5 Tips for Soaking Seeds Before Planting - Backyard Boss
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5 Tips for Soaking Seeds Before Planting

Are you getting ready to plant some seeds, but don’t know where to start? If this is your first foray into gardening or if you are just trying something new and exciting, pre-soaking your seeds before planting can be a great way to get the most out of your efforts. It takes a little extra time, but the results will certainly be worth it.

Here are the top five tips that will ensure you reap all the rewards from giving your precious garden plants an extra boost. Keep reading and learn more about how simple seed pre-soaking can result in bountiful harvests!

First — What Is Seed Soaking?

Soaking seeds in water
Image credits: Gheorghe Mindru via Shutterstock

Seed soaking is a technique often used in gardening that involves immersing seeds in water before planting them. This process helps to soften the seed coat, allowing it to absorb more moisture and promote quicker, more uniform germination.

Seed priming works by promoting and speeding up metabolic processes within the seed without actually starting germination. It is an effective way of increasing the success rate of your crops even under extreme growing conditions or in soils with adverse properties. Additionally, it helps remove chemicals from the seed coat that inhibit germination.

Know Your Crops

Lavender Seedling
Image credits: Jon Hancock via Flickr

Know which crops benefit from seed soaking. Not all plants need their seeds-soaked pre-planting, but there are some crops whose germination rate increases when they’re given a bit of a head start in water. Some examples of plants to soak prior to planting include Hibiscus, pumpkin, and sunflowers.

Seed soaking is an effective way of breaking physical dormancy that some plants show. This is especially true for hard or thick seed coats that are found in many plants.

How Long Is Too Long and What Temperature

Glass of water with thermometer for seed soaking
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When it comes to seed soaking, there is such a thing as too long. The ideal soak time for seeds is 24 hours, but no more than 48. Soaking seeds for too long can damage them and prevent them from sprouting properly. Monitor the clock and don’t overdo the soaking process. After all, patience pays off when it comes to growing your own plants!

Additionally, many gardeners look to hot tap water as the ideal temperature. The recommended range is 140 to 194 degrees Fahrenheit. Soaking seeds at this temperature encourages them to germinate faster and more efficiently.

With that said, some seeds may require cooler temperatures for proper germination. It’s best to research each type of seed before starting your soak! Additionally, do not to let the water get too hot. Doing so can damage delicate seeds, prevent successful germination, and may cause them to rot.

Monitor your seeds as they are soaking. If you notice swelling, they’re done!

Learn Which Seeds Are Viable, and Which Aren’t

Floating seeds in water
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As a gardener, you need to know which seeds are viable and which are not. You should throw away seeds that are floating, as these seeds will not sprout. Generally speaking, if the seed sinks to the bottom of the container after being soaked in water overnight, you can plant these seeds with a good chance of germination. If they float to the top, it might be better to toss them out.

The quality of stored seed, method of storage, and the condition of soil when planted affects viability. Age or quality of seed is one way to tell if a seed is viable; older or lower-quality seeds may not float at all and won’t germinate.

Before planting your seeds, take an extra step to ensure they are viable and will sprout in the soil. This method can save you time and energy down the line!


Kale seeds
Image credits: Hans via PIxabay

Scarifying seeds before cold soaking them is a great way to ensure successful germination. If you have ever cultivated vegetables or flowers from seed, you’ve probably encountered hard shell seed coats that make it difficult for the seeds to break through and sprout. Seed scarification helps break down these tough outer layers, allowing the inner parts of the seed to be exposed to moisture and nutrients necessary for successful germination.

One simple method of scarifying your seeds at home is by gently rubbing them with sandpaper. You can also use tools like blade files in order to lightly nick the seed coatings. Once scarified, soak the seeds in cold water for a two week period, rinsing every day. This will help with the germination process and give your seeds a head start on their growing journey!

Change the Water

tap water
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Refresh the water at least every 12 hours. This helps keep bacteria away from your seeds, ensuring that they stay healthy during their soak. You should also take precautions not to wash away or dislodge any of the seeds while changing out the water. A small sieve or strainer can help. Just get rid of the old water before adding new!

Drain and Plant Promptly

Keimlinge Zucchini 'Mastil' Container
Image credits: blumenbiene via Openers

Planting your seeds as soon as possible after soaking is essential for successful germination. Don’t store your seeds, as this can inhibit the process of germination. So, when you get your hands on those little miracles, don’t wait — get them in the ground immediately!

It’s also important to note that even if you have soaked your seeds overnight, you should still plant them right away. After all, time is of the essence!

Soak Away!

Now that you know all about pre-soaking your seeds before planting, it’s time to put this information into action! Just start with clean water, give your seeds plenty of time to soak, and plant them as soon as possible after you’ve soaked them. With these five tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way to growing a bigger, healthier harvest this year. So why not give it a try? You won’t regret it!

Share this article with your fellow green thumbs and leave a comment below letting everyone know how pre-soaking your seeds worked out for you. Happy gardening!