Flower seed packets - Knowledgebase Question

Rochester, Ne
Question by djackwork
July 31, 2010
Hi, I just found 10 packets of flower seeds (Cosmos, Calendula, Sunflowers,Cockscomb, Muskmelon, mixed Herbs, Watermelon) with packets dated 1997. Are these still ok to plant or is there a life to these seed packets? Thanks!


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Answer from NGA
July 31, 2010

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Heat, light and humidity are the enemies of seeds. As seeds age they do lose their potential to sprout, even if they have been stored in an airtight container in a cool, dark place so you may want to test their viability before sowing them. Just place several of each of the seeds onto a damp paper towel, fold it up and place it in a plastic bag. Set in on a kitchen counter and check the seeds for signs of life in 7-10 days. Count the number of each that have sprouted and you'll have an idea of the potential germination rate. For instance, if you place 4 of each of the seeds on the paper towel and only 1 of that type of seed germinates, you'll have a 25 percent germination rate from the rest of the seed package. In that case, you'll need to plant 4 seeds in a single hole to get one plant. Best wishes with your project!

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