The right seed germination temperature for your plants (2023)

Seed germination temperature is critical to getting your seeds off to a good start. That little seed is the miraculous beginning of a whole new plant that will give you nourishment and beauty all season long. But the only way to ensure your plants reach their potential is to provide them with the conditions they need.

To begin with, a seed is in a dormant state and may not even appear to be alive. does he guess? That little seed is taking in oxygen, releasing carbon dioxide and getting ready to grow as soon as Mother Nature says GO! One sign that a seed needs it is having the correct germination temperature.

This article will help you start your seedlings the right way. I have included convenient tables to help you identify the proper germination temperatures for your seedlings.

The right seed germination temperature for your plants (1)

What is germination anyway?

First, let's clarify what seed germination is. Germination is the release of the seed from dormancy. The seed itself must go through several stages to awaken.

The first step is the absorption of water, a process called imbibition by botanists. Remember that even a dead seed can absorb water, so it should not be used as a viability test.

Then, as the seed swells, the pressure of the water opens the seed coat. At the same time, the seed is preparing to use the stored food for energy. That energy will produce a root that will begin to search for food and establish the plant.

what germinationrequires

Your seed has everything it needs to sprout and grow above ground except for three important things. The correct seed germination temperature, plenty of oxygen, and the right amount of moisture. Once you have those three things, you will go from dormancy to germination.

You cannot change the amount of oxygen in the air. However, you can provide a loose growing medium that allows air to move around the seed. You can also provide a fan to increase airflow in the grow room or greenhouse.

What you can control is the germination temperature of the seeds and the humidity levels in the room.

In some cases, their seeds needstratification. This means they need a cool down period before going to a warm soil bed. We do this by putting them in the fridge and making them believe it's winter.

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Temperature and why it is important

So what is the proper temperature? When we plant our seeds indoors, we try to provide the perfect growing conditions. After all, Mother Nature doesn't always deliver the perfect day ten days in a row.

We all know that some plants like cool weather and some like warm weather. Your lettuce grows well on cool, wet spring days, while your tomato plants won't thrive in those conditions.

Germination temperatures are different from growth temperatures.. Your seed plans waiting to grow require higher temperatures than mature plants.

Plant seeds are genetically programmed through a series of chemical and biological reactions to "know" when it is time to start growing. That's not to say that plants aren't confused by the weather, just like we are. A late warm spell this fall caused one of my apple trees to bloom in October.

Temperatures that are too low or too high indicate that the seed must remain dormant. The seed can also recognize temperature variations. The ions in the soil give the seed clues as to when it should break free and start growing.

Even as little seeds, your plants have preferences. Seeds like lettuce and peas germinate in cooler climates. Things like bell peppers, tomatoes, and watermelons need warmer temperatures to germinate.

temperatures for common plants

The best range for most vegetable plants is between 75 and 85°F and flowers should be around 70°F. Fruit varies greatly and many fruit seeds require a cold stratification period. It is important to remember that it is the GROUND temperature, not the air temperature. There are several ways to moderate the soil temperature, which we will talk about later.

Great seed germinationTemperature for Vegetables

variety of plantsTemperatureHumiditydays to
scream55°Fkeep wet7-10

Optimum seed germination temperature for fruit.

variety of plantsTemperaturedays to germination

Optimum seed germination temperature for flowers.

variety of plantsTemperature
days to
singleton button65-70°F7-10
amaranth globe70°F14
they are zinnia70°F5-7

planting seeds

The right seed germination temperature for your plants (2)

To get started, buya soil thermometer. You can use this in your indoor and outdoor planting areas. A good soil thermometer helps you monitor the temperature to make sure you're in the right zone.

It's a good idea to set up your growing area the day before you plant the seeds. Place the seedling starting soil in their containers and water well with warm water. Then let the water drain for a day.

Meanwhile, place the trays on a grow mat or in a warm space, like the top of the refrigerator. Use your handy soil thermometer to check your soil to make sure it's in the ideal range.

After everything settles down, plant your seeds. Keep monitoring the soil temperature and make sure it stays moist.

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What happens in less than perfect conditions?

You may not have a lot of seed germination equipment or the perfect location. Will your seeds continue to germinate?

Seeds have a wide range of temperatures in which they will germinate, so don't worry if you don't get it exactly right. Just remember this: Seeds take longer to germinate or may have lower germination rates if they don't have ideal conditions.

Seeds have a long way to go before we see any evidence of a plant! Watch this video and focus on everything that happens in the first seven days.

How to provide the right soil temperature

Putting a heater and lights in a small room can turn it into a grow room. You can heat the air to 75°F and have full-spectrum bulbs ready for your emerging seedlings. But this may not stimulate germination.

Germination needs the heat of the soil, and bottom heat is the best way to warm the soil mix. You can do this by placing heating mats under your seed trays or pots.

Soil temperature is more important than air temperature. If the air temperature drops to 50°F overnight but the soil temperature stays at 70°F, your plants will still be happy.

seedlingsthey come in a variety of sizes. The coolers have a controller to keep your seedlings at the ideal temperature.

They are typically a foot wide and can be anywhere from 18 inches to six feet long. They are made to fit your sneakers lengthwise. It is better to place them on metal shelves or tables. You don't want them to get too hot on wood furniture.

DIY Options

Seed heating mats can be expensive, especially the ones with built-in thermostats that can be pre-programmed to reach a set temperature. Don't worry if you're on a budget, there are some clever DIY solutions out there.

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  • build onelight boxto keep seedlings warm
  • Use a heating pad made for low temperature people (be careful when watering as they are not made to get wet)
  • string lightingrated for outdoor holiday lights are perfect for warming the bottom of trays

other factors

Humidity and Germination

Humidity is also very important. When you plant your seeds, you will no doubt add warm water to your seedling mix. But making sure that the moisture remains is important for the developing seed.

Most seeds need moisture but don't want to be wet. If you have forced-air central heating or a wood stove, you may not have enough moisture in the air in your home. Plants suffer when humidity drops below 30%.

Misting your flower beds instead of using an irrigation can help provide moisture to the soil and air. If you heat with a wood stove, place a kettle of water on top of the stove. The heat from the wood causes the water to evaporate into the air. This is also good for humans.

You can also use a humidifier to add moisture to the air. Also, you can cover your trays with a plastic or glass lid, or just wrap them in plastic wrap.

air circulation

The other side of adding humidity is also making sure you have good air circulation. A fan can help keep moisture moving and prevent the growth of unwanted mold or mildew spores.

Take care not to allow moisture to accumulate. If you see that the plastic has condensed droplets, remove it and let the tray air out. Failure to do so could cause mold or mildew problems.


Growing your own plants from seed is fun and fills the need for winter gardening. By starting with seeds, you have a lot more options than just buying seedlings at your local megastore. Plus, it's much cheaper to grow your own.

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