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6 Common Reasons Your Seeds Arent Germinating

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Have you tried starting some seeds, but you’re still staring at a pile of soil weeks later?

Here are some of the most common reasons your seeds aren’t germinating.

Not Enough Light

Most Seeds Need A Lot of Light To Germinate
Most Seeds Need A Lot of Light To Germinate

Starting seeds early in the season can be a tricky but rewarding endeavour.

One of the many issues that can arise is a lack of light getting to your seeds.

Many seeds need a lot of light to germinate.

This is where grow lights can be helpful and “trick” the seeds into thinking the days are longer, that spring has arrived, and that they should start sprouting.

What I Use
LED Grow Light Strips, 4Pcs
  • MORE EFFICIENT & SUPER BRIGHT
  • AUTO ON OFF & TIMING FUNCTION
  • 4 DIMMABLE LEVELS
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Too Cold

Again many seeds need a certain amount of heat before they germinate.

This is true of more exotic plants like chillis used to warm growing conditions.

That is why many growers use a heat mat to help get their seeds started.

A heat mat provides gentle but constant heat and is placed under seed trays to warm the soil up.

The Mats I Use!
Hyindoor Heated Seed Mat
£15.99
  • Dimensions: 10"x 20.75"(25*52cm); Watt: 17.5W; Voltage: 240V; Power Cord's Length: 180cm.
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02/21/2024 12:09 am GMT

Not Enough Water

Seeds need water to kick start a lot of the processes that begin germination.

If they aren’t getting enough water, then germination won’t happen.

Ensure you check on your seeds every few days and that the water is moist.

Please don’t overdo it, though, as you don’t want your seeds sitting in water, as this can cause issues of its own.

Old Seeds

Sowing Seeds In A Seed Tray]
Sowing Seeds In A Seed Tray

As seeds get older, they cease to be viable and won’t germinate no matter what you do.

If you are sowing from an old packet and nothing seems to be happening, this is likely the cause.

Check the packet to see if it has a use-by date, and always try to use your oldest seeds first.

Many seeds will be viable for at least two years, some even longer.

Natural Poor Germination

Some seeds just have poor germination rates no matter what you do.

Different plants have different methods for seed germination, and this results in some being excellent germination while others are poor.

That’s just the way it is.

Seed companies will often include the expected germination rate on the packet, so look out for that.

Not Enough Humidity

Some seeds need really humid conditions in order to germinate. Chillis, particularly the really hot ones, are prime examples of this.

If you are sowing seeds that need high humidity levels, try using a propagator to get them going!

When the lid gets nice and bubbly
A humid propagator

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Wilkinson Ladd Stephanie

Sunday 2nd of April 2023

Thank you for sharing your advice on plants it's a great help 😀

Barry Hickley

Wednesday 19th of April 2023

Hello Daniel, thanks for sharing your gardening expertise. Like you I started my working life in gardening with the Portsmouth Parks Department although it's been a long time since, I still enjoy gardening at home. However, trying to emulate UK successes when growing plants from seeds in Spain has often resulted in poor results, but I still get a lot of pleasure from our garden. Please keep the tips coming.