Temperatures For Germinating Seeds - Knowledgebase Question

Cherry Hill, NJ
Avatar for owayslate
Question by owayslate
March 1, 1998
I've germinated vegetable seeds by placing them between damp paper towels and putting them in a plastic bag. I'd like to try this method with flower seeds. I'd like to put the seeds in the oven with the door open because it's warm in there (from the pilot). Using a thermometer, the temp in the oven is 80 degrees. Is this too warm? Will seeds like geraniums germinate this way, or do they need light to germinate?

Answer from NGA
March 1, 1998
Germinating seeds between papertowels is fine. Putting them into the oven, even with just the pilot light on, is not a good idea. Some seeds can take three weeks or more to germinate - can you do without your oven that long? If you expose them to fluctuating temperatures, the seeds may pout and not sprout at all. To compound the problem, 80F degrees is on the high side for seed germination, and many seeds will die. Those seeds not needing light to germinate can be sprouted between papertowels in a plastic bag placed on top of your refrigerator or near a radiator, or other source of heat. The seeds that require light can be sprinkled on a damp papertowel which is placed face-up in a plastic bag, and the bag can be put in a warm place. I applaud your creativity, but hope you'll reconsider and not send your seeds to the oven!

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