If you grew or someone gave you a bunch of chili peppers, you might have just stashed them in the freezer so you could use them later.
If you didn’t take the time to remove the seeds and chop the peppers you might be wondering if you can use the seeds as you pull the peppers from the freezer.
One use you might consider is starting chili pepper plants from seed. But can you germinate seeds from frozen chilies? While it is true frozen seeds are often still viable, even when they are still in the chili, the germination rates are reduced if proper storage techniques are employed.
Continue reading this article as we dive into the topic of germinating frozen chili pepper seeds.
Can You Germinate Chili Seeds that have been Frozen ?
Freezing is a common method for prolonging the lifespan of seeds of all varieties. This process doesn’t kill the seeds, rather allows them to stay viable longer than if they were stored at room temperature. Chili pepper seeds are no exception.
From my experiment, Yes , you can germinate seeds from Frozen Chilies, it takes about 2 weeks to sprout, but the germination rates are commonly lower than the seeds with proper storage.
This is because they are open to more damage from the freezer. These seeds have not been properly dried out before freezing and may develop damaging ice crystals on the seeds themselves.
If you are interested in trying to germinate seeds from chili in your freezer, a germination test is a good idea before you put them in a seed starting mix.
To conduct this test, moisten a paper towel or coffee filter and place the seeds on it. Make sure the paper towel is not soaking wet, just damp. You may have to spray lightly with water as the experiment continues.
Once the seeds have been placed on the paper, put this in a plastic baggie in a warm spot. Regularly check your seeds in the baggie to see if any have sprouted.
Check into the germination period of your specific variety of pepper to see how long the seeds should take to sprout. Yours may take slightly longer or could sprout earlier.
Your germination rates will likely be much lower, than normal when seeds are stored directly in the chili pepper, but it is possible to get a few seeds to sprout.
What is the proper way to store seeds?
Since germination rates are lower with improper storage, it is a good idea to know the best way to store your seeds.
Not only will you have better germination rates, but, depending on the variety, you will also be able to store the seeds for longer periods of time.
Pepper seeds can be stored, on average, for up to four years and still be viable.
Here is how to store seeds properly :
1.You must first select seeds from disease-free plants with fully ripened fruit. Avoid overly matured fruit, as the seeds will not be ideal for storage.
2. After selecting the seeds, they will need to be dried. Do this by simply laying them on the counter to air dry for a few days. The length of time will depend on the humidity levels in your home.
3. Once they are dry, place them in an airtight container or an individual paper seed packet. You really want to keep the seeds in a cool, dry, and dark location so they keep. If there is too much humidity or the seeds are not fully dry, you run the risk of the seeds molding.
Temperatures between 32 degrees Fahrenheit and 41 degrees are ideal. A refrigerator or freezer is a great place for them to be stored.
Remember, seeds with lower moisture content will last longer in storage.
This is especially true if you are storing your seeds at warmer temperatures.
But avoid those warmer temperatures whenever possible.
Your seeds want warmer temperatures when they are growing, but in order to save them, you want to stop them from growing. This is why you need to find a dark, cool space to store them.
How to successfully germinate Chili Pepper Seeds
When you do decide to pull your pepper seeds out for planting, you can always start with the paper and baggie process we discussed above.
Direct sowing in a seed starter mix is also another option. These seeds should be started indoors approximately eight to 10 weeks before the last frost.
Remember to keep the soil temperatures at the right level to ensure your seeds germinate. Pepper plants do best when temperatures are between 85 and 90 degrees. They will sprout when temperatures are lower than this, but your plant will not be as healthy.
Pepper seeds should be planted at the proper depth of approximately 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep for best results.
Check to see what the timeline should be for your seeds to ensure they are sprouting on time. If you don’t have seedlings emerging after the average germination timeline, it might be time to replant.
Incorrect pH levels, watering, or temperature is likely reasons for a lack of germination.
You can also check out this article – in-depth about ” why your pepper seeds didn’t germinate. “
Once your seedlings have developed their first true leaves, transplanting to a larger container is possible.
When seeds are first planted it is common for them to be in small plugs or even close to other seeds. As they grow, the plants will need more room to develop their root system.
Transplanting them into a larger plug will help the pepper grow into a healthy plant, ready to be planted in your garden.
Using your seeds from chili peppers is a great, economical way to provide a crop for the next year. In ideal situations, pepper seeds can last, on average, for about four years when stored. Germinate seeds from frozen chili pepper will produce some sprouts, but germination rates are drastically decreased.
For this reason, it is recommended to properly dry the seeds prior to storage. Then store them at the right temperature with low moisture levels. Do this and your seeds will have a much better shot at sprouting when you are ready to start them for the year’s growing season.