Which Seeds Need Light to Germinate?

There are a number of factors that trigger seeds to germinate just at the right time to enhance their survival. All seeds need moisture and oxygen to germinate, and the preferred soil temperature varies from plant to plant. In addition, some seeds need cold stratification, scarification, darkness or light. If these factors are not in place, germination will not occur, or if it does, it will be lower than expected.

As a rule, smaller seeds require light to germinate, but as always, check the seed packet for detailed instructions, and remember that some will require cold stratification prior to sowing.

Common name

Scientific name

African daisy Osteospermum spp. African daisy
Alyssum Lobularia maritima Alyssum
Amethyst flower Browallia spp. Amethyst flower
Baby’s breath Gypsophila spp. Baby's breath
Balloon flower Platycodon grandiflorus Balloon flower
Basket of gold Alyssum montamum Pot of gold
Bee balm Monarda didyma Bee balm
Begonia Begonia spp. Begonia
Bellflower Campanula spp. Bellflower
Bells-of-Ireland Moluccella laevis Bells of Ireland
Black-eyed-Susan Rudbeckia hirta Black eyed Susan
Blanket flower Gailardia x grandiflora Blanket flower
Butterfly weed Asclepias tuberosa Butterfly weed
Candytuft Iberis spp. Candytuft
Canterbury bells Campanula medium Canterbury bells
Chamomile Matricaria chamomilla Chamomile
Chinese lantern Physalis alkekengi Chinese lantern
Coleus Coleus spp. Coleus
Columbine Aquilegia spp. Columbine
Cornflower Centaurea cyanus Cornflower
Cosmos Cosmos bipinnatus Cosmos
Echinacea Echinacea spp. Echinacea
English daisy Bellis perennis English daisy
Evening primrose Oenothera spp. Evening primrose flower
Everlasting Helichrysum bracteatum Everlasting flower
Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium Feverfew
Flossflower Ageratum houstonianum Floss flower
Foxglove Digitalis spp. Foxglove
Geranium Pelargonium domesticum Geranium
Gerbera Gerbera spp. Gerbera
Geum Geum spp. Geum
Gloxinia Sinningia speciosa Gloxinia
Goldenrod Solidago spp. Goldenrod
Goldentuft Aurinia saxatilis Goldentuft
Hollyhock Alcea rosea Hollyhock
Iceland poppy Papaver nudicaule Iceland poppy
Impatiens Impatiens spp. Impatiens
Jacob’s ladder Polemonium spp. Jacob's ladder
Lady’s purse Calceolaria spp. Lady's purse
Lavender Lavandula spp. Lavender
Leopard plant Ligularia spp. Leopard plant
Leopard’s bane Doronicum cordatum Leopard's bane
Lisianthus Eustoma grandiflorum Lisianthus
Livingstone daisy Dorotheanthus bellidiformis Livingston daisy
Lobelia Lobelia spp. Lobelia
Mexican creeping zinnia Sanvitali procumbens Mexican creeping zinnia
Mexican sunflower Tithonia spp.
Mexican sunflower
Mignonette Reseda odorata Mignonette
Monkey flowers Mimulus spp. Monkey plant
Musk mallow Malva moschata Musk mallow
Ornamental cabbage Brassica oleracea acephala Ornamental cabbage
Pearly everlasting Anaphalis margaritacea Pearly everlasting
Petunia Petunia spp. Petunia
Poppy Papaver spp.


Portulaca Portulaca spp. Portulaca
Primrose Primula spp. Primrose
Purple rock cress Aubrieta deltoidea Purple rock cress
Rock cress Arabis spp. Rock cress
Salad rocket Eruca vesicaria sativa Rocket
Satin flower Clarkia amoena Satin flower
Sea holly Eryngium spp. Sea holly
Shasta daisy Leucanthemum × superbum Shasta daisy
Shooting star Dodecatheon meadia Shooting star
Snapdragon Antirrhinum majus Snapdragon
Snow in summer Cerastium tomentosum Snow in summer
Speedwell Veronica spp. Speedwell
Spider flower Cleome spinosa Spider flower
Stock Matthiola incana Stock
Strawflower Helichrysum bracteatum Strawflower
Tickseed Coreopsis grandiflora Tickseed
Trumpet flower Incarvillea spp. Trumpet flower
Twinspur Diascia spp. Twinspur
Virginia stock Malcolmia maritima Virginian stock
Wishbone flower Torenia fournier Wishbone flower
Wormwood Artemisia vulgaris Artemisia vulgaris
Xeranthemum Xeranthemum annuum Xeranthemum annuum
Yarrow Achillea spp. Yarrow