A complete guide to starting / germinating seeds. Read on to get the easiest fool proof methods, processes and supplies needed for seed germination. – Gro Indoor
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A Complete Guide to Seed Starting and Germination

by Kunal Khatri 09 Apr 2023

A Complete Guide to Seed Starting and Germination

Planting seeds is one of the two main ways of plant propagation. While it may require some patience, it is definitely an experience that you will enjoy. Many people prefer choosing the seed germination method over cloning because a seedling produces a better yield than a cloned plant's harvest. Seed plantation is also rewarding because it allows you to choose from a vast range of genetics and strains.

If you are interested in growing plants through seeds but are confused about the best way to move forward, this guide will help you make the most of your experience. This article will discuss three, different ways to sprout seeds including simple paper towel method, grow medium plantation, and using a high-quality complete seed starting kit. Let's begin by discussing what a seed requires for sprouting.

Requirements for Seed Germination

The best thing about seeds is that you don't have to go through hoops to germinate them. All seeds need to germinate are air, moisture, and warmth. Of course, it helps if you show your plants some love, too!

All seeds typically have a taproot present inside them. When a seed finds the ideal environment and starts germinating, this taproot slowly emerges out of the shell to search for moisture. Once the taproot finds the moisture that it needs, it starts absorbing it. This makes it swell up, leading to the cracking of the seed shell. Now, the taproot finds the space it needs to break through the surface of the grow medium Remember, your seeds will not germinate if the conditions are not ideal, so ensure that you fulfill all their requirements for germination!

How To Start Seeds Indoors

You may not be familiar with this, but it is not only possible for seeds to sprout indoors, but also there are several ways to go about it. They include simple paper towel method, grow medium plantation, and using a premium starting kit. Let's dig into the details.

The Paper Towel Method

This is the most budget-friendly and simple method of indoor seed germination. It is no surprise why many people, particularly hobbyists, prefer this method. Here's how it works. Take kitchen paper towels and soak them in water, draining out the extra water. Kitchen towels are suitable for this purpose because they are very absorbent, which helps them keep your seedlings well-moisturized. Once you have soaked your towel, it is time to place your seeds inside it gently. Now fold the towel over them to "blanket" them and place it on a window ledge. In case your paper towel starts drying out, you can use a spray bottle to keep it moist.

One essential thing to remember is to keep your seeds warm, regardless of which seed starting method you may be using. Heat is one of the three most important requirements of seed germination. If you don't have any other method of providing heat to your seeds, you can use a seedling heat mat at home.

How much time do seeds take to germinate in a paper towel?

Precisely when your seeds germinate depends on their genetics, but the usual time frame is between five to seven days. It is crucial that you allow your seeds to take their time and not disturb them during the germination process. Once the taproot has sprouted, you need to be extra careful while handling the delicate seedling because, at this stage, it is vulnerable to damage. Also, you cannot expect all of your seeds to germinate, so don't be disappointed if a few of them are left. In the end, it is good to know that using the paper towel method isn't the best way to go about seed germination. You can use this method if you don't have a seed starting kit or pots available, but as a serious grower, it shouldn’t be your first choice.

Planting seeds directly into a grow medium or soil

This method is better than the paper towel method because you plant the seeds directly into a grow medium or soil from the beginning. This saves you from the trouble of potting the taproots, which can be harmful to the delicate seedling. It also saves you time. It is best that you make your garden pots ready in advance. You can utilize small garden pots because they make things simple.

Here's how it works: the first step is to soak your grow medium; soil, or coco, in water. You can add some rooting compound in the water to speed up the germination process. After pre-soaking your medium, you can dig 5-10 mm deep holes. This is the ideal height for your seeds because it allows them to be close to the light from outside. Since the shoots grow towards the light, this exposure is necessary to encourage growth. Now, you can gently place your seeds inside the holes and cover them up with the soil or grow medium.

How long does it take seeds take to germinate in soil / grow medium?

Germination in soil takes longer than that in paper towels but is more beneficial. It could take up to two weeks to observe signs of germination when you grow your seeds in soil, coco or a grow medium. Soil germination involves the least amount of stress to the seeds. Also, as opposed to the paper towel method, the rootlet starts developing right after it sprouts out in soil germination. In short, you can opt for this method if you fear that you may damage your sprouted seeds when you transplant them to a pot as in the paper towel method. You may also use starter plugs, as discussed below.

Seed germination in seedling kits and starter plugs

This method is best for serious growers who want to aim for high yields for commercial purposes. It allows you to achieve high success rates while demanding minimum input from your end. Here's what is included in a complete seedling kit:
• Starter plugs
• Seedling tray with inserts
• Humidity dome
• Grow light
• Timer (depending on your kit)
• Heat mat
In this method as well, the first step is to pre-soak the starter plugs with water. You may add a rooting solution for quicker results. Starter plugs are great for seed germination. All you have to do is pop your seeds into each of them after soaking them. Then you can place the seeds in your tray, cover them with the dome, switch on your equipment, and just allow them to grow. Quick and easy! There's another benefit of using a rooting plug. As soon as a seedling turns into a baby plant, you can easily transplant the plant and the plug into the new medium. This way, there will be no damage to the fragile new roots. Rockwool cubes are an alternative to starter plugs, and they are just as useful.

How much time does it take for seeds germination in a seed starting kit

Seed starting kits are specially designed to facilitate seed germination, so they get you quick results. They also allow you to conveniently transplant starter kits directly into the new grow medium when it is time. Using a starter kit can make things super easy for you, and it is also suitable for serious growers.

How to Increase Germination Rate?

Seed germination can be a process that tests your patience, but it is worth the wait! Some growers may choose to start with clones, but you can also do the following to lessen the waiting time:


One way to encourage fast root growth is to start your seeds under a high quality seedling grow light. The seeds absorb the energy from the light and use it for growing. Also, they will start growing towards the light source. You may choose between Fluorescent grow lights or LED or HID Grow lights. Fluorescent grow lights can be placed very close to your seeds. This results in them not growing too long and thin, which can make the shoots feeble and cause them to fall over. On the other hand, LED or HID grow lights are much brighter, so these high intensity grow lights have to be placed at a distance. Placing them too close can burn your delicate seedlings. You may find it useful to apply a basic veg lighting schedule. This entails 18 hours of light, followed by 6 hours of darkness. You can use a simple light timer to automate this process. This will help maintain consistency and save you from the hassle of manually turning them on or off.


As mentioned earlier, heat is one of the three most important requirements for seed germination. Like several other growers, you can utilize a seedling heat mat to raise your seeds' temperature to about 75 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is the ideal range for promoting fast seedling growth. You can also use grow lights to provide heat to your seeds.


Seeds don't possess roots to get access to water. For this reason, we must ensure that they are kept moist at all times. We do this by pre-soaking the paper towel or grow medium and keeping it moist throughout the germination phase. It is best to aim for humidity levels up to 75%. You can use a humidity dome to cover your seedling tray to increase your seeds' moisture content. If you want to measure humidity and temperature, you can use a hygrometer.

The Bottom Line on Seed Germination

One of the most important things to note is that achieving a 100% germination rate is highly unlikely. This information will help you plan accordingly. For instance, if you would like to grow 20 plants, you shouldn't plant just 20 seeds. You may germinate 25-30 seeds and get rid of the extra ones later. If you want to achieve a wholesome, successful harvest, your start should be strong. Get through the initial stage with hard work and patience, and you will be able to enjoy the rewards in a couple of months. We hope that this information will be helpful to you. Now, it's time to educate yourself about the rest of the grow cycle. Here are our complete guides on growing indoor or outdoor growing.

May 7th 2021
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