Here's some tips to improve germination from seed:
1. Temperature and humidity are important. Improve success rate by using a heat mat or putting in a very warm place until the seeds have sprouted. Most plants have optimal germination temps between 75-90 degrees. Use a thermostat to dial back the heat or put a piece of cardboard between the tray and mat once they have sprouted.
2. Keep relative humidity at 95%. Using a humidity dome and putting about a 1/4" of water in the bottom of the propagation tray will help.
3. Once sprouted, seedlings have enough nutrition biologically to get them to their second set of leaves. They don't need a lot of light for the first 2 weeks. One 18 watt T5 fluorescent fixture is plenty to use until transplanting.
4. For really strong roots, moisten the plugs using a mild kelp solution, or for high value plants add a product like House and Garden Root Excelleurator. Mycorrhizae is also a commonly used beneficial fungus to use after roots have developed.
5. Slowly introduce them to the outside environment by cracking the vents on the dome little by little over a few days. Give them a day or two after taking off the dome before transplanting to a larger container.
*Bonus* For hard-sided seeds use an emory board in a medicine bottle to score the outsides, then soak them for 8-24 hours in a wet paper towel before gently transferring to the plugs.
Hope you enjoyed the post=). What kind of tips or tricks do you use for a high germination rate?
Paul Davis is the owner of Green Dragon Hydroponics, and an avid gardener with over 12 years experience in focused DIY indoor gardening, both soil and hydroponic applications.