How do you germinate seeds in paper towels?
Once you’ve selected which seeds you want to plant, it’s time to start germinating. We’ve broken down our paper towel method into a few simple steps:
To prep your seeds for germination using the paper towel method, you only need a few simple supplies. Make sure you have all of the below on hand before you begin:
- Viva® Multi-Surface Cloth™ paper towels
- Clear sandwich bags
- Small indoor pots and potting soil (to transfer seedlings after germination)
Take a paper towel and run it lightly under the tap. Make sure the paper towel is damp, but not soaking. If seeds get too wet, they may end up rotting before they’re able to sprout.
We recommend using Viva® Multi-Surface Cloth™ paper towels because they stay strong even when damp.
Take the seeds you wish to germinate and place them on the top half of your paper towel. Make sure to leave an inch between each seed so they have room to grow.
Fold the paper towel over the seeds so they’re sandwiched between two layers of damp paper towel. If you’re germinating tomato seeds, experts recommend rolling the paper towel into a loose cylinder.
Take the paper towel with the seeds inside and slip it carefully into a sandwich bag. (You can blow into the bag to open it wide and make it easier to insert the paper towel without disturbing the seeds). Adding air to the bag will also help create the moist, warm conditions for germination, similar to a greenhouse.
Put the bags in a warm, sun-filled area of your home, such as a south-facing window ledge.
If your window ledge isn’t wide enough, you could also place them on top of a bookshelf or fridge that’s near a window. Bathroom windows are a great option as steamy showers and baths add some extra humidity to promote faster germination.
Now it’s time for the fun part! Check your seeds every day to see if a small, white root has started to split through the seed coat (the outer layer of the seed that peels away as the root breaks through).
You’ll also want to make sure the paper towel doesn’t dry out. If it starts to look dry, open the bag and use a spray bottle to spritz a little more water, being careful not to oversaturate.
Once the root is an inch or two long, it’s time to transfer it to potting soil. Don’t worry if some of your seeds don’t sprout, as this is to be expected.
The root is very delicate, so you need to be careful when transferring seedlings into small, indoor pots of soil.
Use a gentle grip (or tweezers) to pick up your seedling by the seed coat. Make a small hole in the soil for the root, then place the seedling into the hole. Only the white part of the root should be beneath the soil, with the green stem and seed coat above the soil line. Then, gently cover the hole with soil.
In a few weeks, the seedlings should be strong enough to plant outdoors, depending on the climate where you live. Before planting outside, wait until your seeds have sprouted their second set of leaves (known as true leaves), and the temperature is above 55°F. Check the seed packet for the exact ideal planting temperature for the fruit, vegetable, or flower you are working with.
And that’s that! Clean up any stray soil with a Viva® Multi-Surface Cloth™ paper towel, and enjoy the fresh new influx of green into your home or garden. It’s truly amazing to see how a little extra plant life can rejuvenate your mood, productivity, and wellness. Embrace all that this season has to offer, and let your happiness bloom!