Tag Archives: losing seeds

Germinate Seeds Without Paper Towels

Hey Dr. Grow,

I hope you can help me.  I tried germinating seeds on wet paper towels, but they didn’t grow.

Flustered in Phoenix

Dear Flustered,

We have a solution for you that should lead to successful germinating. (As long as your seeds are viable.)

This method is better than the wet paper towel method everyone suggests because with the paper towels, it’s possible for the little white root to attach itself to paper towels. If it does, you will likely break it when removing the seed from the paper towels, killing the seed. Because the little white root and the paper towel are both white, it can be hard to see, so you won’t realize you broke it.

Use this method to germinate seeds quickly, safely and easily.

Put seeds in a cup of luke warm (not cold or hot) water and set it in a dark place, like inside a cabinet, for 12 hours. After 3-4 hours, you can check to see if any seeds are floating. If they are, gently touch them to make them sink in the water.

After 12 hours, drain the water off into a strainer and plant the seeds.

It’s easy to do overnight. If you get up at 6:00 AM daily, you can put the seeds in a clean coffee cup, half-filled with water at 6:00 PM, check for floaters at 9 PM or 10 PM, before you go to bed. Then drain and plant the seeds within a couple of hours of getting up and you’re good to go.

WARNING: Don’t soak seeds in cup for more than 16 hours, or you’ll ruin them. 14 hours is okay. 12 hours is ideal.

Good Luck!

Dr. Grow

Seeds Went Through Laundry

I had several seeds in a sealed zip-lock bag that were accidentally washed with my laundry. The bag does not seem to have opened during the wash. Do you think they are still good to plant?

Many Thanks,


Hello Vman,

We’ve seen this happen several times before. From your description, it sounds like your seeds should still be viable. If the bag went through the wash unopened and had no leaks, the seeds shouldn’t have gotten wet.

Try germinating them to see if they grow. They most likely will if they were viable BEFORE they went through the wash. Even with seeds that have not been through a laundry cycle, you usually find that some will NOT germinate. They may have been too old, or the soil isn’t the correct pH, etc.

In the future, if your seeds do accidentally get wet in the laundry (or anywhere else) try germinating them right away. We place our seeds on a wet paper towel on a plate and cover them with another wet paper towel to sit in the dark for 18 to 24 hours to start the germination process.


Dr. Grow

I’m Losing Seeds

I’ve purchased The Growing Autoflowers book I’m confused about the fertilizer dosages of 20-20-20. In all of my other readings the dosages are sooooo much lower such as 3-0-0 of liquid nutrients. As well as stating to reduce even that amount by 3/4. I’m afraid to use that high dosage do to the fact I’m losing so many seeds. Anything that you can tell me will be greatly appreciated.

— Susan

Hi Susan,

Thank you for your question.

We aren’t hard and fast on the fertilizer ratios, as a lot depends on your soil and other growing conditions.  AutoFlowers don’t need a lot of fertilizer, but they do need some.  That’s why we recommend only using a quarter of what your fertilizer bottle says to use.

If using good soil and good (not hard) water, we have seen good success with 20-20-20, but we recommend only using a quarter of the recommended amount on the bottle.  We have also seen good results with 18-10-10 (again, using a quarter of the recommended dosage on the bottle.)

Since you have been losing seeds, it could be due to your water and/or soil.  If the pH is off, or if the water is hard, it could cause your seeds not to grow.  It also could be the seeds themselves.

We have a few questions to see if we can help you:

1.  What type of soil are you using?  Does it already have nutrients added?  Is it organic?

2.  If starting with rock wool, have you been correcting the pH first?

3.  Do you have hard water?

4.  Have you checked the pH of your soil and water?

5.  If using tap water, do you allow your water to sit out for 24 hours to release the chlorine before watering you plants with it?

6.  Are you leaving excess water in the drainage trays after watering or are you pouring that excess water off?

7.  Are you allowing the soil to dry a little between waterings or are you keeping it saturated?

8.  Are your seeds from a good reliable source, or from a friend?

9.  Have you been able to successfully grow any of your seeds yet?

If you can answer these questions, maybe we can help you figure out why you are losing seeds.  No guarantee, but we’ll be glad to give more information that might help you.


Dr. Grow