Stimuli that break dormancy

The seeds from different species of plant are brought out of dormancy by a variety of stimuli. Most seeds respond to more than one stimuli, so mimicking one condition when breaking seed dormancy may not be enough.

After ripening

Some seeds germinate once they have dried out to a certain extent. For the majority of seeds if they dry out so that they contain less than 5% water they can be damaged.


Some seeds require extreme high temperatures for the seed coat to be broken to allow germination to take place.


Some seeds will not germinate unless they have been eaten and excreted.


Some seeds need a cold treatment to germinate which mimics the seeds going through winter. Once the cold spell is over they germinate in the spring. The process of chilling seeds is often referred to as stratification.


Seeds need to absorb oxygen to begin the process of germinating. Without oxygen the seed cannot carry out respiration which provides the energy for growth.


Many seeds germinate when they are exposed to light. This may be a brief exposure, intermittent exposure, or exposure in a specific pattern such as short or long day length.


Seeds need to absorb water (imbibition) to begin the process of germinating.


Seeds from different species require different minimum temperatures to germinate.


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