Germination Concerns :(

In my quest to do a full stock take, it has raised more concerns than it has done answered questions.  I appear to have an APPALLING germination rate of some seeds and I am concerned that this is going to have a severely negative impact on my ‘business’ moving forward.

For example, on 13th January, I sowed 149 CLEOME ‘Rose Queen’ seeds.  Today, simply because I am literally running out of 40 cell seed trays, I decided to decant all of the seedlings into one or two trays of each type (i.e irradiating all of the gaps and minimising the number of seed trays I am currently using).  It turns out that of the 149 seeds sown, I have managed to successfully germinate only 35 seedlings (23.4% germination rate!)

CLEOME Rose Queen 160416

This just isn’t good enough and although I have followed sowing and growing instructions to the letter, I am obviously ‘cocking up’ somewhere.

Another example is the BIDENS ‘Golden Eye’ I transplanted today from their 40 cell tray homes into 9 cm pots.  I originally sowed 80 seeds, but only 22 have successfully germinated (a germination rate of 27.5%) CRAP!

This wouldn’t be a problem if they were annual plants, but these are perennials, which as any grower knows, is you bread and butter when it comes to sales.

And finally, just to prove a point, MARIGOLD Durango Mix. On 1st March sowed 120 seeds, of these only 21 (!!) have germinated.

MARIGOLD Durango Mix 160416

I know this must sound trivial to some people, but when you are trying to build a business and a new life, it’s important to get it right.

It is a little disheartening, but as long as you learn from these, things, the next tray of seeds will always be more successful 🙂

Oh and one more thing.  In EPIC FAIL news, not a single PEPPER grew 😦

PEPPERS 160416.jpg



17 thoughts on “Germination Concerns :(

  1. That is disappointing, but do you know why the rate was so low? Some bloggers have mentioned compost can have a huge effect on germination rates. Might be worth doing some comparison trials next – or finding someone that has already done some. Is there a gardening equivalent of Which online for example? Maybe it is just to be expected with some seeds? Any new business is going to have ups and downs until you get into it and find out what works and what doesn’t. It looks to me that you are growing some wonderful plants so lots of success too. I wish I could be more help, but I am having my first real attempt at seed growing this year and my antirrhinums are looking minuscule and pathetic and there is no sign of my verbena after a couple of weeks!!!

    • Now my Antirrhinums are one thing that are growing faster than I can keep up with – 520 pricked out last week and another 2 trays to do this week!! Didn’t think of the compost, maybe worth trying a different brand – thanks!

      • My goodness – have you got some red ones and some white ones. I might need them. Could you tell me what the postage would be to Aberdeen as I can’t get the estimate button to work on ebay. We are AB5. Thanks

      • They are ‘mixed’ but if you can give me an idea of the quantity you need, I will wait until they are in bud so I can tell their colours. Postage would be £3.95 standard for 6 plugs, but if you want more than this, I am sure we can sort something out.

      • Might be better if you email be at my contact email address (top of website) and then we can continue this discussion by email? Thanks.

  2. I always find flower seeds hard to germinate. Usually I give them 3 weeks otherwise its a no. Maybe its the low temperature? Dont always follow the instructions either 😉

  3. Could it be quality of seed?

    Are you getting all your seed from one supplier or is it a mix?

    The failing ones… Are they all from the same supplier if you buy from multiples?
    If they are your own harvest then you should really expect a high fail rate.

  4. Personally, the only seeds I don’t have a problem growing is my alfalfa sprouts. I feel that if I buy a plant, I’m somehow cheating. That said, consider this period as learning and developing. If you are keeping track of your income and expenses, you may expect your first two-three years as a loss, years four and five a profit.

    All of that is GOOD as you are growing a business.

    Measures that help: buying seed from a company that has seeds specific for your area. Example: I was living in the high desert and growing sprouts for delis. My supplier had high & dry altitude seeds. Made all the difference.

    Something else I did was to keep the trays covered with muslin for at least 3 days; peeking at the tray every day; lightly spraying the muslin with water once – three times a day, depending on them. I also had them in a root cellar, for warmth and some humidity.

    Now that I’ve shared all this with you, I’m inspired to start seedlings of many packets that my husband recently purchased. I don’t have a root cellar anymore, but I will use my tray flat method that I had had success with.

    I’ll share my dismal failures with you.

    😀 Stiff upper lip and all that stuff. Hang in there – you have moxie.

  5. Do any of them require nicking the coating of the seed or have you tried that?

    In the past I haven’t really done that …. but I’ve been having terrible luck this year with morning glories (of all things) and my aforementioned crusade against delphinium seeds. Both of those are larger types with very thick shells, the presoak prior to planting helps but most forums talk about nicking seeds with a nail file. I don’t really have one of those laying around, so I’ve been holding seeds with a pair of tweezers (as much as I can) and kind of scraping or notching the seed casings very very gently with an exacto knife / razor blade. We’ll see how that turns out, I’m hopeful.

    I don’t remember having an issue with morning glory seeds last year, but this year I’m about about maybe 50%. They’re not a very long germination period so at least you find out relatively faster, compared to the delph’s.

    One other though since you specifically called out the perennials – many supposedly require a cold/dormant period. Delphiniums in particular should have a week to two weeks in a fridge I think, which you can find info about if you read on the specific plants online but isn’t usually mentioned on seed packets.

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