Home » Learn » How to Germinate Seeds With Paper Towel? (7 Steps)

How to Germinate Seeds With Paper Towel? (7 Steps)

To germinate seeds with a paper towel, you just need to:

  • Place the seeds on a paper towel
  • Make sure they are moist 
  • Fold the paper towel
  • Put the seeds in a sealed plastic bag

We all remember being in grade school. 

And we can all surely remember the experiment of seeing whether or not we could grow bean sprouts from a seed wrapped in a wet paper towel.

Well, this article will give you a step-by-step guide on how to germinate seeds in a paper towel and examine ways to achieve a successful sprout.

What Is Paper Towel Seed Germination?

Seed germination using paper towels is one of the easiest and quickest ways to sprout seeds. 

And anyone can germinate seeds using only a damp paper towel and a plastic baggie (and some love).

What Makes This Method so Beneficial?

Many things make paper towel germination beneficial, including: 

  • No Mess – Using paper towels and baggies means not having to use dirt or potting soil at first, so it’s a clean way to get started.
  • Won’t Take Up Space – This method is excellent if you don’t have a lot of space to work.
  • Easy to Keep an Eye on Your Seeds – It’s effortless to see if your seeds are germinating because you don’t need to look through the soil.
  • Quick Results – Your seeds will sprout quickly, sometimes overnight or within a few days.
  • Its Fun – Germinating seeds with paper towels is still as fun as it was in grade school! Plus, you can do it with your own children, and they will love it too.

Read Also >> How to Grow a Cherry Blossom Tree from Seed

How to Germinate Seeds in a Paper Towel

Let’s look at the few simple steps to get your seeds up and going for spring. 


First of all, you will need:

  • Paper towels
  • Seeds
  • A spray bottle filled with tap water
  • Ziplock bags

Getting Started

To set up your germination process, follow these steps:

  1. Spread out several half sizes of paper towels on your counter or kitchen table
  2. With your spray bottle, spritz the paper towels to moisten them
  3. Space your seeds out roughly one inch apart on the paper towels
  4. Lightly respray the power towel, making sure the seeds get wet.
  5. Fold the paper towel to wrap it snuggly around the seeds
  6. Put the folded towel inside the ziplock bag securely but not too tight. Make sure to leave a small amount of air.
  7. Tightly seal the baggie.

Read Also >> How to Grow a Fig Tree From Seed

Where Should I Place the Towels?

Because warmth speeds up the germination process, you’ll want to put your seeds someplace warm. 

The top of your fridge is an excellent spot as it generates heat. 

Or, you can place them near the dryer or around heating vents.

What Types of Seeds Work Best for Paper Towel Germination?

This germination method works well with several different kinds of seeds, particularly green beans, peas, peppers, and eggplant. 

But, there are a few seeds that people commonly grow in paper towels instead of soil. 

Let’s take a look. 

Eggplant Seeds

Believe it or not, many people have trouble getting eggplant to sprout in traditional soil. 

However, they seem to succeed when they start them in wet paper towels.

Then, after they’ve followed the steps above and the seeds have begun to sprout, they transfer them to small pots or egg cartons with potting soil. 

But, if you want to put them directly into a larger pot outside, you shouldn’t have any problems. 

Tomato Seeds

As with eggplant seeds, tomatoes can be somewhat iffy when started in regular soil. 

And they can be slow to start, sometimes taking up to two weeks to sprout.

Yet, several folks have had success germinating tomato seeds in wet paper towels, and they seem to grow into seedlings quicker as well.

Apple and Pear Seeds

Fruit seeds can be a little more tricky to grow on paper towels. 

However, Granny Smith seeds seem to do well in the paper towel method. 

But, as with most apple tree seedlings, you need to pay close attention once you move them outside.

Similarly, Bartlett pear seeds do well when germinated on paper towels. 

Read Also >> How to Grow Aloe Vera from Seed?

Extra Tips for Successful Sprouting

  • As with planting outdoors, always start with the seeds that take the longest duration to sprout, particularly tomatoes and peppers.
  • Keep track of your seeds by using a Sharpie to write the name of the plant and the date you started to grow them on the baggie.
  • Keep a journal or log to take any notes on your work and your results. It helps you track start dates, harvest dates, successes, and what you could do differently next year.
  • Be patient, and don’t get discouraged if things don’t happen right away. You can always try again if you feel that the seeds didn’t take properly.


Germinating seeds with paper towels is a tried and true method. 

And with some patience and a little love, you can easily begin your summer and fall gardens.

Plus, germinating seeds on paper towels is a great way to help the kids learn about the plant growth process.

Table of Contents

Similar Posts