Propagate plants from seed

Business Sectors (Suites): Horticulture
Developed by: Lantra
Approved on: 31 Jan 2019


This standard is for those who propagate plants from seed. This may require the operation of manual seed-sowing equipment or seed-sowing machines.

It covers the preparation of materials and the process of seed sowing. You will need to be aware of seed preparation methods and growing media and also the aftercare of the crop in the period from sowing to the end of the propagation phase.

You will be working in accordance with instructions and specifications.

If you are working with machinery you sould be trained and hold current certification where required in line with relevant legislation.

Performance criteria

You must be able to:

  1. be aware of hazards associated with the activity to be carried out
  2. wear suitable clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  3. prepare, use and maintain the required equipment safely and correctly
  4. check the type and quality of seeds to ensure they meet the specification to propagate plants
  5. check that the required growing media has been prepared in accordance with specifications
  6. prepare the seeds being used to propagate plants in accordance with specifications
  7. handle seeds in a way that minimises damage
  8. evenly and accurately sow seeds in accordance with specifications

  9. label seeds in accordance with specifications

  10. provide optimum environmental conditions for the seed to germinate in accordance with specifications

  11. maintain hygiene and biosecurity during seed propagation in accordance with instructions
  12. remove and dispose of unwanted seedlings in accordance with instructions
  13. provide aftercare for seedlings which sustains and promotes plant development

  14. complete records as required by the organisation

  15. carry out your work in accordance with relevant environmental and health and safety legislation, risk assessment requirements, codes of practice and organisational policies

Knowledge and Understanding

You need to know and understand:

  1. the hazards associated with propagating plants from seed
  2. the type of clothing and personal protective equipment (PPE) suitable for the activity
  3. the equipment required to propagate plants from seed and how to prepare, use, maintain and store these safely and correctly
  4. the importance of completing the seed propagation activity in accordance with specifications
  5. how to identify type and quality of seeds and recognise those which are substandard
  6. different methods of preparing seeds to propagate plants
  7. the types of growing media used to propagate plants from seeds
  8. methods of handling seeds in order to minimise damage
  9. the need for an even distribution of seeds and how to achieve the required ratio during sowing
  10. the correct depth of sowing for different types of seeds and how to achieve it
  11. the requirements for labelling seeds
  12. factors affecting the rate and percentage of seed germination
  13. the stages of plant development
  14. how to recognise problems with the germination of seeds and what action to take
  15. the importance of maintaining hygiene and biosecurity during seed propagation and the methods for achieving this
  16. common pests and diseases encountered during seed propagation
  17. the types of aftercare required for seedlings and their purpose, including non-chemical alternatives to protect against pests and diseases
  18. the records which need to be completed in relation to propagating plants from seeds
  19. the importance of following environmental and ecological best practice to help minimise the impact of your work on the environment
  20. your responsibilities under relevant environmental and health and safety legislation, codes of practice and organisational policies


A.       maintain the following types of equipment when propagating plants from seeds:

  1. manual seed sowing equipment
  2. seed sowing machines

B.       provide the following types of aftercare to sustain plant development:

  1. humidity control
  2. temperature control
  3. pricking out
  4. weed control
  5. pest or rodent control

Scope Performance

Scope Knowledge






  • humidity control
  • temperature control
  • light control
  • provision of nutrients
  • provision of water
  • pricking out
  • weed control
  • pest or disease control

*Instructions:* verbal or written.

*                                     * *   *

*Seed preparation methods:*

  • soaking
  • priming
  • temperature treatments
  • stratification

Specifications: drawings, schedules, method statements, Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), manufacturers' guidelines, organisational policies

Links To Other NOS

External Links

Version Number


Indicative Review Date

31 Jan 2024





Originating Organisation


Original URN


Relevant Occupations

Fruit and Vegetable Production Worker, Gardener, Nursery Worker

SOC Code



seeds; plant; soak; prime; nutrients; fruit; vegetable; nursery; garden