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To unlock germination, in most cases, you must use 2 important temperatures 40F and 70F. You should germinate the seeds in 3 Month cycles. 3 Months at 40F, then 3 Months at 70F, then 3 Months at 40F, and so on until they finally germinate. Some seeds use different temperatures, but this covers upwards of 90% of all seeds. The code to a few seeds has never been cracked, but the seed will germinate naturally ouside in the always changing temperatures of the wild. You can eventually get any of our seeds to germinate, but those seeds need to go through the unlocking steps for that particular seed without rotting first.
Here is the book That I am referring to:
Seed Germination Theory and Practice by Norman C. Deno
This book was written based on experiments done on over 2500 Species of plants.
Chapter 20 is on page 81 of this book. This is where you find the best information for your seeds.
All seeds should be planted about the thickness of the seed deep. If your seeds germinate and fall over then plant them a little deeper next time. If your seeds don't germinate at all then plant them a little shallower and see if the increased light and air helps.
The hardest seeds to germinate are the ones that rot easily and take a lot of patience. I still accidentally rot seeds sometimes, so that is the biggest thing. Just keep them barely moist. A light misting only when they seem dry and patience can germinate even the toughest seeds.
Please do not use plastic covers or bags over the seeds unless it is required.
This can trap water inside the pot and rot your seeds.
This can only be done in a very controlled environment where the seed does not stay too wet for too long. If you decide to try this, please use very cheap thin bags. Good luck.
Also, many perennial seeds do require stratification in order to trigger the germination process. You have to store the seeds in moist soil, or a paper towel, in a bag in the fridge for a period of time (3 Months is standard) to simulate winter. So you also have to know your seeds requirements for stratification. Different seeds are used to different length winters. If I am aware of the stratification instructions I print them on the sticker of each seed packet. Using these methods you will have good results. And I never throw my dirt away. Seeds from years past can sprout up all of the sudden. To look up your specific needs here is a helpful link.
Tom Clothier Horticulture
Use a file, or nail clippers, or a pin, or anything else that works to create a hole in the seed coat without disturbing the embryo. This hole is used as a water channel and promotes germination.
The Smoke Method
You do not need any particular type of sticks and leaves, but the dryer the better. Take a fire proof pan or a steel container (the taller the better to keep the seeds from becoming barbequed) and build a fire with the sticks and about a third of the leaves. Once the fire has turned the sticks and leaves into char you can carefully blow the fire out and smother it with dry leaves. This method will create a great deal of smoke. Put the seeds on a screen and place the screen over the top of the container. The number one mistake is to cook the seeds. We just want the smoke to touch the seed without the seed being heated beyond its limits. If you cannot touch the screen it is too hot for the seeds. I try to smoke the seeds for 10 to 20 minutes.
Put some water in the container with the ashes and turn into a burnt stick and leave soup. Dump this soup onto the top of your compost or potting soil and mix in. The ratio is about 10 parts compost to one part ash soup. You do not want this mixture to be too wet or your seeds will rot. Use this mixture to germinate your seeds in.
You can also rinse out your container and save the water to do any subsequent watering.
The Float Test is not valid
The float test can not be proven by experiment, but it is usually disproven because some floaters almost always germinate. We have separated the floaters from the sinkers before, and checked the germination of each group. Most of the time our floaters do a little worse, but sometimes they do better. If an insect has eaten the embryo out of the center of the seed and that is the reason it floats then that seed will not germinate. Some plants have developed air sacks inside their seeds so that the seed floats in order to increase the distance that this plant can spread its seed.
A seed is a live product which depends on many important related grower skills such as proper planting time, seed depth, type of soil, irrigation, proper use of fertilizers, weed controls, fungicides, insecticides, disease free soil, and reasonable weather conditions during the growing period. Germination is affected by such factors as temperature, moisture content, light intensity, and contamination of planting media. These factors are totally out of my control and are your responsibility and risk. Consequentially, I cannot unconditionally guarantee seed to perform properly regardless of conditions or methods.
Cindy's Research Page
Cindy let us know about this helpful resource page. It has a great deal of interesting and useful information on it.
Thank you Cindy.