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Peas Not Germinating – Causes & Fixes

Every gardener knows that worrying moment when you realize that your plant isn’t germinating. It can be frustrating, especially if you don’t know what’s causing the problem or how to fix it. There are so many things that can go wrong during the earliest stages of your plant’s life, but if you’re able to determine the cause of your peas not germinating, then it’s usually possible to fix it.

Environmental factors that can prevent peas from germinating. Soil temperatures, water, seed quality, and pests are common reasons your peas may not be germinating. 

Once you’ve determined what’s preventing your peas from germinating, you’ll be able to put a plan into place to fix it.

If your peas aren’t germinating, then don’t panic! We’ll walk you through the most common reasons this happens and how you can fix it. Read on to get all the details you need to know about peas not germinating.

Why Aren’t My Peas Germinating?

Peas are usually pretty low-maintenance plants, so if they aren’t germinating, something isn’t being done correctly. Plenty of environmental factors could prevent your peas from germinating, so let’s dive right in.

Pea Seed Quality

First off, you should ensure that your pea seeds are of good quality. If you know the source you’ve gotten them from or their seeds from last year’s harvest, they’re probably fine. However, if you’ve bought your seeds from a supermarket or somewhere similar, there’s a chance that they may be too old to grow. Check that your seeds aren’t past their expiration date or older than two years.

Water

Most pea seeds start as wrinkly, dehydrated-looking pebbles. This is only normal, and for your pea seeds to germinate, they’ll need enough water to fully rehydrate and wake up from dormancy.

Once you’ve sown your pea seeds into the ground, they should soak up the moisture from the soil and become fully rounded seeds again. Sometimes pea seeds can get stuck in air pockets in the ground where they cannot fully absorb moisture. You’ll need to be careful when sowing your seeds to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Another possibility is overwatering. You may be watering your garden once a week and lots of natural spring rain, and the result is soggy pea seeds that start to rot instead of growing. 

Soil Temperature

Peas prefer cooler soil than most, but it still has to be within an appropriate range to facilitate their growth. These plants will germinate fastest in temperatures between 55 degrees F and 75 degrees F, although they can germinate in temperatures as low as 38 degrees F.

Since peas are sensitive to warm temperatures, it’s essential to show them during early spring to fall. If you’re planning on growing peas in your garden during the spring, it might be best to start growing them inside to ensure they’re exposed to the right temperatures.

Pests

If you’ve sown your pea seeds into your garden and haven’t seen any signs of germination, your seeds may have fallen victim to pests. Both birds and mice love pea seeds and eagerly dig them up to devour them. 

Perhaps you’ve dug down and realized your pea seeds are missing, or you’ve noticed seed hulls around your garden. These are signs that pests have eaten your pea seeds, and it can be frustrating for gardeners to see this. Don’t worry; there are ways to prevent this from happening, and we’ll dive into that below.

How Do I Help My Pea Seeds Germinate?

Once you’ve determined the cause of your pea seeds not germinating, you can put a plan to fix the problem and help encourage their growth. Here are some ways to help your pea seeds germinate while dealing with some of the most common problems.

Pea Seed Quality

The best thing to do is get your pea seeds from a reliable source. That could be harvesting seeds from your crop the previous year or getting some from a fellow gardener you trust. If neither of these options is possible for you, then there are other ways to test whether your store-bought seeds are viable.

All you need is a bowl filled with water. Place your seeds in the water and wait for 15 minutes. If your seeds sink, then they can still be planted. Any seeds that float should be discarded, as they won’t be able to germinate.

Water

Over or underwatering your pea seeds can prevent them from germinating. If you decide to start your pea seeds indoors, it will be much easier for you to control how much water they’re receiving. For pea seeds, you should water them deeply once a week. Never allow the soil to completely dry out, as this could seriously reduce pea production.

However, if you’ve started your pea seeds outside, this process can be trickier. They need plenty of water, but spring can be a particularly rainy area in most climates. If you’re in an area that experiences heavy rains during the spring, you don’t need to water your plants yourself once a week. 

But, during dry spells, you will need to water your seeds. Ensure that you’re vigilant about the weather, so you know when to water your pea seeds and when to let nature take its course.

Soil Temperatures

The best way to ensure that the soil temperature is appropriate for your pea seeds is to grow them inside. You can use grow lights or a heated mat to control the temperature. Remember, pea seeds grow best in temperatures between 40-70 degrees F. This is a wide range; it can be hard to guarantee that nighttime temperatures never fall below 40 in early spring. 

If you decide to start your night-time pea seeds outdoors, you’ll want to do so well after the last frost of the year. You can use a thermometer to check the soil temperature before sowing your seeds to ensure that they are in the right range.

Pests

If you suspect that pests have prevented your pea seeds from germinating, then you’ll need to take steps to protect your seeds. The best solution is to start your pea seeds inside, where birds and mice won’t be able to reach them. 

However, if you’re determined to start your pea seeds outside, you can use a row cover until your seedlings get big enough. You could also install some wire mesh a few inches away in the soil. Adding a fleece where your pea seeds are germinating will prevent critters from digging them up and add a few degrees to the soil temperature. 

Final Thoughts

It can be frustrating when your pea seeds aren’t germinating. You have high hopes for an amazing crop, but you need those seeds to germinate first! There are some common reasons why pea seeds don’t germinate, including soil temperature, pests, and water.

Once you figure out what’s stopping your pea seeds from germinating, you can come up with a plan to fix the problem and grow that crop you’ve been looking forward to.