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).