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Germination Instructions

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    Posted: 27 May 2005 at 12:09

Will all of my seeds germinate?

Sensi Seeds regularly tests the germination rates of all its seed lines. Most of the time, 90 to 100% of tested seeds germinate. If a line of seeds displays a below-standard germination rate (75%), that line is removed and replaced.
However, since all seeds are living material, Sensi cannot offer guarantees on germination rates. We can assure you that all our seeds are viable as well as correctly stored and handled while at Sensi, but post point-of-sale there are too many factors that are beyond our control.


What is the best way to germinate seeds?

View the diagram showing Sensi Seeds' recommended germination method.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Sensi Seed Bank strenuously recommends against submerging seeds in water at any point during germination. Submerging seeds in an airless environment for any length of time has a significant chance of damaging or killing them.

Seeds can absorb all the water needed to initiate germination from moist tissue, as used in the pre-germination method described below. When germination is started using the tissue-and-plates method, the root tip emerges into a dark, moist, airy, humid environment.

If germination is initiated while a seed is underwater, the root will emerge into an airless environment, which can prove fatal. If the seed-casing opens while underwater, the developing plant can drown before it even puts forth a root.

Pre-germinating -  as described below - is the best way to initiate germination prior to planting.

Pre-germinating should never be confused with 'pre-soaking' - submerging seeds underwater.

[See diagram at:  http://www.sensiseeds.com/shop/faqqa.asp?qid=15]

The best way to germinate seeds:

All that's required are some moist tissue and two saucers or plates.

  • Line the bottom of the first plate with a few layers of wet tissue and drain any excess water from the plate.
  • Next, place your seeds on top of the tissue, allowing each seed as much space as possible.



  • Place another few layers of moist tissue on top of the seeds, again allowing excess water to drain off.

  • Lastly, cover everything with the second plate, upside down, to form a 'clam-shell' shape - this will create the dark, moist environment necessary for germination.


  • Place the plates somewhere warm (21ºC) and away from direct light.

Your seeds are now on their way to germination.

  • Check your seeds every day to ensure that the tissue does not dry out. Spray the tissues with water if necessary.



  • Within a few days you should see the first seeds open and a root emerge. It is uncommon, but some seeds may take up to 10 days or even two weeks to open.

  • When the first few millimeters of root have emerged from an open seed, it should then CAREFULLY be transferred it to a small container of growing medium (soil or rock-wool).
  • Make a hole 2-3mm (max 5mm) deep in the medium, place your seed, root first, into the hole and cover over.

  • Seedlings should emerge from the medium within 1 to 3 days.


What are the best conditions for seedlings?

Seedlings will benefit from bright light (though not too close to lamps or in direct powerful sunlight fore the first week or two) and warm (21ºC), humid environment. A propagator is the easiest way to achieve these conditions. A propagator may be bought or built. It is, basically, a box with a transparent top which allows light in but stops humidity escaping. The simplest form of propagator would be a waterproof box with clear plastic sheeting over the top. The advantage of shop-bought propagators is that they often have built-in heating and/or vents in the cover to allow humidity regulation. They also usually allow more light to reach the seedlings.
Place your propagator next to a window to give the seedlings light, but avoid direct sunlight for the first couple of weeks.


When can seedlings be put under lights / in the sun?

When seedlings first emerge from the soil, they can be put under a grow-light, but care should be taken that they do not get overheated. When seedlings have grown their second or third set of serrated leaves (not counting the round cotyledons that initially emerge from the seed) they are usually hardy enough to flourish in direct sunlight or closer to a grow-lamp (preferably metal halide or fluorescent tubes). Always keep  grow-lights at least 50cm from seedlings.

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