Lawn Sowing Seeds

How Long Is Grass Seed Viable?

Question: I just found a bag of grass seed I bought about 3 years ago. Is it still good?

Louise L.

Answer: Depending on the storage conditions, grass seed can remain viable from 1 to 7 years. It will last longest indoors under cool, dry conditions and much less in heat and humidity or in a tool shed where dramatic temperature swings occur.

Rather than waste time and effort sowing seeds that don’t come up, do a trial seeding first, easy to carry out indoors or out. 

Sow 10 seeds on moist soil. If 7 or more seeds come up, germination is still excellent and you can proceed according to the recommended application rate. If 4 to 6 seeds pop up, double the rate. If 3 or fewer seeds are germinate, it would probably be better to buy fresh seeds.

Larry Hodgson is one of Canada’s best-known garden communicators. He has notably been editor-in-chief of HousePlant Magazine, Fleurs, Plantes et Jardins, À Fleur de Pot and Houseplant Forum magazines and is currently the garden correspondent for Le Soleil and radio garden commentator for CKIA-FM Radio. He has written for many garden publications in both the United States and Canada, including Canadian Gardening, Harrowsmith, Horticulture, Fine Gardening and Organic Gardening. He also speaks frequently to horticultural groups throughout Canada and the U.S. His book credits include The Garden Lover’s Guide to Canada, Complete Guide to Houseplants, Making the Most of Shade, Perennials for Every Purpose, Annuals for Every Purpose, and Houseplants for Dummies, as well as nearly 60 other titles in English and French. He is a past president of the Garden Writers Association (now Garden Communicators International) and the winner of the prestigious 2006 Garden Media Promoter Award offered by the Perennial Plant Association. He resides in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.

1 comment on “How Long Is Grass Seed Viable?

  1. Viability . . . . If only seed stayed viable for ever. There were so many seeds that I brought back from Oklahoma, but could not plant right away. I was impressed with what survived! Yucca arkansana seed apparently stays viable for many years! Grass and some annuals do not have that luxury.

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