Tips from Olle Garden Bed: How many seeds do you need to plant a plant?

When you plan for the coming season, you may want to start sowing indoors. Maybe you have trays and fermenters, and you plan to plant multiple seeds. But you might think, "How many seeds do you need to grow a plant? The following content also has some reference value for raised garden beds.

This is a good question, and the answers are multifaceted. When you start planting plants indoors, many different considerations come into play. Different gardeners have different reactions. Several factors are at work. Not every seed is equally adaptable.

Before planting these seeds, let's introduce some basic knowledge, which will determine the number of seeds required for planting garden plants. We will study different types of seeds and the differences between them. We will also introduce some tips that will make it right for your seed to start the game.

What is the germination rate?

Some gardeners may encounter the problem of not having enough buds again and again. This may be due to their tendency to plant only one seed per plant, and eventually to plant only as many plants as they want.

raised garden bed

One of the basic things to consider when planting multiple seeds is the germination rate (check the seed package). The germination rate refers to the percentage of 100 seeds that will germinate into plants. Therefore, if your germination rate is 90%, 90 out of 100 seeds may germinate if all basic conditions are met.

It is also essential to have fresh seeds, especially when you bring rare seeds into your garden. As the seeds age, their germination rate will decline. This is why most seed companies include the date of seed packaging. Older seeds may still sprout, so you should not completely get rid of them, but as a general rule, the fresher they are, the more feasible they are.

The basic conditions include growing seedlings in a warm environment to promote germination. You need a growth lamp and good seed starting soil. The heating pad provides the best results. On the other hand, you can even start from the greenhouse.

In terms of germination rate, you need to plant plants for the best success. Instead of considering the number of starting pots, consider how many holes you will drill in the soil. Calculate it and compare it with the germination rate. Most likely you should plant at least two seeds in each hole.

raised garden bed

But you don't want to overproduce here, just because there is no room for seedlings. Even if you have space, you don't want to be overwhelmed by the number of plants you have. Remember, you can save the seeds and let these same plants grow in the next season.

On the other hand, you don't want to plant only one seed per plant. If you have the best conditions to help the seed germinate, see Germination Rate to determine how to plant it. Sometimes there is a germination rate on the seed package. Sometimes you have to do some digging. Also remember that fresh seeds will be more successful than old ones.

Once the germination rate is consistent with the number of seeds in each hole, it will be easy to start seeds indoors.

Germination rate formula

When you find the germination rate, please follow this formula to determine how many seeds should be in the same hole. Then start sowing. Note that this formula works perfectly only in a controlled environment.

The bean sprout rate you see may not be completely consistent with this rate. This rate gives you a baseline of how many seeds to plant per hole.

Number of holes x germination rate=number of plants

Let's start with 72 holes and one seed. The germination rate of each seed is 70%. You will multiply 72 by 80% to get about 57 buds. In this case, you can plant 2 to 3 seeds in each hole, and you may get the most success.

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You will find that you often need to plant more seeds than holes. Two to three seeds per hole is a good baseline, but you may waste seeds in this way. Let's introduce some complexities involved in seed startup. In this way, you will leave an extra seed for next season.

Seed size and germination

Cucumber, pumpkin, melon and pumpkin have a high success rate. This is because, generally speaking, larger seeds have higher germination rates due to higher adaptability. Here, planting two or three seeds per hole may not be worth it. However, if you have already sprouted two seeds in the same hole, thin them.

Plants with tiny seeds, such as lettuce, often germinate at a lower rate. Usually, when several seeds are planted in a hole, you will be more successful in these seeds. Plant twice as many lettuce seeds as above.

How many seeds do you want to plant?

Seed size is not the only factor determining the germination rate. The planting area is one thing to consider. The most important is the type of plant. Different plants have different germination rates. Also, you need to make room for failure or loss in the hardening process. Many times, one seed is not enough to produce healthy plants.

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Fruits, vegetables and grains

Tomatoes have medium sized seeds with a very high ratio (about 98% on average). In this case, you can plant 1 to 2 seeds per hole and thin the plant as needed after germination. Part of the reason tomatoes are so popular with gardeners is the convenience of planting them from seeds. As long as you have a good seed starter mixture, you can successfully plant tomato seeds alone.

Giant onion seeds are medium in size and hard in shell. But big onion seeds also have a good success rate, especially when they are fresh. In this case, the rule of 2 to 3 seeds per hole applies. Because onions grow under countless conditions, if your success rate in a growth period is lower than you want, you can plant more seeds in the future.

There is a reason why people do not often sprout berry seeds: their success rate is usually 50% or less. One seed or only a few seeds will not easily become small plants. For berry plants, multiple seeds are planted per hole. Please note that you have achieved much less success here than using a larger seed.

The success rate of kale is quite high, and 2 or even 1 seed in each hole can germinate easily. More than one seed will bring you more success and more work to do after hardening. If you work in a flowerpot, try planting it in several different places.

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Regardless of the germination rate, it is recommended that only 3 or less rice seeds be planted in each hole. This is because if there are too many buds in a hole, large seeds such as rice will experience pressure during transplantation. So don't plant a lot of rice at a time.


I found a kind of flower that germinates easily, that is Calendula. These seeds look like yellow mealworms with twisted shells. They germinate at about 78%. The same is true of borage seeds. The two seed types are roughly the same, medium to large.

Chamomile is one of those flowers whose small seeds successfully germinate depending on many factors. Many people I know (including myself) have encountered a lot of problems with chamomile, because although the success rate of seeds is high, other problems, such as too much water or too fertile soil type, may make it difficult for them to garden. You may need to use a lot of seeds to grow a chamomile.

Some smaller plants, such as lupine and Alisum, plant their own seeds in the garden without your help. For self seeding plants, just let them do their own thing in the garden and avoid wasting your own mixed soil to start them.


When you plant herbs from seeds, know how many you will have to plant, and you must be patient. Gardening with mint, tan, dill and parsley is very beneficial, but you will want to plant several seeds of each type in each hole.

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For example, I planted a white sage plant from the seeds, but before I let it germinate, I must feed almost all the seeds into the soil. The germination success rate of this plant is about 40%. If I neglect to plant more than one seed, my chances of getting any luck will be slim. However, this is an extreme example. The ratio of most herbs is higher than that, but the ratio is usually lower than that of watermelon.

DIY projects like building your own herb garden will feel much better when you see it from the beginning to the end. Why not try the beneficial process of building a herb garden from scratch?

How to thin seedlings

If you planted two seeds in a hole and both seeds germinated, what should you do now? Well, choose the healthiest of the two and delete the other. Use small scissors to hold the buds planted in the fermenter, instead of pulling them out and disturbing the roots of the plants you choose. This seems like a waste, but the root of the eliminated plant will decompose and provide nutrition for another plant.

common problem

Q: How long does it take for a seed to grow into a plant?

A: It depends on the plants. There are some general rules. Larger seeds germinate more easily, while smaller seeds grow less successfully. Fresh seeds are more greedy than old ones.

Q: Can you put the seeds directly into the soil?

A: Yes, but in this case, you still have a lot to do. Seedlings exposed to elements may be submerged, eaten, burnt, etc. Unless it is better for plants to be sown outdoors, try to start by yourself.

Q: What seeds germinate fastest?

A: Brassica and lettuce sprout fastest of all seeds. Radishes and radishes also grow rapidly.

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