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Factors that Influence Successful Seed Plant Propagation

Apr 29, 2008
When choosing seed plant propagation, every gardener wants to create optimal conditions for their plants to get off to a good start. There is a lot that goes into germination, and if even one factor is missing, it can have profound effects on your entire crop. Here are the factors that most greatly influence how well your seeds will germinate.

Water - Soaking up water is the first step in germination and therefore successful seed plant propagation, so it should be at the forefront of the mind of any hydroponic gardener. The factors that influence water uptake are the amount of water available in the medium and the thickness and density of the seed covering. You can increase water uptake by making sure that you choose a medium that holds water well. Rockwool, for example, is a very popular choice for exactly this reason. You can also treat your seeds in a number of ways to weaken the shell. These techniques can be as simple as using sandpaper to make the shell thinner to as advanced and complex as soaking the seeds in acid until the shells are worn off.

Temperature - A favorable temperature is also essential for germination. This can be tricky, as optimal temperature can change from plant to plant; the best temperatures for germination are usually a little higher than the best temperatures for seedlings. Optimal germination temperatures can range as low as seventy or seventy-five degrees F for plants such as lettuce, celery, spinach and asparagus. Those that thrive in the middle of the range, about eighty to eighty five degrees, include cabbage, tomatoes, turnips, beans and peppers. On the high end, with plants that do will in temperatures of up to ninety five degrees, you will find squash, watermelon and pumpkin.

You must be cautious about it getting too hot in your grow room. Temperatures of over one hundred degrees have shown to kill seeds in less than a day. Even instances where seeds can survive in such high temperatures, it may suck the moisture away from the medium, making it more difficult for your seeds to germinate. This is why purchasing a couple auxiliary fans attached to a thermostat is a smart investment if you happen to live a particularly warm part of the world.

Oxygen - The rate of respiration increases in the seed dramatically during germination. This means that there is an increased need for oxygen. You may try to keep your grow area well ventilated to prevent it from becoming too stuffy, and use fans to circulate the air.

Light - Light is vital at all stages of plant development, and germination is no exception. Make certain that your seeds are not planted so deep within your medium that they do not receive adequate light. At this early stage and through the seedling stage, it is possible to use a completely white light source, such as florescent or white LED lights. Past that, however, you will need to switch to colored LED lights or high intensity discharge (HID) lights.
About the Author
Michael Straumietis is co-founder of Advanced Nutrients, an international marketer and manufacturer of agricultural, home & garden, hydroponics and soil less fertilizers and plant nutrients. To discover more about plant propagation, search the article database in the hydroponics gardening section at http://www.advancednutrients.com.
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