How to Use Paper Towel Techniques to Germinate Seeds

You can actually germinate seeds in paper towels and a sandwich bag to get things growing faster—no soil is needed! You may avoid the mess and hassle of seed-starting trays, domes, or temperature monitors by using this easy method instead.

Why do seeds sprout on paper towels?

You may be wondering why the paper towel approach works well if you're new to gardening or if you're just used to beginning seeds in soil. There are several reasons why gardening professionals suggest using this straightforward, reliable method.

More seeds can germinate in a smaller area:

You may start more seeds at once by using a paper towel to germinate them because it saves a lot of room.

You may watch how seeds are compactly grown within a damp paper towel and then placed in a sandwich bag by following the step-by-step instructions provided below. These nicely packed bags can be set on a south-facing window ledge to save up space on your kitchen table from beginning trays that might never sprout.

Prior to planting, choose the best seedlings:

All you can do once seeds are buried in the soil is bide your time and hope for the best. However, using the paper towel approach allows you to look through the transparent bag and witness the seeds sprouting.

This procedure, in addition to being incredibly satisfying to watch, lets you select the strongest and fastest-growing seeds to plant in soil and develop into mature plants.

Accelerate seed germination:

By using paper towels, you can expedite the germination process of seeds. The regulated temperature and moisture inside the bag can allow seeds to sprout in a few days, depending on the kind of seed.

The paper towel approach creates warm temperatures that are particularly beneficial for seeds that typically take a long time to germinate.

Which types of seeds can sprout when placed inside a paper towel?

Because it produces ideal germination conditions for a wide variety of vegetable, fruit, herb, and flower seeds, this method is extremely adaptable.

Those who enjoy hearty vegetables should try squash, broccoli, and turnips. You can try different fruits, such as watermelon, cantaloupe, and strawberries, based on the climate where you live. For new gardeners, zucchini, tomatoes, and peas are perfect options.

Seedlings, which commonly require an extended period to grow, benefit from the pleasant temperature that the paper towel technique provides. Test it with more slow-growing seeds, such as chili pepper or asparagus.

How do you germinate seeds using paper towel techniques?

1. Assemble materials:

Paper towels, seeds, transparent plastic bags, water, tweezers, potting soil, and tiny indoor pots (for relocating seedlings upon germination)

2. Wet the paper towel:

Gently run a paper towel under the faucet. Verify that the paper towel is slightly wet but not drenched. Too much moisture might cause seeds to perish before they have a chance to grow.

3. Add seeds to the paper towel:

Put the seeds you want to sprout on the upper portion of the paper towel. To provide room for growth, make sure to leave a quarter inch between each seed.
To ensure that the seeds are protected, fold the paper towel over them.

It is advised by experts to roll the paper towel into a loose cylinder while germinating tomato seeds.

4. Use cinnamon to prevent plant mold:

Cinnamon can also be applied to seedlings right after germination, as it prevents the growth of fungus infections. In the end, cinnamon speeds up growth by shielding seedlings from rot. Just sprinkle some ground cinnamon on them immediately, and the rest will take care of itself.

5. Place the paper towel inside a sandwich bag

Carefully place the paper towel containing the seeds inside a sandwich bag. (To make it simpler to enter the paper towel without disturbing the seeds, you can blow into the bag to widen it.)

A greenhouse-like environment of warmth and moisture will be created for germination by adding air to the bag. Place the bags in a warm, bright spot in your house, such as the sill of a south-facing window.

6. Track your progress:

Every day, check your seeds to see if the seed coat (the outer layer of the seed that peels away when the root bursts through) has begun to divide into a little, white root.

Additionally, you should watch out that the paper towel doesn't dry out. When it begins to appear dry, open the bag and lightly mist it again with a spray bottle, and make sure not to saturate too much.

7. Put seeds in pots once they have germinated:

It's time to move the seedling once the root reaches a length of one or two inches.
When moving seedlings into tiny indoor soil pots, exercise caution because the roots are quite fragile.

Your seedling can be gently picked up by the seed coat using tweezers or a soft grasp. Create a tiny hole in the ground for the root system, and then plant the seedling there.

The green stem and seed coat should be above the soil line, and only the white portion of the root should be below it. After that, carefully fill the hole with dirt.

Depending on the temperature where you live, the seedlings should be strong enough to be planted outdoors in a few weeks. Wait until the temperature rises above 55°F and your seeds have produced their true leaves, or second set of leaves, before planting outside.

To find out the precise recommended planting temperature for the fruit, vegetable, or flower you are working on, review the product page.

Use theUSDA plant hardiness zone map for details on the best time to plant.