Soak Chili Seeds
The fresher the chilli seeds get into the soil, the higher the germination rate. With dried seeds, the germ count is unfortunately often lower. How many seeds germinate depends on age, storage and variety.
When soaking the chilli seeds in chamomile tea, the germination rate then increases again: in the best case to 100%. Here we have compiled a list of the different means that can also be used for pre-swelling.
If you pre-swell chilli seeds, their germination period will be significantly shortened. In one experiment, 50 seeds were soaked for 12 hours. Another 50 seeds were sown directly into a moist soil. After six days, the pre-treated seeds began to germinate. On the 10th day only the untreated seeds germinated. Since these were recently extracted Capsicum annuum seeds, the germination rate was about the same.
Some varieties can only be germinated with some effort. The original type of chili - chiltepin - is such a plant. Without pre-treating the seed, perhaps one in ten germinates. With the right additives in the water, their number can be significantly increased.
The best thing you can give your seeds before planting is a pleasant soak.
The seed coat becomes soft and permeable so that the germination process can start soon.
The best known ways to make chilli seeds germinate more quickly are by using a soaking agent: Chamomile tea, black tea, detergent, guano and saltpeter.
Chamomile tea is probably used by most chili growers. It is already available in many households. It is very easy to use. They cook themselves a tea, drink this and make a new infusion with the same tea bag. Use the weak chamomile tea to soak the seedlings. If you put chili seeds in the tea glass, it should be cooled down to a temperature of 25 °C. The tea should then be soaked in the tea glass.
The advantage of chamomile tea is that it is considered antiseptic. At least it takes away the bad bacteria and fungi the vitality to damage the chili seedling. The seeds are soaked for between 8 and 48 hours. So far we have always soaked chili seeds overnight and planted them the next morning. With this method the germination rate was always satisfactory.
With black tea you proceed similarly as with chamomile tea. In one trial, the result was so sobering that we haven’t tried this method since. Compared to the seeds treated with chamomile tea and lemon juice, the number of plants that rose was significantly lower. It could not have been the cultivar or the variety.
Some chili growers swear by a few drops of washing-up liquid in the water for pre-swelling. Probably a soap solution makes their seed skin permeable faster. If there are fats on it, they would be dissolved by the detergent. If you want to try this variant, you should choose biodegradable detergent without perfume and balm. Leave the chili seeds in the water for about 3 hours. Allow to dry on a kitchen towel before planting.
We have not yet tested salt water to accelerate germination. But we will certainly catch up soon. You don’t really want to have salts in the breeding soil. Because nutrient salts damage the seedlings. Salt also withdraws the water from the seeds. In spite of this, we will soon try this out. If you have already gained experience: Write it down in the comments.
We can confirm that a small amount of guano fertilizer dissolved in water helps chiltepin and pequin to germinate.
On about 200 ml lukewarm water we gave a striped teaspoon. Leave to soak overnight.
For a potassium nitrate or saltpetre solution take one gram per 100 ml of water. Some professional plant breeders swear by it. Soaking time: 24 hours. Potassium nitrate is available in small quantities in pharmacies. If you order more than a few grams of potassium nitrate, you may be visited by a bomb disposal team. The procurement was too complicated for us so far, so we cannot share our own experiences.
Hydrogen peroxide is available as a 3 % solution for cleaning wounds. In this solution the chili seeds can be inserted for about 8 - 12 hours. Most chili growers recommend a 2% solution. The hydrogen peroxide content can be reduced by adding a few drops of water.
We have had the best experience with Rocoto seeds with the juice of a lemon diluted with water. For easy to germinate varieties, chamomile tea has proven to be the best choice for us, for chilli varieties that are less germinated lemon water. If our seeds swim up in it after one day, we wait longer. So long until they are fully absorbed. With both products a longer soaking time does no harm.
The soaking time depends on the solution: For lemon juice, camomile and black tea 8 - 48 h, detergent: 3 h, salt water, guano, saltpetre and hydrogen peroxide: overnight (8 h).