How long do seeds in a packet last?

yumtomatoes(10a/FLA)August 4, 2011

I keep my seeds refrigerated. I don't know if that is a good idea or not. Is it? I have the A/C running year round and the temp indoors is about 77 degrees so I could keep them in the house.

How long do seeds generally last in the packet?

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On July 28 I planted about 10 seeds in each of two cups. Today I see at least two sprouts in each. Seed is Rutgers by green valley 59 cents each. Date is packed for 1992. These are regular paper package that were kept where ever and when ever here in dry Colorado. Might have been in garage at over 100 degrees and surly have been 20 below or so some time in their life. I think that dry is the most important thing,
YMMV. KennyP

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 12:45PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

In a humid climate, it wouldn't hurt to open the seed packet as soon as you get it, then put the seeds in a small ziplock.

I have seen 2x2" or 2x3" ziplocks for sale at a local antique shop (not quite sure why), from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange (catalog and online), and also from American Science & Surplus (catalog and online; lots of great, weird stuff).

Several seed vendors I've purchased from ship their seeds in ziplocks (sometimes with a printed label, sometimes inside a paper envelope).

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 1:39PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Walmart sells the little plastic ziplocks cheap in the craft aisle. Seeds last alot longer refrigerated. They ususally only last a few years at room temps.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:09PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

If you are talking about tomato seeds (many discussions here about this the search will pull up) cool dry storage is easily good for 5-10 years. Even longer has been posted by many in the past up to and including 25 years. The Seed Saving forum has a good FAQ about how to best store seeds.

Personally I have fridge stored seeds (in paper) that are still highly viable past 10 years - used some '94 and '96 dated ones this year.

Many professional seed savers prefer paper envelopes over plastic since plastic can trap moisture inside.


    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:31PM
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thanks for the link, dave!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 2:37PM
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I have a lot of commercial tom seed that is 10+ years old still going pretty strong. I dont refriderate, but not much humidity where I live. INfact I recently seeded for Fall crop and I placed 4-6 seeds per as most of it was pretty old. As near as I can tell, ALL the old seed came up, some of the newer seed, not so much.....go figure. LInda

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 6:03PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

I store mine in sealed plastic bags or watertight boxes together with some silica gel packets, which keep them dry and absorb humidity.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 9:52PM
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the silica packets are a good idea, thanks!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2011 at 10:05PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

I think the silica packets are probably good for a growing season. If you're going to keep seed longer, I'd replace them once or twice a year.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 4:11PM
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nygardener(z6 New York)

Correction: I'd replace the ones you have in with your seeds regularly. You can probably keep spare silica packets in a tightly sealed container for 2 or 3 years.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2011 at 4:13PM
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dancinglemons(7B VA)

I also like the silica packets for my seeds. I get them from vitamin jar each new jar (the vitamins don't need them). I keep my seed in zipbags inside lock-n-lock container in dresser drawer. Tomato seeds planted this year 5 years old did very well about 95% germination. I occasionally will vacuum pack seeds.


    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 3:37AM
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Another tip when using older seeds is to plant extra seeds to account for low germination rates.

I've made this mistake when planting pepper seeds that were 5+ years old. My 2nd go-round I planted about 10 seeds and got the 5 or so plants that I wanted. Seeds are cheap, so i think i will go this route every year.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2011 at 8:35AM
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