later. It can also provide more resistance to the seeds trying to push their way to the surface. It can also cause small pockets in the soil to trap water increasing the chance of pooling, stagnation and root rot, damping off, anaerobic bacteria proliferation and fungal attack, all of which mean death, possibly long before the seeds ever make their way to the surface.The odds of all these issues are very low if you are using a sandy soil mix like outlined above, but by not compacting the soil at all you are completely avoiding this issue altogether.
- Using a tapered stick called a dibber which is basically a giant sharpened pencil, make a hole in the soil the appropriate size for the seeds you are planting. Small seeds get a tiny shallow depression in the surface, medium seeds get a medium sized hole, large seeds get a large hole.
- Drop your seeds in and water very gently with a fine rose watering can.
The still loose soil mix will wash into the holes covering the seeds, and you will not need to level out the soil or push on it or anything. Just water them, then leave them be.
- This bit is the most important bit of all, and yet it is often the hardest to do.
Sometimes it will only take 3 or 4 days till the first shoot emerges.
Sometimes it will take a few weeks, especially with some species where the seeds are super fresh and the plant has a Strong Natural Dormancy.
For example, most Passiflora~Passionfruit species germinate readily when removed from the fruit and planted immediately, and they also germinate readily if a couple of years old. But only at a very low % of success.
A couple will pop immediately, and the rest will rot and die as they don’t have food stores developed, or they have already depleted those stores over time, and they don’t have the energy to shoot. This is because the germination inhibiting dormancy inducing chemicals haven’t formed yet, or they formed a long ago then they were broken down over time.
Super fresh seeds like mine of only a couple months old maximum have successfully formed these dormancy chemicals, and they have not yet had years for them to break down meaning they often need a long time before they will sprout. This is NOT because they are old crappy seeds.
Just the opposite actually, and when they do sprout it may be staggered out over a few months but it will be at a much higher % of success with nearly every seed growing.
Similarly, if you plant a very hard coated species with a very strong natural dormancy and the seeds were not “Scarified” germination could even years.
It all depends on the species and their particular germination requirements and for that reason, it is very important to read the information I give you in the advert text. This is why I say “Please read text!” in great big bold letters right below the price…
If it has special needs then I always say so very clearly because I make absolutely bugger all from a one time purchase. I need you to have success and come back super happy, along with all your friends and family too! While I can never Guarantee germination of anything, by following my instruction you are increasing your odds of success.
After all, it works for me. With me being a grower not just a reseller if it didn’t work I just wouldn’t have anything to sell to you guys in the first place!