I'm trying to germinate basil for hydroponic purposes. When I put the seeds on wet foam, they get almost instantly covered with a white goo (within approx. 1 min). Sorry, I cannot get a picture.

What's happening?


2 Answers 2


The seed coat is hydrating. Perfectly normal, just not usually seen when germinating in soil. having played with "germinate on a wet paper towel and carefully plant with toothpick" method, I've seen it.

Here's a lovely poster (pdf) (of the science conference type) by Dongfang Zhou, Monica Ponder, Jacob Barney and Greg Welbaum of Virginia Tech - far more detail than I've ever gotten into, but the "less than a minute" was actually a good clue that we were not looking for, say, fungus.


The white substance is nothing but the seed coat that hydrates when immersed in water. I don't know why it does happen so.

  • Hello, Anish Bari! I hope you don't mind I have edited your answer. Feel free to ask new questions on the main page, otherwise they could pass unnoticed. Please see the tour page to find out how this site works. Have a nice time here! gardening.stackexchange.com/tour
    – Alina
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 16:32
  • Hello Anish - you may want to elaborate on your answer. Is this normal to have white substance? Will it be harmful to the plant and if so, what remedies do you recommend?
    – JStorage
    Commented May 25, 2017 at 18:43

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