Last updated: March 29, 2021

What Does Germination Mean?

Germination is the budding of a seed after it has been planted in soil and remained dormant for a certain period of time. For plants that reproduce through seeds and pollen, the seeds eventually grow into young plants through the process of seed germination. When seeds are planted, they remain inactive until conditions are suitable for germination.

For germination to occur various conditions must be met such as the proper amounts of water, humidity, oxygen, temperature, and light. When these conditions are met, the seed begins to enlarge as it takes in water and oxygen. The seed's coat breaks open and a root, or radicle, emerges from the seed, which is followed by a plant shoot. This initial stage of a plant’s development is germination.

Growers tend to want to speed up the germination process by triggering or forcing their seeds out of their dormant state so they begin to grow. This is often done by keeping the seeds moist by soaking them and then housing them in a dampened paper towel.

Germination rates vary between plants, with carrots, celery, peppers, and okra being amongst the most difficult at 50 to 55 percent, meaning only 5 out of 10 seeds will germinate successfully. Cannabis, cucumber, lettuce, peas, turnips, and watermelon having a more successful germination rate of 80 percent.

Seeds can take anywhere from 3 to 14 days to germinate depending on the plant and the method of germination (soil versus hydroponics).


Maximum Yield Explains Germination

In horticulture, germination is a form of propagation that occurs in most plants. The process can be initiated by the absorption of water and oxygen, coupled with the seed's surrounding temperature, light sensitivity and intensity, and humidity.

Before germination occurs, the seed does not have the required nutrients for plant growth. When the seed receives the nutrients and water required, then enzymes inside the seed are activated and the process of growth begins.

First, a root known as the radicle emerges from the seed which allows the plant access to water. Next, shoots, or plumules, begin to grow above ground, including the stem and leaves that harness the sun’s energy for further development.

There are several factors that can affect the germination process. Water and humidity are vital to germination because the seed must undergo imbibition to stimulate root growth. However, too much water can be a harmful because oxygen may not reach the growing seed.

Additionally, different seeds require different temperatures for optimum growth. Some only grow in cold temperatures while others require high temperatures.

Upon reaching the surface, plants undergo a light-dependent transformation called photomorphogenesis, so light intensity also affects the germination process. For example, cannabis seeds require warm temperatures and lots of cool light, often delivered artificially through the use of grow lights.




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PropagationSeedsPlant ScienceGermination

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