When starting pepper seeds, there is often the problem that the seed coat sticks to the plant. If it is not removed, the plant cannot germinate, which prevents photosynthesis and eventually leads to death.

In this article, we share our method for removing the seed coat from pepper seedlings. It doesn’t always work, but it does simplify the process.

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Propeller head is the seed coat attached to pepper plants.

What is the seed coat?

You probably already know what a seed pod is, but give us a brief explanation. The seed coat or integument is the protective outer shell of the seed. They vary in shape and size depending on the type of plant.

As with peppers, the seed coat is very fragile if it sticks to the seedlings during germination. This phenomenon is also called helmeted heads, because the seed coat looks like a helmet covering the first set of leaves.

The first leaves of a seedling are called cotyledons and are embryonic leaves. They provide the plant with the energy needed to produce roots and a strong stem in the first growth phase.

Helmet head attached to pepper seedling

Therefore it is very important to remove the stuck integumentation from the plants as soon as possible! If you can’t catch the light, the plant probably can’t catch it either.

We take preventative measures to reduce the number of stuck pods, but we still get a few every year. So let’s talk about how to safely remove integuments.

Removal of seed coat

The basic principle is to soften the seed coat attached to your plant. This softens the seed coats and makes them easier to handle when you are trying to remove them.

If you just try to pull the seed coat off the plant, you can break the stem at the base of the leaves and kill the plant.

To prevent this, start by spraying the stuck integument, making sure it is fully hydrated with water.

Sprinkle seed coat with water – this softens the seed coat

Don’t let the seed coat dry out! If you have a fan running for aeration, turn it off during this process to ensure that the water is sucked into the seed pod rather than evaporating into the air.

After about 10 minutes, the seed coat should be much softer and more flexible. Try to gently pull the seed coat off the plant with your thumb and index finger.

Removal of seminal vesicle.

If the seed coats are still hard, sprinkle them again and wait another 10 minutes. Allow the seed coat to moisten well before forcing. Once properly saturated, the integument should come off much easier.

Removal of seminal vesicle.

Some are harder to remove than others. If all the flakes are covered with seeds, you may not be able to remove them without taking the leaves with you. If this happens, the plant will not survive.

Wet, malleable seed coat successfully removed.

Prevention of seed coat adhesion

The best way to treat a clogged skin is to avoid it in the first place. This problem usually occurs when conditions in the soil environment dry out.

If the seed coat is hard during germination, it is more difficult for the plant to germinate during germination. Here are some tips on how to avoid using blowhards:

  • Daily watering of the soil surface during germination
  • Use moist domes to prevent germinating seeds from drying out.
  • Spray the hooks as soon as they begin to sprout to help the seed coat molt.

When the seedlings start to come out of the ground, spray them with water to help them shake off their seed coat!

The first time you see a stuck seed pod, it can be confusing. Did I do something wrong? Is my plant okay? Fortunately, in most cases this can be easily remedied by careful manual work.

This is another reason why we recommend planting multiple seeds in each germ cell. If some shoots are lost for this number, at least you have a spare plant that will grow throughout the growing season!

I hope this has helped you with the seed coat sticking to your pepper plants. If you have any questions, please let us know below.


One of the original ones! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning about peppers and botany, he might be traveling to new places or making music.

frequently asked questions

Should I remove the seed from the seedling?

Worldwide. KP2 said: not always; often the scales harden when they get above the soil line, and if not removed, the plant dies. Sometimes they fall out on their own, but usually not (it is useful to plant the seeds a little deeper in the ground, so that the vegetative movement helps to get rid of the caps).

Will the seed germinate if the seed coat is removed?

In general, the results of this experiment led to the conclusion that seeds do not need a seed coat to grow; on the contrary, they seem to grow about equally well whether they have a seed coat or not.

What comes out when the seed coat breaks?

When the seed is exposed to the right conditions, water and oxygen are absorbed by the seed coat. The cells of the embryo begin to grow. The seed coat is then torn off and a root or radicle first appears, followed by a shoot or plumule with leaves and a stem. Many things can cause poor germination.

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