Coffee Filter Germination Test


Have you ever found some old seeds and thought,”I wonder if these will still grow?” Maybe you have some seeds that seem to be a bit iffy about germinating and you are wondering if you got a bad batch of seeds. Maybe you are impatient for your seeds to grow and dig around in your little pots, looking for sprouts. This method is for all 3 cases.

I have been having some difficulty with my pepper seeds germinating and I wanted to see if I had bad seeds. I also recently collected tomatillo seeds and wanted to see if they were viable before storing them. You can see how to collect your own by checking out this post.

I also admit to a bit of impatience. If I don’t get peppers started soon, I may have to buy seedlings.

A germination test that I like to do requires only a coffee filter, a baggie, and a ballpoint pen.
First, cut the filter in half and label it with the variety and date. You want to know what you have in there, especially if you are testing many types of seeds. Also, the date will help you keep track of how long it has been in there.


Open the filter, wet it slightly, and place the seeds on the wet filter. Close the filter and slide it into a plastic baggie. Put the baggie in a warm place. I put mine on the top shelf of my little greenhouse.

I tested ‘California Wonder’ pepper, jalepeno, and tomatillo seeds.


In 5 days, many of the fresh tomatillo seeds were sprouting, and some of the peppers. The impatient gardener in me likes this method of germinating seeds. I can check on them frequently without digging them up and I can see quickly what is growing.


I took the sproutlings off and planted them. I used a spray bottle to lightly water them into the soil. I can thin them later if needed, but now I know that those pesky pepper seeds have only about a 40% germination rate and that I will probably have far more tomatillo plants than I need!

Maybe I should just buy a red pepper from the grocery store and collect some seeds from it. šŸ™‚ It’s getting close to spring planting time, though. I have wanted to try ‘Marconi’ peppers, maybe I will try some this year.

Coffee filters- good for more than just brewing coffee!


One response »

  1. Pingback: Saving Seeds From Grocery Store Tomatillo | Coffee to Compost

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