Saving Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Springfield, OR
Question by MarianneOR
March 5, 1999
I have been saving vegetable seeds for quite awhile with good success. I have some seeds that are as much as five years old. I recently got some five year old cabbage seeds to germinate. As long as the seeds have germinated, will they grow to be healthy plants or will they be weak plants because the seeds are so old? And is this true for all vegetable seeds?


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Answer from NGA
March 5, 1999

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If the seeds were healthy enough to germinate, they will grow into healthy plants. The problem with old seed is that the embryo inside may not be viable. As long as the embryo remains alive, the seed will germinate. You can help prolong life and viability by properly storing your seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark location. Some seeds remain viable for longer periods of time than others, but with proper storage, seeds won't age as quickly. This is true of all seeds, whether flower, vegetable, tree or shrub.

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