Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) aids germination of seeds?
So it turns out that this is used a lot in the horticultural industry in a diluted form to increase seed germination and root development. It’s nature oxidizes and cleans and is used in such a wide range of industries including wastewater, paper production and your local hairdresser when combined with ammonium hydroxide to bleach hair.
It’s uses are numerous and easily obtained in usually a 3% or 6% diluted form from the high street chemist. It is this diluted form that is used when diluted even further to aid seed germination. There is much debate as to whether this has any real benefit at all and the ‘science’ required to increase seed germination, break seed dormancy and increase seedling size.
I have up until now never used it, and simply soak previous years daylily seed (for 24 hours in water) which had been stored dry in envelopes in the fridge, before sowing. In my experience this can yield from 0% to 100% with most seeds having germinated by 3 weeks. True stratification includes the addition of moist conditions to the cold and thus mixing seed in damp vermiculite (in the fridge (for 3 to 4 weeks)) is another common, successful germination technique. However, some users of H202 state that stratification is rendered unnecessary.
So! I have searched the internet for some standard or recognised best practice on the use of H202 for seed germination and by far the commonest method is mixing a small amount of the 3% solution in a glass of water to dilute it further & soaking overnight - I have found a chart that says 1&½ teaspoons of 3% to a cup of water. There is an alternate method of soaking seed in the 3% solution for 10 minutes and then rinsing.
I have tried all three methods
1- overnight soak in water
2- overnight soak in diluted H202 (noticeable bubbles in the glass)
3- 10 minute soak in 3% solution and then rinsed well (seeds ‘snapped, crackled & popped‘ like a well known breakfast cereal during their 10 minutes).
The seeds used are all from the same envelope (same parent) and equal amounts for the 3 options, then sown in the same compost and all placed on the same propagator. Thus, the conditions are as identical as I can make it with just the treatment differing.
The first photo is of 3 ramekins of seeds from 'Vectis Jean Peirce' (approx 100 in each) and these were sown in separate trays on the same propagator. The next photo is of a tray of 'Licorice Twist'. All 3 separately treated seeds (approx 25 each) were sown in the same tray. All 4 trays were placed on the propagators on 09/03/13. I will record the results every week.