Seed Germination—Scarification, Stratification, and Soaking

By on March 15, 2012

In this video, Tricia shares her tips on getting tough-to-germinate seeds to sprout.

  Comments (7)


Guess I lost the previous post—-but was just writing in to complement you on your well-written, informative website—especially Tricia’s nicely composed, easy-to-comprehend, informative video’s…and I stated that I got a hoot out of the shipping & handling one with Keith—if I ever need a “heavy” for added security, I am callin’ Keith !  Lol smile
Thanks again for the well done video’s—hope to find something soon to purchase from you again one day… smile
-Jeff Adams

Posted by Jeff Adams on Mar. 26, 2012 at 3:56:20 PM


I love these videos I learn so much! I wish you all would make documentary series…  And the unscripted parsley chomp cracked me up grin

Posted by Emily H. on Mar. 26, 2012 at 6:49:33 PM


A couple of comments:
1) soaking beans is a bad idea, because the cotyledons come apart, making it difficult to handle the seeds when you go to plant them

2) Some seeds won’t germinate unless they have passed through the stomach of an animal. This is a chemical form of scarification. To mimic this, germination of most seeds that require this treatment will be aided by soaking briefly in an acidic solution, such as glacial acetic acid. A funny story came to light about one famous exception to this acid-bath rule. Many years ago, my old boss, Dr. Eduardo Vallejo, was accompanying the famous biologist Dr. Charles Rick, on an expedition to Peru to collect wild relatives of the tomato plant. They applied the usual acetic acid treatment over and over, but with no effect—the seeds just wouldn’t germinate. Then, Dr. Rick noticed that the wild tomatoes were being eaten by tortoises, whose stomachs are not acidic but alkaline. They tried using a dilute solution of bleach to these wild tomato seeds and presto! the seeds germinated easily. Turns out, a 10% bleach solution for 30 seconds works wonders on all members of the tomato family, even distant relatives like peppers. Just be sure to wash the seeds copiously after treatment.

Bruce Ritchings, Encinitas, CA

Posted by Bruce on Mar. 27, 2012 at 11:38:35 AM

Thank you for the helpful information, Bruce!

Posted by on Jan. 27, 2013 at 11:58:18 PM


putting seeds into plastic bags for stratification is not a good idea.  use paper bags to avoid humidity buildup which occurs inside a plastic bag.

Posted by raymond long on Mar. 07, 2015 at 8:48:12 AM


I’ve enjoyed many video’s and also the written video transcript.  Is there a way to publish the written in a format that allows us to print it (like a recipe - separate from the ads and other written things on the page) and add it to our collection of garden information?  Sometimes I will archive it, to be used later and it’s easier for me to file that weed back through old videos.

Just a thought, and thank you.

Posted by Pat on Mar. 07, 2015 at 10:57:36 AM


A NEAT TRICK - scarification.  Take a piece of sand paper and roll it up into a circle about the size of a quarter (rough side on the inside).

Place several seeds inside and close both ends (I tape a piece of paper on one end, use my palm to seal the other end).

Shake!  Depending on the seeds & sand paper grit, usually a minute or less.

Follow with a soak overnight.  Plant next day.

This trick will save you time and works like a charm!

Posted by Scott on Mar. 16, 2015 at 7:38:03 AM

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