Germinating in soil vs paper towel?

Hello everyone! I have only ever planted my seeds in a soil mix after stratifying and waited for them to germinate in trays, however I recently moved into a condo and have no practical way to store large seed trays in a cooler environment. I have several batches of seeds stratifying in my fridge at the moment. Should I just leave them in their plastic bags with a damp paper towel through the winter to see if they germinate that way? I’ve already treated them with an anti-fungal. I’ve heard that this is standard practice for some hybridizers. Do any of you do this? Any tips? I’d love to find an “easy way out” this season while my space is limited, but if necessary I can find a friend with a garage for my soil trays…ha! Thanks in advance! -Sue

I prefer sand in baggie. It is easy to see if too wet or not wet enough. The sand can be removed with a strainer without the possibility of damaging the root. Sand does not support mold.

Ok, great! I will give the sand a try! Thank you. :slight_smile:

My developed seed-starting mix contains a sterilized lightweight potting soil without fertilizer, which retains water well. In addition I use 1 part Quartz Sand, 1 part Perlite, 1 part Vermiculite and 1 part Worm Castings well mixed and slightly moisted. This composition will be put in airtightly sealed plastic bags of 1 to 3 liters (34 fl oz to 103 fl oz) capacity and stored in a repeating alteration of temperature treatment about 50F to 68F about 2 weeks each. For very hard shelled seeds I return the storage back to the temperature of 39F for one week.

last couple of winters, due to moving and space, I have just kept my seeds in the paper towel in the fridge. When the paper started to get moldy I just replaced it with new paper.
I used to get all the seeds out and plant at one time. But since I started getting germinations in the fridge I now wait a while and pick out individuals as they germinate and pot them up.
Eventually I will get all the seeds out and put them in trays, but this way I have a steady string of seedlings, working with them at a slower and easier pace.
If there are really important crosses not germinating by this time I will begin extracting them.
This has worked really well in limited space.

These are such great recommendations! Thank you! I definitely feel more comfortable trying out the bags-in-the-fridge method now. It’s also helpful to have some specific temperature-fluctuation advice for the stratification.

Duane, I have never tried extracting seeds that have not germinated. How (and approximately when) do you go about this?

You can do it whenever, I believe. There was a link on here (if I remember correctly) to the article of instructions written for it.
Can someone direct to it? or maybe try searching the site for “embryo extraction”.
I usually start doing this late in the winter, after germinations have been going for a while and I see no germinations of the crosses I am most interested in. Although I might start some earlier in winter this year, gives something to watch grow.
Hope your seeds germinate!

Here is the link:
Simple Embryo Culture for Plant Breeders, Donald J. Holeman, Rose Hybridizers Association

This is an incredible resource! Thanks so much! I’m excited (nervous) to try this.