How Soaking Seeds in Hydrogen Peroxide Improves Germination

Seed Germination is one of the most vital processes of a plant life cycle, and Soaking Seeds In Hydrogen Peroxide gives them a headstart!

If you are propagating plants from seeds, it is necessary that the seeds should germinate successfully. For improving the chances of successful germination, soaking seeds in hydrogen peroxide helps a lot.

Reason Why Seeds Fail To Germinate

Soaking Seeds In Hydrogen Peroxide

If you want to germinate the seeds successfully, you have to consider factors other than water and soil. Seeds have nutrients stored in them, and to convert them to energy successfully, they require a significant amount of oxygen. As seeds, when you plant them, absorb oxygen through their outer coating, it becomes essential that they can do it well.

As the seeds mature, their outer shell becomes harder over time, reducing the levels of oxygen they absorb. To help them in the process, you can use hydrogen peroxide to soften down the outer layer.

What Is Hydrogen Peroxide?

Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is quite popular in horticulture. It has an extra oxygen atom than water (H2O). When its molecule breaks down, this extra oxygen separates from the water, acting as a supplement to plants. It also helps in germinating seeds successfully by making them absorb more oxygen.

The Effect of Hydrogen Peroxide on Seed Germination

Watering plants with hydrogen peroxide
 Image Source

Soak your seeds in a 3% hydrogen peroxide for 30 minutes. Rinse the seeds several times with water before planting and plant them as usual. Doing this breaks down the hard outer covering of the seeds and kills any pathogen present on them. This allows the seeds to absorb more oxygen, helping them sprout efficiently.

How To Use Hydrogen Peroxide?

  1. Take a paper towel and moisten it with the Hydrogen Peroxide solution. Make sure that you are not soaking the towel.
  2. Place your seeds in the towel, wrapping them completely for 18-24 hours.
  3. Plant your seeds the next day into the pots.

Using Hydrogen Peroxide will shave off germination time from the seeds like corn, peas, cucumber, melons, sunflowers, squash, etc. Also, if you are growing peppers, eggplants, spring flowers, and celery; it can cut a lot of time!


  1. I tried this last year after watching a video.i decided to try it on half of my mature seedlings. and everything I used peroxide on as per your instructions died. It’s a good thing I did not use it on all of my seedlings just half so I lost half of my yield.

    • Don’t use pure hydrogen Peroxide, dilute 1 ounce of hp in 1 pint of water. I germinate 10yr old seeds this way. Soak in glass of mixture for 12hrs-24hrs, rinse then plant in your medium.

  2. I dip mine in solution and then plant them instead. I found the roots get tangled in the towel Doing it this way. I found that Dipping them in The solution and planting them worked just as good. I used small cups with holes in the bottom so it’s harder to over water them.

  3. I would not soak seeds like Echinacea in 3% H2O2. Hydrogen Peroxide is pretty reactive on organic tissues. It’s actually not recommended to use in wounds any more because of how much damage it can do. Seeds with hard seed coats can stand 3% H2O2 for limited periods of time. But even for those seeds knicking/cutting the seed corner usually does the job. A safer method for Echinacea germination would be to dilute down to 1/8th (0.00375 % H2O2) dilution and soak for 12-24 hours similar what Andrew mentioned above in his 1/16th dilution. I’ve been growing Echinacea as a hobby since the early 1990s. 60 days cold stratification (in a damp paper towel in the fridge) is also important to cause the chemical changes in the Echinacea seed to get you to germination. I would never use 3% H2O2 on live plants of any age. It is too reactive. It has been used diluted to deal with fungus gnats but it is still risky to the plants.

  4. I have used peroxide mixed with water to water plants at my garden center when plants have been in pots a long time. It definitely perks them and rejuvenates them. I only do this on occasions and when the plants just aren’t looking happy. I also use Epsom salt and water on occasions as well. They work.


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