The Q&A Archives: Can year old seeds be used?

Question: I have cosmos and nasturtium seeds from last year. If planted now, will I get positive results from either? Thank you.

Answer: Most seeds will remain viable for 2-3 years if they've been stored properly. If yours were in a cool, dry place they should be alright. If you have lots of seeds you can do a germination test prior to planting. Take 10 seeds and fold them into a moistened paper towel, then put the towel in a plastic bag (unsealed). Set them on your kitchen counter. In 10 days check to see how many have sprouted. If all ten sprout, you'll have 100 percent germination; if only 5 sprout, you're down to 50 percent germination rate and you'll want to plant 2 seeds in each planting hole.

Best wishes with your garden!

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