How Soaking Seeds in Hydrogen Peroxide Improves Germination

Seed Germination is one of the most vital courses of a plant’s life cycle, and Soaking Seeds In Hydrogen Peroxide gives this a headstart!

If you are propagating plants from seeds, it is necessary that the seeds must germinate successfully. For improving the chances of germination, soaking seeds in hydrogen peroxide helps a lot. How? Let’s find out!

Reason Why Seeds Fail To Germinate

Soaking Seeds In Hydrogen Peroxide

If you want to germinate the seeds successfully, you must consider several 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 and harder over time, reducing the oxygen level 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 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, therefore 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, gourds, sunflowers, squash, etc. Also, if you are growing peppers, eggplants, annual 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.

  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.

    • I have trouble w fungus gnats. I’ve tried everything from nematodes to nearly killing my plants drying them out. I tried yellow sticky tape. I tried that mosquito larvae insecticide sprinkled lightly on the soil. I tried it in a recommended it in a recommended solution. No luck. I saw on browsing to try a 1:20 H2O2 solution. In 10 days the indoor gnats were nearly gone. The outside gnats I have greatly diminished. I’m slowing winning that fight. I also noticed that my plants looked perkier. I have luck w germination of different seeds. Even super hot peppers notorious for slow germination sprouted. Over past few decades I’ve been unsuccessful w moonflower seeds. I tried cold, soaking, nicking, sand paper w near zero germination. A few weeks ago I saw an article on 1:10 H202/water warm soaking w moonflower seeds. I soaked 16 seeds for 5 hours. I planted them in biodegradable peat pots filled w quality container soil, watered and forgot them. 4 days later 13 had germinated and first leaves were nearly out of seedcover. 14 days post planting all had true leaves at various stages. I began reading more. I saw articles by different respectable places who recommended stratification w H2O2. I’m a reader before trying things. I see lots of articles on H2O2 use for plants: hydroponics to prevent molds, root rot treatments and more. The one thing stressed is proper dilution of 3% H2O2. I can honestly recommended it for certain situations in proper dilution.

  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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