Inconsistent Rosemary Germination
Answered by: Richters Staff
Question from: Lynn Olund
Posted: Before April 1998

We are certified organic growers and part of our business is bedding plants. We have tried to start rosemary for ten years and are wondering about the tremendous inconsistency of germination, ranging from 1% to 25%. We cover the seed lightly and keep it moist. The flat is held at 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius) with bottom heat. Is there some specific need that we are not meeting? Thanks!

Rosemary seed supplies have been inconsistent. We have noticed tremendous variability in seed quality over the years. The past two years the germination rates of seeds from many companies have been poor, often less than 50%. This year rosemary seeds are scarce and some of the major companies are scrambling to secure supplies. We are happy to report that our current batch of seeds (Feb. 97) is germinating well, with good germination and seedling vigour.

A trick to try when you are having trouble getting good germination: if your regular sowing method does not provide good germination within four weeks, try sowing another seed box, watering it, and freezing it for a week or two. We have been able to improve germination sometimes using this method.

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