How to Grow Seeds on Cotton Balls

Updated February 21, 2017

Seeds contain just enough nutrients to support germination if just four other elements are made available: moisture, warmth, oxygen and light. For that reason, it is possible to germinate them without fertile soil. A moist paper towel, cloth or cotton ball provides a suitable environment for growing the embryo. Transplant the new sprouts quickly, but carefully. They need to start getting the nutritional support that will take them to full maturity almost immediately.

Moisten the cotton ball thoroughly without saturating it. Hold it over the sink or put it inside a colander if excess water drips from it. Do not squeeze the cotton ball.

Place the cotton ball inside a flat or another container. A plastic snack-size bag is also an option. If water released from the cotton accumulates inside the container, turn it over the sink to empty it.

Place the seed on the moist cotton ball. If the seeds are small and hard to handle, place several on a plate and dab them lightly with the cotton. The seeds will stick to the wet surface. Put the seeded cotton ball back in the container.

Cover the flat with a lid or a piece of cling film, or seal the plastic bag. Open the container once the seeds sprout.

Fill a planter with potting mix. Transplant the seedling to the pot without removing it from the cotton ball.

Things You'll Need

  • Colander (optional)
  • Germination container
  • Lid or cling film, as needed
  • Planter
  • Potting mix
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About the Author

Emma Watkins writes on finance, fitness and gardening. Her articles and essays have appeared in "Writer's Digest," "The Writer," "From House to Home," "Big Apple Parent" and other online and print venues. Watkins holds a Master of Arts in psychology.