Directions for Sprouting Seeds


Starting a garden from seed allows you to plant more plants for a fraction of the cost of purchasing established seedlings at a garden center. Sprouting the seeds successfully may seem complicated, especially if you are growing several varieties of plants. Starting the seeds indoors gives you more control over the seedling environment and a higher chance of success. Both flowers and vegetables share many of the same requirements for planting. No special equipment is necessary to succeed at seed germination.

Step 1

Soak the seeds in warm water overnight, if necessary for your seed variety, to prepare the seed.

Step 2

Sand off the outer seed coat with a metal file, if applicable.

Step 3

Fill 3-inch diameter seed pots with potting mix. Water the mix until it is moist but not soggy.

Step 4

Sow one to two seeds in each pot to a depth twice their diameter. Follow the packet recommendation for exact planting depth, as this may differ between seed types.

Step 5

Cover the pots with a plastic bag to retain moisture during germination. Place the seeds in a warm (70 degree F) room unless other sprouting temperatures are recommended on the seed packet. Most seeds sprout between seven and 14 days after sowing, but some seeds may take up to a month.

Step 6

Remove the plastic bag once sprouts appear and move the seed pots to a sunny windowsill where they receive at least eight hours of sunlight a day. Water the soil as needed to keep it moist but not soggy until you are ready to transplant the seedlings to their permanent pot or garden bed.

Tips and Warnings

  • A common cause of sprout death is too much moisture and not enough light. Avoid over watering and always place the pots in an area that receives the recommended amount of sunlight.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • Metal file
  • Seed pots
  • Potting mix
  • Plastic bag


  • Ohio State University Extension: Plant Propagation
Keywords: sprouting seeds, seed germination, planting seedlings

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.