3 Seed Germination Methods

Updated on December 29, 2016
Mini greenhouses can help speed up germination.
Mini greenhouses can help speed up germination.

I used just throw the seeds in the dirt and hope for the best, but that made it much harder to monitor growth (if you can even locate where the heck your planted the seeds in the first place). By germinating seeds yourself, you can rear them into young seedlings in a controlled environment during the harsher months.

I’ve tried many methods, but here I will go through the three I’ve had most success with. These include the paper towel method, rockwool method, and the plain old regular seed germination method with quality soil. You can increase your success by buying one of those small plastic greenhouses.

Variation on the paper towel method.
Variation on the paper towel method.

Paper Towel Seed Germination Method

The paper towel method is very simple. All your need is a square of paper towel, water, and a plastic ziplock bag or cling wrap (and of course, seeds).

  1. Rip off a square of decent quality paper towel (something that can hold its shape when moist and not fall apart).
  2. Wet the paper towel and then squeeze it so it's not dripping but moist.
  3. Place your seeds on the paper towel and fold it l over.
  4. Put folded paper towel in ziplock bag or cover in cling wrap.
  5. Place on sunny window sill.
  6. Check progress in 3 – 5 days.

Note: It's best to plant the seeds earlier than later, otherwise they become quite embedded into the paper towel and can become tricky to dislodge.

Rockwool is great for germinating seeds.
Rockwool is great for germinating seeds.

Rock Wool Seed Germination Method

Rockwool is often used for house insulation to reduce noise and prevent mold. Visit your local nursery or hydroponics store and pick up some small rockwool cubes, either with holes or without.

  1. Soak the rockwool in water for a few hours, longer if desired.
  2. Make a hole with a toothpick or knife.
  3. Drop the seed into the hole and push it down to the bottom.
  4. Place the rockwool on your window ledge and play the waiting game.

This method works great for hydroponics system where you can use the rockwool throughout the process. Otherwise, separating the young plant from the rockwool can be tough.

Safety note: It's best not to breathe in the fumes from rockwool. It is safe once it has been soaked in water for a little while.

Regular Seed Germination Method

This is the regular method, and it involves simply mixing some high quality potting mix with compost. You may think this method is totally hopeless, but I’ve had lots of success with it by following the specific needs of the seeds. Make sure you read the seed pack to check if soil needs to stay moist or if watering is only required after the seedling pops out.

I’ve had success growing mint form seed using this method, and if anyone has tried to germinate mint seeds before you’ll know it can be very tricky and you need to have the patience of a saint.

  1. Mix together 2/3 quality potting soil with 1/3 compost.
  2. Add the seeds on the top then cover with a light layer of soil.
  3. Gently pat down the soil so the seeds don’t move around.
  4. Water occasionally if required.
  5. Wait until seedling bursts out; this can take quite some time. It took 2-3 weeks for my mint plant to show up.

Good luck with germination :)

Favourite Germination Method?

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    • profile image

      7 weeks ago


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      my name is siddique 3 months ago

      dear sir I want to increase to seed germinate ,this is my question.


      this methods I have used but not increasing to seeds yes sir so I need your help

    • profile image

      Evan Vanauskis 5 years ago

      When did you post this

    • profile image

      Asim 5 years ago

      I like paper towel technique to germinate seeds. I can grow basil, thyme, sage and other flowering small seeds like portulaca. Thanks

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      USMAN ABDULLAHI 6 years ago

      Thank you for this information you just got me started in my research.

    • profile image

      JK 6 years ago

      Snap lock bags and toilet paper is a WINNER. I was having trouble getting pepper seeds to germinate in soil, they took off like rockets in the toilet paper though!

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      claire 6 years ago


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      my sketches 7 years ago

      ur soooooooooooo cute

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 7 years ago from Land Downunder

      glad it helped :)

    • profile image

      don 7 years ago

      thanks in giving info..

    • profile image

      marcaida 7 years ago

      thanks, and add also other information......

    • profile image

      samantha amielle 7 years ago


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      kristin yvanna carrillo 7 years ago

      thank you so much for helping me:)

    • profile image

      sachie kyra nudnud 7 years ago

      thanks for this info,this helped me a lot :)))

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      Jairo Ambus 7 years ago

      Thnx for helping for my project...!

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      james carl contreras 7 years ago

      thanks for helping me to my assignment

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      blackbird 8 years ago

      Any "to-go" container ,as for salads, with a clear lid may be used.Place a 1/4 in.thuroughly dampened layer of sterile sand

    • expectus profile image

      expectus 8 years ago from Land Downunder

      very true psychicdog.net:) , its really amazing to see a seed grow into a mature plant and produce fruit :), thanks for the comment

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      psychicdog.net 8 years ago

      where would the world be without the planting of seeds!Thanks for the reminder expectus!