Does aspirin assist seed germination?

I gave my growing roses a dose of aspirin this year (two to four tablets per pot) on a whim – there are lots of rumors out there, and I figured, why not? Well, I don’t know if it had any effect on the roses, but I have an unusually large crop of weeds growing in my pots now. I’m wondering if maybe the aspirin took dormant weed seeds and brought them all back to life. This is really unusual – I’m something of a fanatic about not having weeds in my pots, and I didn’t change sources of soil or mulch or anything like that. And it’s all of my pots, not just the ones that were lacking soil and therefore got topped off with mulch.

Anyone ever experiment with aspirin as a germination aid? I’ve seen the posts about using them on growing seedlings and so forth, but I’m really curious now if there is an effect specifically on germination rates/abilities.


Wow, Kathy! That’s the first instance I’m aware of aspirin GIVING someone a headache! Let’s see, aspirin is acidic, so it may have released something otherwise bound in alkaline compounds. Salicylic Acid supposedly assists in rooting. I wonder if either of these could have helped seeds germinate better than simply with your normal regimen? Kim

I have a "wasted seeds’ pot. A place where I throw all the hips that matured that I did not want to process – open pollinated hips from roses that did not get deadheaded timely for whatever reason. I also throw all of the seeds that did not germinate the year before in the same pot. So there are several years worth of rose seeds in there, and every once in awhile, a rose does come up there. I know it’s hardly scientific, but the wasted seeds pot is about to get some aspirin.

I’ve been hearing about this aspirin thing a lot lately. Not sure how it would work or help but…Eh, what could it hurt to try?

I noticed an inordinate amount of weeds in my pots this year too and I didn’t give them any aspirin. I do feed the birds all winter so they could have come from the supposedly “sterile” bird seed, yeah, right. And I got some wicked old fashioned vining petunias from an on line gardening friend a couple of years ago. They seed like mad! I have volunteer petunias coming up everywhere now. I pick and choose where I want to leave them and they do fill in with all season color very nicely. But I have to be very careful with the minis in pots especially. The darn petunias are so vigorous they soon out grow the roses and shade them!

Kathy, Kim, Seil, any other places that might have done something like this. Kathy, what rate of asprin are you using, so many mlg per tablet. Why I ask this, my wife read this post and as we have seeds/hips, she thought she might try it. Could you extend your use of them, IE, watered in, broken, then watered in, any info would be great. regards David.

For me it’s very informal – regular size aspirin, a couple tablets per 5 gal can. There’s really no science to this at all, just something I noticed and wondered about.

I haven’t tried aspirin David. I don’t think there are any in the house. I can’t take them, and I don’t remember running across a bottle of them anywhere. Kim

Thanks Kathy and Kim, I will show this to my wife this afternoon, David.


About 4 years ago, there was a flurry of articles on using aspirin in the USA. The articles stressed disease prevention however not increased germination (maybe no one ever tested for that). Apparently it works not by attacking the disease per se but by alerting the plant to increase its defense mechanisms (possibly this is how it might tie in with increased seed germination).

The dosage was 3 plain (not enteric coated, etc.)adult aspirin (325mg. or 5 grains) crushed or dissolved in 4 gallons of water and sprayed on the rose foliage. I don’t recall if a specific frequency was give but I would assume as needed and not more than every 5-6 weeks.


I just spent about an hour doing a web search on this topic. Reports provide conflicting answers to the question. A GardenWeb post by morz8 on February 3, 2006 summarizes the situation pretty well:

“[A] web search [shows] as many articles stating aspirin is a germination inhibitor as articles saying it improves germination.”

Some found improved germination with highly dilute aspirin solution–and some did not. Inhibition of germination and reduction of growth seemed to result from higher concentrations. If you want specific concentrations so you can try aspirin as a germination aid (and learn what to avoid as too much of a possibly good thing), run a search with “aspirin germination” (minus the quotes) as the search terms.

As an alternative, you might momentarily consider this. In that GardenWeb thread, a woman reports that her father soaks okra seeds in gasoline to improve germination:

"Two weeks ago, my father (who lives in AR) showed me the difference in two sets of okra plants resulting from some seeds being soaked in gasoline and the others in just water.

“The ones soaked in gasoline looked like they had been planted a week earlier!”

There is no indication whether high-test or mid-grade is better than regular gasoline, nor how long the seeds are to be soaked. Nor is there any indication of whether this works better on hot pepper seeds than on mild pepper seeds.

Please, if you soak seeds in gasoline, don’t do so indoors or in a poorly ventilated area or your germination experiment may go off a lot more spectacularly than you hoped.

With all methods, especially the soaking-in-gasoline method, your mileage may vary.

Too funny!

Maybe the gasoline dissolves the seed coating “just enough” Or maybe it kills off something otherwise inhibiting germination. hehe.

I guess its time to start germinating Jaguars and other high octane engine cars…

I’ve heard that applying a mixture of gasoline, crushed aspirin, and dryer lint to the emerging growth of certain rose varieties can be used as a means of inducing necrosis. Haven’t tried it yet.

Especially if they have weak necs

I hope that last post didn’t seem sarcastic…I was just trying to be funny.

A little sarcasm is a good thing.

But of course really weak-necked roses will self-destruct, as an act of self-expression

Petrol (gasoline) is a solvent. Maybe it dissolves something? However, the idea (strange as it sounds initially) may be to try some ‘way-out’ things - maybe something really wacky will work?


Well, I did not try Aspirin as an assistant of seed germination. But it works very well as a helpful aid for hard growing cuttings. I took a very small piece of a tablet of an Aspirin® Plus C mix and put it in the watering. The opened tablet should not be stored too long because in connection with oxygen it’s getting soft and yellowish. The effect could then be changed. This Water - Aspirin mixture I gave each time of watering to the cuttings until the first two leaves are fully developed. Then I phased out Aspirin and changed to pure water, little later followed with few fertilizers. Some time after this experiment I found the below article which supports and confirms my experiences.

I will give the assistance of Aspirin in seed germination also a chance on a smaller scale and will report.

Below you can find the german article translated:

Aspirin stimulates plant immune defenses
Frank Luerweg University Communication
Technical University of Kaiserslautern

The fact that salicylic acid, the basic building block of aspirin, can make plants more resistant to various pathogens is not new. Aspirin itself also has a similar effect. The working group of the Kaiserslautern botanist Dr. Uwe Conrath has now discovered a previously unknown way of how this improved immune defense comes about. The test results give hope for a new generation of effective pesticides.
Plants are exposed to a variety of attacks from fungi, bacteria and viruses. If a plant cell is attacked by such a pathogen, it releases the signaling molecule salicylic acid. The basic building block of aspirin ensures that from now on the plant permanently produces substances that can kill any invading pathogens, and thus also becomes resistant in the unaffected parts - an effect that is referred to as systemically acquired resistance.
At the same time, the salicylic acid puts the plant’s immune system on alert. For example, if a fungus tries to penetrate the plant through the leaf surface, the cell wall thickens at this point - the threatened cells build up a mechanical barrier against the attacker. If the infestation is successful, however, this reaction often comes too late, since the enzymes responsible for the thickening are only activated with a delay or the corresponding genes are read too slowly.
Conrath has now observed that such local defense reactions take place much faster than usual if salicylic acid has been administered beforehand. The salicylic acid seems to stimulate the production of proteins which, to a certain extent, “activate” the corresponding defense genes and ensure that they are activated in the early stages of an infection get into full swing.
The Kaiserslautern working group has already succeeded in identifying a possible molecular “activator”. The researchers also found another protein molecule that is necessary for the effect of salicylic acid. It resembles immune activators that have already been found in animal cells - a finding that suggests that this molecule played a central role in the evolution of plants and animals.