Using Bleach to Speed Seed Germination
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Sherry Normand
Posted on: May 01, 2005

I have been more of a clinical herbalist then a backyard herbalist and I have been trying my hand at growing some of my favorite medicinal herbs. I ordered narrrow leaf echinacea as well as other varieties. The narrow leaf had a note attached to it about how to place the seeds in a weak bleach solution prior to placing them in the fridge for a few weeks. I was wondering if this would help the process with other herbs that I place in the fridge? Red root, yellow echinacea, coltsfoot, black cohosh, sweet cicely, ground ivy etc. I would appreciate your expertise.

In general it is not necessary, except for herbs that have an inhibitor to germination that resides on the outside of the seed coat and that can be denatured by bleach. When we have found by trial and error that such a treatment works, we include it on the seed packet. I am not aware that any of the other herbs you mentioned would benefit from this treatment.

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