Instructions on the packet of cucumber seeds I'm holding say I need to:

  1. Plant the seed on its side

  2. Cover the pot with clingfilm after sowing

I get that these are measures which will help germination. But how vital is it to get these fiddly and time-consuming details right?

Is one or the other or both of these precautions going to aid germination rates by 100%? Or 5%? Or what?

1 Answer 1


So you probably already have decently-growing cucumbers at this point but I wanted to weigh in on this.

If you planted the seeds upside down they'd mostly right themselves and grow the right way. Robert Krulwich from NPR had a good post on this here.

A sideways seed won't have to right itself so it will shoot up faster.

The cling film helps to do two things - hold in some heat and moisture. Dry seeds don't sprout and spouted seeds that dry out will die. If I start seeds inside I'll put them in a small "mini greenhouse" that is nothing more than a container with a plastic lid to help regulate the moisture level.

But with cucumbers, unless I'm making seedlings to sell/give away I'd just direct sow them once the soil's warm. Indoor/greenhouse seedling growing would jump-start that a bit if the ground is colder in your area.

  • 1
    Thanks @itsmatt. If the clingfilm is so beneficial for retaining moisture around germination Is there a reason why you especially see this instruction on cucurbit seed packets and not so much on salads and beans? Jun 16, 2013 at 8:13
  • 1
    @TeaDrinker this could be just the particular writing on the packets you have. I've not noticed this particularly on the packets I have. I think it depends on the brand of seed you buy. Seeds in general benefit from a warm, moist environment.
    – itsmatt
    Jun 16, 2013 at 22:34

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