Different species of plants have different requirements for germination. The ones most people are familiar with are the easy to grow ones… marigolds, beans, etc . Generally, annuals are the easiest: sow on the proper depth, provide consistent humidity and warmth and viola! You have seedlings. Annuals live one year and die. They usually profusely seed and their goal is to quickly germinate when conditions are right simply because they only have one shot at reproduction. They need to germinate quickly, grow quickly, and reproduce quickly (flower). These seeds contain very little if any germination inhibitor. The most important criteria intended for planting this kind of seed is getting the particular planting depth correct. Some seeds need light to germinate. Their particular seeds should be sown on the surface but not covered with soil. Sowing depth is information provided on the seeds packet. If not, the general rule is not really to cover seeds more than 3 times their particular diameter. For really tiny seed, just press into the soil plus water gently.
Stratification Then, you can find the seeds which require unique treatment. Many perennials and biennials need certain conditions in order to germinate. These are adaptations to continue its types in the climate it lives in. Perennials and biennials, which come from cold climates, often need the unique treatment called stratification to overcome seed dormancy. I find perennials often have, within one batch of seed, various amounts of dormancy. This is so only a few may germinate immediately and the rest become part of the seed bank in the soil to provide baby plants in the future. An insurance policy of sorts towards something happening to the stand associated with plants. This isn’t a very handy strategy to deal with if you want to grow a lot of plant life from the seeds. Often perennial seed needs stratification to either cause germination to happen or it unifies and improves germination. The easiest way to stratify seeds is to sow all of them in the fall in the place they are to develop.
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Let nature take care of it. Another way, is to sow the seed in the container that can be covered with plastic and put in the fridge or simpler still, the seed is put in a plastic bag with wet peat or sand and a pinch of cinnamon to inhibit mildew growth and this is put into the particular fridge for the required time. Sometimes, it’s only a week, sometimes that is a few months, sometimes they need to stay in the fridge until they germinate. In most cases, you may need to freeze the seed to get a certain length of time.
Sometimes seeds only have a partially developed embryo so that they need a period of warmth, then cold, then warm again. The length of time differs by species that have this type of dormancy.
Soaking. Some seeds require placing in warm water to induce seed germination. Many of the legumes need this. Wild sweet peas, lupines, and locust tree seeds all ought to be soaked before sowing to improve germination. Plant all that swell. Check daily because they can actually swell too much and die. Ones that do not get bigger, either are dead or latent. You can try the next method to help improve germination of the latent ones.
Scarification can be another seed treatment that is sometimes needed to get seeds to germinate. Several seeds need to have water impermeable tough seed coats abraded or nicked to allow water to get into the seeds to start the germination process. This is often done with a knife, sandpaper, or a file. Only go into the seed layer until you see light, some tone of white, material. Also, the majority of seeds have an indentation where the embryo is. Do not make this nick close to the indentation because you may damage the embryo and the seed will perish. I like to scarify on the ends or maybe the opposite side of the indentation. Then your usual procedure is to soak the seed in water. Seeds that can come from fruit often need this type of treatment. There are seeds from fresh fruit which need to pass through a parrot or animal digestive tract. Strong acids in the gut damage the seeds coat. Most people do not have access to solid acids to do this and physical scarification may be the only practical method.
One more method is to soak the seeds in a plant hormone that will stimulate seed germination. Again, most people do not possess access to this chemical and the subsequent can be used as an alternative.
Natural wood smoke cigarettes has been found to stimulate seeds germination. The wood from the seeds’ environment works the best, but various other smoke may be just as valuable. Smoke cigarettes discs can be purchased, liquid smoke flavor, or catching smoke from a fire on a damp cloth, are all practical means of obtaining smoke. There are compounds in the smoke which overcome dormancy, as if a fire just passed through their particular environment and the landscape needs repopulating with plants.
Some seeds need a combination of all these methods. How is anyone to know what a seed needs to germinate? There is an incredible website put together simply by Tom Clothier (search by that will name) that is a huge data foundation of species and their requirements. Other sources are seed packets, but I’ve often seen them list sowing conditions which will not result in germination. It’s best to check another source.
Remember, the success of starting seeds comes with finding out what conditions the seed needs to germinate and then provide individuals conditions. It’s that simple.