The Q&A Archives: Presprouting Seeds

Question: I saw on a garden show where they placed seeds in a piece of paper towel which has been prewet, then placed in plastic and put it in warm spot until they sprout. Question: can this be done with all seeds or just certain ones?

Answer: Presprouting seeds as you described can be done with almost anything (although warmth is not always required -- that depends on the particular seeds you are starting). Sometimes it is done to verify viability of a batch of seed and occasionally for seeds which are difficult to germinate or for seeds the gardener wishes to accelerate for some reason. In many cases, however, it is not particularly helpful or necessary so we avoid the extra step.

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