Written by TagTomat 17 May 2023 11:15

Testing the germination capacity of seeds


Most seeds are lasting for a long time, but if you have older seeds lying around that may have been stored for a while, it is a good idea to test their ability to germinate. In this post, you can read how to test the germination capacity of seeds.


Why is it important to test the germination capacity of seeds?

Seeds can lose their ability to germinate over time or if they have been stored incorrectly, for instance, if they have been exposed to high levels of moisture, heat, or too much direct sunlight. If you want to avoid disappointment after sowing your seeds, you can check their status before pre-germinating or sowing. If eight 8 of 10 seeds sprout, the seeds have a good germination ability, and you can expect a good yield. If fewer seeds sprout, it is not necessary to through them away, but make sure to sow a little extra to ensure enough seeds sprout.


To test the germination capacity, you will need the following materials:

  • Seeds
  • A seed tray, such as a plate, saucer, or the lid of a glass jar, or a cut-open milk carton
  • A roll of kitchen paper towels, a dishcloth, a coffee filter, or hemp fibre (you can also use cotton, but as it is typically transported from afar, we prefer to use locally sourced hemp fibres)
  • A marker pen, some cardboard, or wooden sticks (unless you can write directly on the milk carton) to make signs.
  • Water
  • Possibly an artificial growth lamp
  • Possibly glass bowls or glass jars


How to test your seeds germination ability:


(1) Prepare your seed tray by placing approximately three layers of kitchen paper towels, an old dishcloth, a coffee filter, or some hemp fibres in the bottom of the tray, and make sure the base is soaked in water.

(2) Place 10 seeds of the same kind in each seed tray.

(3) Remember to label the tray with the type of seed to keep track.



(4) Optionally, place a glass bowl or jar upside down over the seed tray to retain moisture and heat.

(5) Place the seed tray at an appropriate temperature* and possibly under an artificial growth lamp.

(6) Check on the seeds every day and remember to water the base to keep it moist.

(7) Keep track of how many seeds sprout. Seeds with good germination ability usually sprout after 2-3 days, but some seeds like chili or tomato seeds may take a couple of weeks.

*Most seeds sprout at room temperature (such as peas, sunflower, and beans), but some seeds (such as chili) require higher temperatures to sprout.