I've been trying to germinate seeds (lavender and tomato seeds from store bought seed packets) using different ways of the paper towel in a plastic bag method that I've been reading from the internet but I haven't had any luck with it. I have tried placing seeds in between two paper towels moistened with hydrogen peroxide diluted in water and placed it in a sealed ziploc bag (The hypothesis for this is that H2O2 would decompose into H2O and O2 which should allow the seed to "breathe", in addition to preventing fungal growth). I have also tried placing seeds in between paper towels moistened only with water and placed it inside a sealed ziploc bag. Both ziploc bags are placed at the side of the refrigerator(held by magnets) to keep them warm.

I've been checking on them everyday for almost two weeks now, and none of the seeds have sprouted.

I would really appreciate anyone who could enlighten me on the right way to do this.


  • I've also tried pre-soaking a different batch of seeds in water for 24-hours before placing them in between paper towels, and still no luck
    – user71128
    Commented Jan 14, 2020 at 11:39
  • The effects of H2O2 on germination are complicated. Certainly it can reduce fungal infection, but it can also inhibit the biochemistry of the germination and growth, for example inhibiting root development. Understanding exactly what is going on is complex, because H2O2 is produced by the seed itself and is one of several signalling chemicals which control normal plant development. So any external application runs the risk of interfering with the seed's natural chemical processes during germination and early development.
    – alephzero
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 0:31
  • 1
    The most critical factor in germinating seeds is often the attitude of the gardener. My late grandfather's favourite saying after planting or sowing anything was "well, its got two chances. Live or die". Fussing about and checking things every day won't make much difference - get the basic growing conditions right, and then just leave them to get on with doing what they do naturally!
    – alephzero
    Commented Jan 15, 2020 at 0:40

2 Answers 2


I don't often try the paper towel techniques etc. Plants don't need paper towels, ziploc bags, and hydrogen peroxide to propagate in the wild!

For lavender, fill a seed tray with damp compost, sprinkle the seed on the surface, cover with a very thin layer of finely sieved compost, and put the tray in a clear plastic bag to prevent water loss.

It should germinate in about 21 days at 70-75F (20-25C). Germination is better when exposed to light.

For tomatoes, follow the same method except cover the seed with about 1/8 inch (1.5 mm) of compost, don't bother with the plastic bag, and mist the compost with a water spray if the surface dries out. Germination should be in 7 to 14 days at the same temperature.

If you are only growing a few tomato plants, use 3 inch pots and sow two seeds per pot. That saves one stage of transplanting (and the risk of damaging the small plants) but the pots take up more space than a seed tray.


I tried the hydrogen peroxide 1/3 to 2/3 water and paper towels. It worked great! I was sprouting jalapeno seeds and they sprouted in approximately 3 days! I put them in zip lock bags and placed them in a sunny window. I also did this for store peppers, bells, and they also germinated way quicker than just potting them up!

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