The situation is as follows.

I am using the "petri dish" method of germinating chilli (pepper) seeds. It is just a takeout container + paper towel + water. The seed is sitting on the paper, not covered by paper. The lid is also used.

The container is left in darkness. Temperature is already controlled.

Once the seed germinates, I wait (while the container is still in darkness) until the shoot is standing with its cotyledons. It is at this point I remove the plant with tweezers and carefully plant it in to soil, in the greenhouse.

My question is: Will wetting the paper towel with chemical fertiliser instead of water, have any effect on the plant while it is in darkness?

I ask because I think the plant needs light to use the nutrients in the chemical-liquid fertiliser.

Secondary question despite the answer of the previous; Is there something to promote growth which works in darkness other than water or fertiliser.

I wanted to ask before actually going through some tests of my own in case someone can answer it, saving me the effort. Google searching did not reveal much to me either.


I am aware of the chamomile tea soak method

  • Regular potting mix already contains fertilizer, while mixes for seedling contain no fertilizers (or a really low amount). A fertilizer might promote growth, but not "strength".
    – Johannes_B
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 5:02
  • @Johannes_B That sounds like the earliest I would liquid fert (if at all) is on transfer to potting mix to give it a kick. That is off topic.
    – Valamas
    Commented Feb 5, 2020 at 5:07

1 Answer 1


No. Germination is done with nutrients inside the seed, you do no need any fertilizer, nor sun. In fact most seedling soil has little or no nutrients: they just keep water.

In general, there is no need to speed up the process (dark storage is often not a problem also on large scale). With some plant, some chemicals are used (e.g. to soften seed), but to use these you need to be an engineer/scientist (aka: there is no receipt, but you should study on your condition and doing various test, and adapt).

If the seedling seems too slow, you may check underwatering/overwatering, or the temperature (not to low, nor to high). Which are the temperatures? It depends on the variety. 20 degree should be good for all varieties (they should feel the spring, not the summer).

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