Germination times


It is seed sowing time again and the first seeds will go in this week. I have a heated propagator that is maintained to about 20c. It is always better to delay sowing a bit if you do not have a bright, frost free place to grow on seedlings once they have germinated. There is no point sowing seeds in a warm propagator if you have to move them out into a cold greenhouse in February or have to grow them on in a dark place where the seedlings will get leggy and straggly. Bear in mind how fast seedlings grow too. Tender veg and flowers cannot be planted out till May in most parts of the UK and Ireland. Some seedlings grow very fast and sweetcorn and nasturtiums will be ready to plant out in just six weeks while tomatoes take longer and antirrhinums and petunias will be among the first seeds you  sow because the seedlings take a long time to start to bloom.


So here are some results from sowing last year. The list is obviously not comprehensive: these are just a random selection of things I sowed. For details of how I sow see this previous post:

I usually start to sow in early February and continue sowing, in trays in the propagator, until April. Most of the seeds are sown the same way, covered with Perlite in about 20c. I have listed them below according to what month they were sown because I thought it might be more useful. I sow the majority of bedding plant seeds in mid March. This list does not include outdoor sowings.

February sowings

Antirrhinum 10-14 days, according to variety

Armeria ‘Ballerina’ 10 days

Arthropodium cirratum 21 days

Calabrese and cabbage 5 days

Carnation ‘Giant Chabaud’ 3 days

Celeriac 12 days

Chilli 9 days

Delphinium 19 days

Euphorbia ‘Glitz’ 21 days

Haloragis ‘Wellington Bronze’ 25 days

Lavender ‘Blue Wonder’ 7 days

Lettuce 10 days

Mimulus ‘Bounty Yellow’ 11 days

Molucella laevis 8 days – erratic

Nicotiana mutabilis 20 days

Onions 11 days

Parsley 26 days – erratic

Persicaria orientalis  20 days

Rehmannia elata 26 days

Rhodochiton 14 days

Salvia farinacea 10 days

Salsola 17 days

Schizanthus 10 days

Stocks 8 days

Thyme 10 days


March sowings

Acmella oleracea 6 days

Ammi majus 11 days

Antirrhinum 7 – 12 days according to variety

Aster (callistephus) 4 days

Bupleurum rotundifolium 20 days

Celosia 4 days

Coreopsis 5 days

Dahlia 8 days

Helichrysum (bracteantha) 6 days

Lovage 12 days

Mignonette 11 days

Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’ 7 days

Proboscidea 9 days

Phlox drummondi 6 days

Rudbeckia 9 – 15 days according to variety

Statice ‘Art shades’ 5 days

Tagetes ( French marigolds) 3-4 days

Tomatoes 7-10 days


April sowings

Amaranthus (various) 4-8 days

Basil 5 days

Cabbage and cauliflowers 5 days

Cosmos 4 days

Cucumber 4 days

Lettuce 4 days

Mina lobata (quamoclit) 5 days

Papalo 3 days

Portulaca oleracea 6 days

Squashes including courgettes 5-7 days

Sweetcorn 7 days

Tagetes 3-5 days


Good luck with your sowing this year!

Mina lobata

Mina lobata











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7 Comments on “Germination times”

  1. digwithdorris
    February 10, 2016 at 8:23 am #

    Thanks for sharing your timings, helpful. The key thing for me is after the thrill of germination they get leggy due to lack of light. Tricky business!

    • thebikinggardener
      February 10, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

      It can be tricky but the key really is not to start too early. But that is easier said than done when those seed packets are siting there and you have itchy fingers!

  2. sueturner31
    February 10, 2016 at 9:26 am #

    Just love this time of year

  3. joy
    February 10, 2016 at 12:44 pm #

    oh my goodness here we go 2016

  4. Luce
    February 10, 2016 at 10:57 pm #

    Thanks, you inspired me to order some seeds.

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