Many types of plants grow from seeds, but in order for the plants to grow, the seeds must first germinate. Annual and biannual flowers are all easy to grow from seeds. However, the size of seeds differs from plant to plant. While hollyhocks have tiny seeds, other plants have hard seeds that will not germinate until the seed is scarified. According to the North Carolina State University, scarification is when the hard shell of a seed is ruptured to allow in water so the seed can germinate. Cutting seeds is a method of scarification.
Hold the seed steady with one hand on a hard surface such as a cutting board.
Push the tip of the knife into the bottom edge of the seed until the knife nicks the seed's hard outer coat. Do not cut all the way through the seed, per the Tree Help website.
Examine the seed. If you see a white interior you have cut the seed deep enough for it to germinate properly when planted.