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When planting a seed, it is covered with a thin layer of earth. The initial shoot penetrates the soil and starts photosynthesis.

Are there plants which can be planted (as a seed) much deeper than a few centimeters? What is the maximum depth a seed of any plant can be planted and still sprouts?

  • You can plant as deep as you like. Whether it will sprout is an altogether different question. Many weed seeds exploit their ability to lie dormant for many years until the soil is disturbed and they end up at a favorable depth. – Ecnerwal Jul 3 '16 at 16:41
  • @Ecnerwal ah, I thought sprouting was implied. I edited the question accordingly. – ahemmetter Jul 3 '16 at 16:47
  • This is going to depend on the species. Grass seeds tend to be rather shallow, bulbs could be many inches, bamboo is incredibly powerful when pushing up through soil and could be fairly deep. I would imagine that each species would have a different tolerance. I am not aware of any studies done on depth, although there is bound to be – JonathanC Jul 4 '16 at 17:40
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Sprouting depends on light (or absence of), heat, water, temperature, and oxygen levels. Soil type affects these.

If the seed successfully sprouts, the developing pumule and roots depend on the stored energy reserves in the seed to grow until it can penetrate the soil to reach sunlight. If it can't reach sunlight before its reserves are exhausted, it will die.

A rule of thumb is to plant the seed at twice its diameter in ordinary soil conditions.

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