The Q&A Archives: Ideal Conditions for Seed Germination

Question: I am planning on planting seeds within a small greenhouse which has temperature, lighting and moisture control facilities. Since this is for a school project I have little time to find and buy books and was hoping that you could provide me with general information about these. I am aware that the ideal conditions are different for different seeds, but was hoping that you could provide me with general ranges and / or guidelines.

Answer: Most seeds need moisture and warmth to germinate. A reasonable temperature for most seeds is about 70F. Some seeds need light to germinate, while others need complete darkness. Good air circulation is important to help control diseases. Temperatures should remain fairly consistant during germination; once the seedlings are up and growing, different plants have different temperature preferences. A slightly cooler temperature--say around 65--is usually sufficient. Temperature extremes may stunt or even kill seedlings. Use only sterile seed-starting mix, and sterilize your pots before planting by washing them with soapy water,and rinsing them in a 10 percent bleach solution. Hope this helps!

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