Germinating pepper seeds could possibly take up to a few weeks. The only way to get those seeds going is to keep them moist in a warm climate. Here is a step by step guide on how to germinate pepper seeds.
When planting new seeds, whether they are hot pepper seeds or sweet pepper seeds, the germination process can take a long time compared to other seeds. The rule of thumb is sow seeds 8-10 weeks before your last frost date. That’s a bit of hard work for seeds, but in order to ensure you get the pepper variety you want, then follow these steps for the best results on how to germinate pepper seeds.
HOW LONG DO PEPPER SEEDS TAKE TO GERMINATE?
Most pepper seeds usually will germinate within 7-10 days. However, old seeds and and seeds for hot pepper plants have a longer germination time. They can take up to three weeks!
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- Pepper seeds
- Soil – Baccto is my favorite
- Containers – solo cups with holes drilled in the bottom or something like this
- Seedling heat mat (optional)
How to Germinate Pepper Seeds
Pepper seeds are like a dainty little princess needing ideal conditions to grow. Here are the steps to take in order to achieve pepper seed germination.
Moisten up soil mix.
Fill seed tray with pre-moistened soil. Make sure the containers have drainage holes.
Lay seeds on top of soil and push down seed to 1/4″ deep.
Cover seed with soil.
Using a spray bottle, spritz soil with water so it is moist, not damp.
Cover seeds with some sort of “dome” to keep it humid. Saran wrap is a cheap way to do this. Cling wrap is great as well. A humidity dome will do wonders if you want to spend a bit more.
Place seeds in a warm spot, somewhere that will keep the soil in it’s ideal temperature range, between 85-90 F. The best way to do this is by placing on a heating mat.
- Keep the seeds in a humid place. Think about a tropical environment. That is what you are aiming for. The seeds will stay dormant if they don’t think the temperatures are warm enough.
- Never let the soil dry out. Keep the seed surface moist, but never let it get soggy.
- If using a humidity dome, be sure to remove the top once a day for a bit to “air out” the seeds.
- Soak pepper seeds in warm water before planting to help break dormancy.
- If using older seeds, plant 2-3 seeds per area. The older the seeds, the harder they are to germinate. They can be thinned out later if needed.
- No need for a grow light until the pepper seeds have germinated.
- Make sure you are using viable seeds. Seeds that have been stored well, in a dry and cool place.
What to do After Germination
Once you have germinated seedlings, remove the plastic covering and turn off the heat mat if using one. They now need at least 12 hours of sunlight per day. However, up to 18 hours a day would be ideal. Artificial light, such as a growing light will suffice until they can be planted where they get full sun daily.
Pepper plants will develop leaves. When they grow their first true leaves, trim off the weakest leaf. Once the second set of leaves grows, trim off all but the best one. This helps ensure the best growth for the pepper plants.
If the pepper seedling starts to outgrow the container you originally sow the seeds in, you will need to move the peppers to larger containers.
WHAT DO PEPPER SEEDLINGS LOOK LIKE?
Pepper seedlings will have small leaves at first. After that, they start growing leaves that actually look like pepper leaves.
If pepper seedlings look a bit leggy, it is a good idea to place them in lower temperatures for a little bit. Just a few hours each day and the stem should get more tough and you should get some healthy seedlings again. Also, make sure they are getting enough light every day.
If you are ready to plant pepper seedlings, learn how to plant peppers here.
Should I soak pepper seeds before planting?
This is a personal choice, but soaking pepper seeds in warm water will provide faster germination.
Can you germinate pepper seeds in a paper towel?
Yes. For the paper towel method, place seeds in a ziploc bag with a wet paper towel and place in a warm area. Once sprouted, move seeds to small pots filled with soil.
Beginner Gardener Help:
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- How to plan a family garden for a year’s supply of food
- 10 ways to prepare garden for spring
- Learn to make compost for your vegetable garden