How to Germinate Seeds in Zip-Lock Bags

Written by kate sheridan
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How to Germinate Seeds in Zip-Lock Bags
Seeds germinate in plastic bags if prepared properly. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Germination is the process of sprouting a seed into a living, growing seedling. The seeds, when exposed to ample moisture, heat and light, swell and soften before sending out a thin, stringy root. They'll soon pop open and begin growing a tender, young stem and their first set of leaves. You can use a sealed zip-lock bag to germinate most seeds. If your seeds require darkness to germinate, keep the bag in a shoebox or drawer until germination.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Ruler
  • Plastic zip-lock bag
  • Paper towels
  • String
  • Stapler and staples
  • Bowl of water

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  1. 1

    Measure the height and width of a plastic zip-lock bag below the seal. Measure and fold a paper towel to fit inside it, but don't insert the towel into the bag.

  2. 2

    Lay a row of seeds on the paper towel. Place a length of string across them. Let the string extend at least ½ inch past both ends of the seed row.

  3. 3

    Staple the string to the paper towel at both ends of the row of seeds. Pull the string taut and staple again, if necessary, so that the seeds are trapped under the string.

  4. 4

    Dip the paper towel into a bowl of water to saturate the towel. Carefully slip the paper towel into the plastic bag. Seal the bag completely.

  5. 5

    Store the plastic bag in a light, warm place until seeds germinate, usually in about a week or two. Remove the seeds to individual peat pots of soilless potting medium after they've grown their first set of leaves.

Tips and warnings

  • Check you seed packet or seed catalogue to determine whether your seeds need light or dark to germinate. Some seeds only germinate in the dark, while others require light.
  • When removing germinated seedlings to pots, hold the young plants by their leaves. Disturb the new roots as little as possible.

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