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Microgreens Not Sprouting – Why And What To Do?

Are you trying to grow your own microgreens at home, but things aren't going so well? Well, you've come to the right place. We've done the research and compiled this guide to help you figure out what's going wrong in your microgreen garden.

When microgreens refuse to sprout, it usually comes down to:

  • Old seeds
  • Poorly kept seeds
  • Seeds that are too fresh
  • Light issues
  • Overwatering
  • Underwatering
  • Temperature changes

So, what kinds of issues can seeds have that would prevent them from growing? And how do you know if you're using too much or too little water? Keep reading to learn all about the most common problems associated with microgreens not sprouting and how to prevent them.

Seeds and sprouts of microgreens isolated on grey, Microgreens Not Sprouting - Why And What To Do?

Why Aren't Your Microgreens Sprouting?

There are a handful of reasons why your microgreen seeds may not sprout. Most microgreen varieties begin to sprout after 2-3 days, so if you haven't seen any action after 3 days, there's an underlying issue.

Most of the time this issue will come down to the quality of the seeds you are using, but sometimes it can be environmental. 

Assortment of micro greens. Growing kale, alfalfa, sunflower, arugula, mustard sprouts, panorama, Healthy lifestyle concept

Old Seeds

Most microgreen seeds have an expiration ranging from 1-3 years from harvest, and some varieties may last even longer than that. Seed packets and containers should have an expiration date printed on the packaging, so check your seed container to see if the seeds are too old to germinate.

If you no longer have the original packaging but you think your seeds may be around a year old, this is very likely why they won't germinate.

Nature Jim's Sprouts Microgreen Salad Seed Mix

These microgreen seeds claim to sprout in just 5 days and include a mix of varieties designed to make a delicious salad blend. This 1-pound bag will offer plenty of seeds for multiple grows.

Click here to see these seeds on Amazon.

Poorly Kept Seeds

If your microgreen seeds got wet or were stored in a hot area, it can drastically affect their viability. Even high humidity levels can have an effect on the quality of your microgreen seeds. It's recommended to store microgreen seeds in the refrigerator for the best results.

Home Grown Salad Sprouts

Click here to check out these seeds on Amazon.

Various sprouts in plant pots for garden and salad. Microgreens. Green superfoods. Seed germination at home. Top view, blank space

Seeds That Are Too Fresh

If microgreen seeds are harvested from the plants too early, they may not be viable at all. This is why it's best to get microgreen seeds from a reputable source with an in-depth understanding of the life cycles of these plants.

Some varieties of microgreens have seeds that experience a period of dormancy in certain seasons too, so it's good to get an understanding of the variety you're trying to grow.

Rainbow Heirloom Seed Co. Rainbow Radish Microgreens

This variety blend of radish microgreens will add some spice to your salad. It comes in a large 1-pound sack for multiple plantings. 

Click here to check out these seeds on Amazon.

Light Issues 

Depending on the variety you're trying to grow, microgreens need a dark period of between 2 and 8 days before they can be exposed to light. After the dark period, they will require between 4 and 5 hours of direct sunlight or a full 8 hours of indirect sunlight per day to grow properly.

Make sure you are meeting the light and dark requirements for the specific variety you're trying to grow, and consider a grow light to supplement sunlight if needed.

LED Grow Light

This full-spectrum grow light will help your microgreens get all the sun they need to grow strong and healthy. It's 2 feet by 4 feet, and it's dimmable to meet your needs. 

Click here to see this light on Amazon.

Watering microgreens sprouted on coco mat on a dark wooden background, growing green leafy vegetables at home, healthy eating concept.

Overwatering

Overwatering can lead to a number of issues in microgreen seeds. They may become so overwatered that they begin to develop mold and other illnesses while germinating and never make it to the sprouting phase. Make sure you only water every day or so after the medium has begun to feel dry.

Beautify Beauties Misting Spray Bottle

This misting spray bottle is perfect for watering your microgreens gently. The mist it provides will help you avoid overwatering.

Click here to check out this bottle on Amazon.

Underwatering

Underwatering your microgreen seeds will prevent them from germinating too. Seeds and seedlings are very vulnerable specimens that can be heavily affected by poor conditions.

If your growing medium dries out while your seeds are germinating, they may not make it to the sprouting phase before they also dry out and perish.

HAMAMA Microgreens Growing Kit

This growing kit helps take all the work out of growing microgreens. You only need to add water once and provide adequate sunlight, then sit back and watch them grow.

Click here to see this kit on Amazon.

Temperature Changes

If your seeds experience rapid or extreme temperature changes while they're germinating, it may kill them before they break through the medium.

You want to try to keep your microgreens in a growing environment that stays between 65°-75°F. Temperatures that are too cold will kill them, and temperatures that are too hot will cause mold growth and disease.

Zuvas Desk Fan

This small desk fan should be enough to keep your microgreens cool in hot weather. It has three speeds so you can control how much wind the plants get.

Click here to take a look at this fan on Amazon.

Why Are Microgreens Growing Slowly?

Check what kind of microgreens you're trying to grow; some varieties grow much slower than others. Choose fast-growing varieties for quicker results. If your microgreens are overwatered or underwatered, they can experience slower growth as well.  

Do Microgreens Need Heat To Germinate?

Microgreens don't typically need extra heat to germinate unless your home is rather chilly. As long as you keep the seeds between 65° and 75°F, they should be able to grow well. If your home is cooler you can use a heat mat to help get your seeds started.

Hydrofoam Seedling Heat Mat

Click here to see this heat mat on Amazon.

How Can I Make Microgreens Grow Faster?

Woman holding microgreens.

To encourage healthy and quick microgreen growth, make sure you're using good soil with a low level of nutrients.

Another way to ensure speedy growth is to make sure you start your seeds in the right season for the specific variety you're starting or at least the right environmental conditions. Make sure your temperature is appropriate and that your microgreens are properly watered.

Black Gold Organic Potting Soil

This potting soil has low levels of nutrients, which is perfect for microgreens. It's completely natural and organic too, which is always a bonus.

Click here to see this soil on Amazon.

Do Microgreens Grow Back After Cutting?

Organic microgreen sprouts close-up in the hands of a girl. Woman in apron holds fresh greens.

Microgreens don't typically grow back after being cut, so you'll need to replant new seeds after every harvest. It would be a good idea to grow more than one crop at a time to ensure you have enough to eat with multiple meals.

Most microgreen seeds are sold in a large enough quantity that you can get a decent amount of harvests per bag.

How Many Times Can Soil From Microgreens Be Reused?

You can reuse the soil from your microgreen grow multiple times, but you need to properly prepare it before replanting.

Mix the soil up well daily to break down the remaining microgreen roots and stems. After about two weeks of daily turning, the soil should look rich and dark, meaning it's ready for reseeding. 

Do Microgreens Need Good Airflow?

Close-up of microgreen broccoli. Concept of home gardening and growing greenery indoors

Microgreens need good airflow to thrive and grow properly, especially if it's very humid. It's good to consider keeping them near an open window during nice weather or having a fan nearby to circulate air. Without good circulation, your microgreens can be infected with mold and other illnesses.

Should Microgreens Be Covered?

You can cover your microgreens with an opaque, light-blocking cloth to help ensure the proper dark period is achieved.

After the dark period requirement is met, they will need sunlight and airflow to thrive, so remove any covers. Make sure you follow the instructions for the seeds you purchased to accomplish proper germination techniques.

In Closing

Now that you know all about the different problems that could prevent microgreens from sprouting, you're ready to give it another shot. Don't forget to make sure they get a suitable dark period and receive an appropriate amount of sunlight throughout the day afterward. Good luck in your gardening endeavors, and have fun growing!

Now that you've made it to the end, check out these other helpful articles:

For more advice on growing microgreens in your home, read: How To Grow Microgreens Indoors

To discover more tasty plants that grow quickly, read: 11 Edible Plants That Grow Fast [Healthy & Yummy!]