Germination Methods and Times

Germination times may vary from one variety to the next.

With some varieties taking up to 4 months. We have a small list with variety names and average days for germination at the bottom of this page. 

But first the basics all varieties benefit from warm to very warm (80-91f) temperatures.

We would like to say this, we have had some new customers asking about seeds that come up but die. They have had this happen with seeds from other suppliers, but not ours and at first we didn’t know what was going on, but we had a customer send us pictures and then we seen seed sprouts that died and it was because the seed didn’t shed it shell. This can be avoided be soaking seeds for 24-36 hours in Salt Peter/ potassium nitrate this will soften the shell and lets the sprouts shed their shell easier. After soaking seeds you can continue with which ever Germination method you like to use. This is most common with C.Chinense, C.Pudecense and some C.Annuum varieties. We soak all of our seeds in saltpeter/potassium nitrate.

This is also due to old seeds. The older the seed the harder the shell is. You can also use grow spurt to help seeds sprout better it makes them a little stronger and healthier. 

This is what we do here at Atlantic pepper seeds. We use these germination methods 

Germination Method 1

We use small containers usually prescription bottles which we buy from local drug store . We mix's 9 parts water to 1part 3% hydrogen peroxide this is to kill off any bacteria and we add a very small amount of Baby shampoo to help cut through the oils on the seeds, We do this for the first 24hr. The next 24hrs we use fresh water with a PH of 6.8 to 7.2 mixed at 18 parts water to 1 part hydrogen peroxide, We keep the water temperature at 91F to 92F and we like to keep seeds in the bottles till we see sprouts changing the water every 24hrs. 

Germination method 2

We use Salt Pepper (Potassium nitrate) for the hard to germinate varieties. We use a mix's of 1-2% salt peter or 1 gram of salt peter to 100ml is a 1% solution for a maximum of 24hrs. This help soften the seeds shell and helps them to shed the shells once they start to grow. This is also a must for wild varieties because it simulates passing through a birds digestive track. On these wild varieties we use saltpeter at a rate on 2-3% for 24 hours max. 

Germination Method 3

We also use paper towel in bags method with good results as well. We put seeds in between folded paper towel after a quick 2-5 min soak in 3% hydrogen peroxide then mix hydrogen peroxide and water at a rate of 15 parts water to 1 part hydrogen peroxide and then soak the seeds and paper towel. Than place them in lunch bags and seal them. Then place on heat mat at a temperature of 82 to 87f. We change water after one week with the same mix of water and hydrogen peroxide. This can be hard to do, therefore we more less just add the new water mix to the bags using more than needed and pore off the excess.  

Germination Method 4

We use this when germinating large numbers in a hurry. We use germination 3 but we change it up a bit by placing the seeds in a mix of saltpeter at .5% to 1% with and use 3% hydrogen peroxide at the same rate as above. We leave seeds in for 5 to 7 days sometimes less on heat mat set at 80f to 85f. If seeds sprout out in just a couple of days you should plant all seeds right away. Then we plant in seed trays and turn up the heat mat to 87f and place under lights. We usually see spouts in 3 to 5 day depending on variety with 25%  taking longer.

Please see pictures at the bottom of this page.

All varieties don't do well in acidic soils, for that reason we like to start in good potting mix for trays or cuttings and then transplant after seeds start to have first true leafs.

Regardless of germination type and growing medium seeds will show varying germination rates from days to weeks. So don't give up on seeds that still look healthy. And Rocoto peppers will take weeks in most cases. And a good number of C.Annuum take longer to germinate 

Now for Estimated germination times under optimal conditions by spices

For Capsicum Annuum germination can take anywhere between  1-6 weeks with 2 weeks being the average with some varieties taking 4-6 weeks

For Capsicum Baccatum germination can take anywhere between 2-8 weeks with an average of 2-3 weeks

For Capsicum chacoense germination can take between 2-10 weeks with an average of 2-6 weeks

For Capsicum Chinense germination can take between  2-12weeks with an average of 2-4 weeks but there are some varieties that well take 6-10 weeks

For Capsicum Eximium germination can take between 3-12 weeks with an average of 3-8 weeks

For Capsicum Frutescens germination can take between 2-8 week with an average of 2-4 weeks

For Capsicum Galapagoense germination can take between 2-10 weeks with an average of 2-6 weeks

For Capsicum lanceolatum germination can take between 3-12 weeks with an average of 3-8 weeks

For Capsicum Praetermissum germination can take between 3-12 weeks with an average of 3-6 weeks

For Capsicum Pubescens germination can take between 3-14 weeks with an average of 3-6 weeks Manzano type peppers usually take up to 2-3 months to germinate under ideal conditions.

For Capsicum rhomboideum germination can take between 3-12 weeks with an average of 3-8 weeks

Now for germination times by varieties, with first numbers being 25% germination rate second number being 50% germination rate and last number 100% germination rate. This is what we have seen here at Atlantic Pepper seeds and are rough Estimates on averages germination times.

 Aconcagua 10 11 15
 Aji Yellow 11 15 20
 Anaheim 10 14 20
 Ancho 11 11 20
 Assam 8 15 20
 Banana 7 10 15
 Bangalore Torpedo 10 12 15
 Bhut Jolokia, regular 17 25 30
 Bhut Jolokia Craig's 12 15 21
 Bishops Crown 10 12 15
 California Mild 12 14 20
 Cascabel 17 17 17
 Caloro 12 14 21
 Catarina 8 11 20
 Cayenne Long Slim 6 8 11
 Cayenne 7 10 14                                                                                                                 Cherry Hot 8 11 29
 Chimayo 7 9 11
 Cobra 11 14 20
 Costeno Rojo 14 20 28
 De Arbol 17 18 18
Dulcetta 15 15 15
 Elephants Trunk 11 11 11
 Fresno 11 11 11                                                                                                                   Fatalii 11 14 20
 Guajillo 12 13 14 to 22
 Habanero Paper Lantern 11 11 47
 Habanero Mustard 11 11 15
 Habanero White Bullet 11 11 15
 Hungarian Yellow Wax 12 15 28
 Jalapeno M 11 11 20
 Jalapeno TAM 11 11 11
 Jalapeno Early 10 10 10
 Japones 11 13 24
 Joe E. Parker 11 15 20
 Kurnool 11 15 20
 Manzano Orange 11 15 28
 Manzano Red 12 12 14
 Manzano Yellow 15 15 15
 Marconi Red 10 12 30
 Mex. Black, Chilaca 11 11 20
 Numex 6-4L 11 15 15
 Numex Big Jim 11 15 20
 Numex Improved 11 15 15
 Onza Amarillo 17 17 22
 Pequin 24 26 35
 Portugal 11 11 15
 Pueblo 11 15 20
 Punjab Small Hot 11 11 15
 Puya 11 11 12

 Rocoto Aji 12 18 45

 Rocoto Marlene 11 19 35 

 Rocoto turbo 12 22 42

 Rocoto Red 11 18 35

 Rocoto Mexican Orange 11 17 34

 Rocoto mini Red 11 15 32

 Rocoto mini Orange 11 22 34

 Sandia 11 15 20 

 SantaFe Grande 11 15 20

 Scotch Bonnet Caribbean Red 10 11 11 to 47
 Scotch Bonnet  11 11 20
 Serrano 11 15 20
 Squash Jam. Red 11 11 15
 Squash Jam. Yellow 11 15 20
 Sudanese 15 20 28
 Sweet  Wrinked Old Man 11 11 15
 Tabasco 15 15 20
 Tepin 18 21 31
 Thai Bangkok 11 11 20
 Thai Large 11 11 15
 Zimbabwe Bird 11 15 15

Here are some of the slowest to germinate

Cascabel 17 17 17
Onza Amarillo. 17 17 22
De Arbol 17 18 18
Costeno Rojo 14 20 28
Sudanese 15 20 28

Rocoto Types 12 20 35

Tepin 18 21 31
Bhut Jolokia, regular 17 25 30
Pequin 24 26 35

We hope this will take out some of the guess work. And never give up on seeds till at least 4-5 weeks on most varieties . and 5-6 weeks on the rare or hard to germinate varieties

Here is a picture with a 24 day old seeds with a new sprout just coming up at day 24. So over 24 Days and seeds are still trying.

Here is another picture with a plant that is over 6 Weeks old with not just one but two seed sprouts one looks about two to three weeks old and the other just up. We see this happen a lot because we always put two to three seeds in to start one plant. As you can see even at 6 weeks a seed can still grow.

Here is why this happens. Seeds go into  dormancy once dried. With some seeds not going into a deep dormancy these are the seeds that sprout up first. Some would say that these seed are healthier or they are stronger ones. This is wrong all the other seeds that take more then just a couple of weeks is the normal time frame for seeds and the ones that sprout first just didn't go into deep dormancy. It is these seeds that in the long term are the ones that won't germinate if kept for too long term. We see this all the time with our seeds. This is why it's good practice to freeze seeds after they are dried or to put them in the fridge for a week or two.  It would be great if seeds are stored for short term one could know which seeds are or are not the ones that are in deep dormancy and the ones that are not. If seeds are frozen Or have been refrigerator. You can expected them to germinate evenly because they are in a deep dormancy state.

Just a note here, if you plan to start seeds as soon as possible then once seeds are dry, if you plant them right away you will see fast Germination times and most will germinate at the same time. This is because the seeds have not gone into .dormancy 

So this is why we do Germination tests and why we see seeds sprouting at different times with a small number sprouting first and than a larger number next and a smaller number again with the last seeds. We take the average of all stages to get the time frame for each variety. So this is why we see 25% 50% and 100% Germination times with seeds. We hope this was informative. We do our best to make sure our seeds germinate  evenly. 

Good luck with your Peppers and happy Growing from us all here at Atlantic pepper seeds and wish you all a big harvest

There is something new we have tried and liked very much, it works just great and we'll be doing things this way from now on. It saves on space.

So here is what we have done we take LED  fluorescent replacement tubes that are 18watts and they have more Lumens than the fluorescents have. They use less powder and don't heat up like the fluorescents do.

We put a heat mat down and then a row of trays and then the LED on top of the trays than stack another row of trays on then LEDs and than another row of trays please see picture.

We use smaller trays that are 14/8 and we use the 40 cell inserts. We have used these trays for years in our drawers we made. And with the LEDs we custom built for peppers. we use High output LEDs and this works great and we might still use them but we like the new setup better. We can get more trays done this way. We had trays stack up five high that was 25 trays in total with 40cells inserts in each one that's 1000 seedlings.

The heat that comes off the LEDs is just perfect for heating the trays up above them. Just thought we would share this with you all.

This is the new setup 

This is the old setup that works very good.

Here is some pictures of a germination test that we do to make sure our seeds are  germinating well