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seeds Super Hots, Germination, and Heat

When I buy new seed stock, super hot or not, I almost always use extra heat to germinate.  When I have plenty of seed stock, I dont always use extra heat.  Thing is, I am old school on lighting so my grow room is good 80 degrees when the house is more like 65.  The result being that I have never really noted which peppers want that extra heat for good germination.  I do remember when ghost pepper was the hottest in the world and I was just starting my obsession that it was a bear to germinate at room temperature.  Back then, the solution was a heating mat.  Today, when I have new seed stock it often gets germinate in an egg incubator.  They rock.

So my question is:  What variety do you find are a bear to germinate without extra heat?
 
I doubt the relationship between hot pepper and requiring heat at germination is really all that causal. Rather, super-hots bred for pungency have usually only used pungency as the determining factor in selection, where commercial cultivars use lots of factors like disease resistance, drought tolerance, yield (obviously) and many others including germination rate. Because germination rate is not as important as pungency, we get plants that produce seeds that can be difficult to germ due to an extra tough pericarp or what have you.
 
I have had trouble germinating some of the newer aji crosses like painapple, probably from same issue.
 
I've never germinated anything with heat.  The only thing to date that's been problematic, per a previous thread, is the Fatalii Jigsaw and an Orange Cherry Bomb - and the jury is out as to whether that's an asshole pepper, or maybe just bad seed.  I use plastic Solo cups, exclusively, both indoors and out.
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To be honest, when I first started reading on this forum, I was pretty surprised that anybody used heat mats for peppers. (always kind of thought that it unnecessarily complicated an easy process)  It's always been a curiosity to me, considering that almost all peppers will germinate even in the low 70's.  And who amongst us doesn't keep the house in that range?
 
 

Edmick

Staff Member
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I will say this, I started well over a thousand pepper plants this year for my business and buying enough heat mats for that amount of trays was just not possible financially so I heated my entire grow room and even added a humidifier to mimic it as best I could and still had much slower germination than the ones I had in an actual heated propagation dome. The difference was night and day. What took a few days in the dome, took up to a couple weeks on some of the same varieties.
 
Edmick said:
I will say this, I started well over a thousand pepper plants this year for my business and buying enough heat mats for that amount of trays was just not possible financially so I heated my entire grow room and even added a humidifier to mimic it as best I could and still had much slower germination than the ones I had in an actual heated propagation dome. The difference was night and day. What took a few days in the dome, took up to a couple weeks on some of the same varieties.
 

We seem to have about the same experiences.  With an egg incubator, I have seen ghost pop after a few days.  Without, they still germinate but it seems like it takes two weeks.
 
That's an interesting point of view, gentlemen.  I guess if one were in business, or just generally impatient, that would definitely merit some consideration on the matter.
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How does the heat mat compare, timewise, with the paper towel method that we learned in grade school?  
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I definitely do have some varieties that take the better part of 10 days, on average, to germinate.  And the occasional, stubborn seed - particularly if it's a Chinense - may take up to a month, for me.
 
lek said:
 
then try to germinate at 90F or above with constant humidity.
 
lek, that's pretty much my weather. 
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I've germinated 1000's of seeds, and my method is solid.  To be honest, I'm not concerned about 2 peppers out of dozens of varieties.  And honestly, when something doesn't germinate in the way that I do my normal business, then I question whether it actually belongs in my garden.
 
solid7 said:
 
lek, that's pretty much my weather. 
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I've germinated 1000's of seeds, and my method is solid.  To be honest, I'm not concerned about 2 peppers out of dozens of varieties.  And honestly, when something doesn't germinate in the way that I do my normal business, then I question whether it actually belongs in my garden.
 

Havent drawn that line with a pepper variety yet, but tried to move farm towards sweet grass and white sage.  I've frigging had it with sweet grass and white sage is right behind that level of frustration.  Might get back to trying someday, but for now I do question is it belongs in my garden.  Uggggg
 
AJ, the way I look at it...  Unless something is super special - like my Rocotos in Florida experiment that I've currently got underway - I don't want my success rate being dragged down by something that probably isn't going to thrill me, anyway.
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Now I'll move a mountain to grow rocotos.  But for some other chinense variety, that's a dime a dozen, meh.  Why struggle with mediocrity, when you can succeed with known good all day long?
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I wouldn't judge you if you said "to hell with it". :D
 
solid7 said:
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I wouldn't judge you if you said "to hell with it". :D
 

It a nostalgia thing.  Back in the day, did some business with a new age type wholesaler.  Would love to have relations with them again.  Sweet grass and white sage bundles are really popular at new age shops, so I am sure they are always looking for a good supplier.
 
AJ Drew said:
 
It a nostalgia thing.  Back in the day, did some business with a new age type wholesaler.  Would love to have relations with them again.  Sweet grass and white sage bundles are really popular at new age shops, so I am sure they are always looking for a good supplier.
 
Ah, yes, of course.  It is used for "cleansing" energy crystals.
 
I really like minerals and stones, and often, the only place that I can find certain things, is at the "witchcraft store", as I affectionately refer to it.  They always wrap it up in little purple paper sachets, with good smelling herbs.   At first, I knew it was some kind of sage, but I didn't know if I was supposed to smoke it, cook with it, etc.... I learned. LOL
 
I started about 800 plants this year. All Superhots. I found heat mats critical but also found that using a temp controller with the heat pad is also critical. I use a Herpstat.
 
MulchyDreams said:
I started about 800 plants this year. All Superhots. I found heat mats critical but also found that using a temp controller with the heat pad is also critical. I use a Herpstat.
I've found using a heat mat greatly increases the speed at which you get germination even though the rates may be the same as other traditional methods. Like Mulchy said you don't want it too hot either. I don't have a temp controller so I line the seedling starter tray liner with a small towel.(to reduce the heat) Then I germinate my seeds using the paper towel method inside cheap fold top baggies on top of the towel. I've been amazed to see super hots germinate in a matter of DAYS! Totally blew my mind once I perfected it.
 
P3PP3RDaDDy said:
I've found using a heat mat greatly increases the speed at which you get germination even though the rates may be the same as other traditional methods. Like Mulchy said you don't want it too hot either. I don't have a temp controller so I line the seedling starter tray liner with a small towel.(to reduce the heat) Then I germinate my seeds using the paper towel method inside cheap fold top baggies on top of the towel. I've been amazed to see super hots germinate in a matter of DAYS! Totally blew my mind once I perfected it.
 
In fairness, though...  I just had a couple chinense last week that germinated in 3 days...  Fully erect little cotys, not just breaking surface.  That was outside, in a cup.
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If you germinate inside, in a protected environment, out of season, is the expense worthwhile?  For a hobby grower, is there a payoff for introducing a piece of tech that will gain you 3-4 days on your time to germinate? (without actually guaranteeing a higher germination rate)
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Too often, we convince newbies that they need things, without necessarily framing the context.
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If you were a guy living in Michigan, and somebody told you that you needed to buy a heat mat, so that you could have seed starts 3 days sooner, in the beginning of February, would you feel the need to spring the cash?
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Just a different perspective on the issue...
 
solid7 said:
 
In fairness, though...  I just had a couple chinense last week that germinated in 3 days...  Fully erect little cotys, not just breaking surface.  That was outside, in a cup.
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If you germinate inside, in a protected environment, out of season, is the expense worthwhile?  For a hobby grower, is there a payoff for introducing a piece of tech that will gain you 3-4 days on your time to germinate? (without actually guaranteeing a higher germination rate)
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Too often, we convince newbies that they need things, without necessarily framing the context.
.
If you were a guy living in Michigan, and somebody told you that you needed to buy a heat mat, so that you could have seed starts 3 days sooner, in the beginning of February, would you feel the need to spring the cash?
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Just a different perspective on the issue...
You definitely don't have to have a heat mat by all means but if you want fast reliable germination it does help and let's be real nobody likes waiting
 
P3PP3RDaDDy said:
You definitely don't have to have a heat mat by all means but if you want fast reliable germination it does help and let's be real nobody likes waiting
 
 
Hahaha...  true, but when I think about cracking open my wallet, waiting wins every time! :D
 

Edmick

Staff Member
Moderator
Extreme Member
Another thing I like about using a heat mat is that sprouting times are more consistently similar instead of one taking 3 days and another taking 2 weeks therefore, putting my seedlings in different stages of growth. On a large scale grow, it really simplifies things when the entire tray is ready for transplant as opposed to only some.
 
Germinating these seeds is about the only part of growing that I'm any good at. To of the fridge has been warm enough for me. Everything popped in less than a week except Fatalii (14 days or so), Primos (10 to 12 days), and Scotch Brains (1 out of ten popped in about a week but the spirit demoed off. The other seeds we're dude.) That's a lot of supers and hab-level chinense, plus some annuums and low heat Hab types.

Ultimately, the varieties' SHU want really a factor, but I will see that annuums are eager little buggers, more so than most of the chinense. Incidentally, I bought a heat mat but didn't need to use it. The top of the fridge was enough...
 
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