We get this question from
our seed customers often:
How long are pepper seeds good for?
How long pepper seeds remain viable depends on how they are stored, but we say that 2-5 years is realistic. It really depends on if they were fully dried before storing.
To store for long term, you need to keep the seeds cool and dry. If seeds are too wet, they can rot in the fridge, or they can get frost damage in the freezer.
If you store seeds in the refrigerator or freezer, place the packets in a small, air-tight container with a tight fitting lid, and ensure the seeds are properly dried to begin with (for best storage, seeds must be prevented from being exposed to any humidity, moisture or temperature swings prior to storing). We like to use mason jars with the plastic lids for storing. You could throw in a packet of silica gel to help reduce any moisture in the seeds – or you could also use a satchel of rice or charcoal to help pull moisture away from the seeds in the tightly sealed container. Then store in your fridge.
When ready to plant pepper seeds, allow the seeds to come to room temperature BEFORE you open the canister/container. If you open the container before they come to room temperature, moisture will be pulled from the warmer air into the seeds, which will make them no longer fit for storage, so you'll need to plant them.
When ready to plant the seeds, to get best germination rates, make sure to keep them very warm and consistently moist when germinating. The soil temperature must remain between 80° F – 90° F for successful germination.
Pepper seeds can take as long as 7-21 days to germinate (with some varieties such as the super hot pepper seeds taking up to 40+ days to germinate!) So don't give up on pepper seeds if all of your other vegetable seeds have sprouted, they are just a little slower than most. Just make sure to keep them consistently warm and moist, 80-90˚ F is best.
Learn more about how to grow peppers from seed »
Seed Germination Rates Decrease Each Year:
Each year the germination rates of seeds decreases, so less seeds will germinate than if they were fresh after storing. To offset this, we recommend planting more seeds to accommodate for the natural loss of viability of the seeds over time. For example, if seeds are two years old, plant 2-4+ seeds per pod instead of 1-2 seeds per pod. If you're lucky and multiple seeds sprout in one pod, gently pull out the extra one and transplant into it's own pod so you don't lose any seedlings to thinning.