This article was last updated by on

Kale Germination Time (When & How Guide)

Want to enjoy a plant that can provide you with harvests all year without any break? If so, Kale is the one having the ability to give the yield from spring to winter.

If you want to grow Kale, the king of all healthy greens, you need not wait for long.

The germination time of Kale depends on the medium it is set to germinate. It takes 5 to 7 days to germinate the seeds in the paper towel, while it takes 7 to 10 days in an indoor pot and outdoor garden.

Leaves of Kale in a pot
Kale loves well-draining, organic soil and demands slight frost to add sweetness to the leaves.

Thus, the most curious part of growing Kale is its quick germinating time. 

If you wish to track germinating time while growing Kale in your garden or indoors, don’t skip this article.

What Do Kale Seeds Look Like?

Wide Kale varieties include Lacinato, Ornamental, Curly, Siberian, Chinese, and Red Russian. They produce a rosette of extended leaves having wavy to frilled margins.

Once Kale completes its life cycle, the flower buds appear to produce seeds.

Kale seeds are round in shape and turn from bright green to purple in the initial stage.

The pods enclosing the seed resemble tiny green beans or bananas, which gradually turn dry and brown on maturity, releasing the seeds.

If you cannot distinguish the seeds, try taking help from the table.

ColorLight green to purple initially with almost black in maturity
Size2 mm
ShapeSpherical to oval smooth seeds
Blossoming SeasonLate spring to early Summer
BlossomPale yellow petals with spiked flower
Seed podLong, slim, pointy resembling the bean pods

When To Harvest And Plant Kale Seeds?

Kale can confuse you till the end as some grow as annuals for their leaves.

In contrast, Kale is biennial, completing its lifecycle in two years for the seeds to grow in the next season, showing signs of dry pods with a light tan or buff color at harvesting time.

As Kale is a fast grower, you can harvest the leafy part of the Kale in just three months and use it as food.

After the completion of the growth, Kale prepares itself for flowering and producing seeds in the following second year.

To shed seeds, Kale needs pollination and pollinators to help them fertilize as they lack self-fertilization, for which bees are the best option.

Kale seeds are ready to harvest in the second year when the flowers start to bolt and dry up, leaving behind the dried pods in the plant. Later, you can store the seeds in cold places for plantation in the upcoming growing season.

Kale seeds can range from black to tan in color.

Kale is a cold weather lover and can tolerate diversity.

Siberian Kale represents the cold-hardy varieties whose seeds play a significant role in producing rapeseed oil.

After harvesting the Kale seeds, you can sow them in the early spring or three months before the upcoming fall frost.

How Much Time Do Kale Seeds Take For Germination?

Even though the seeds of Kale are tiny in size, they hold such a rapid pace for germination that it will even surprise you.

The seeds of Kale can germinate within a short time, as much as 7 to 10 days, in the potted or the ground condition if the soil temperature is no less than 45ºF.

A person is holding a pot containing Kale leaves
Kale is highly lenient with sunlight and is drought tolerant, but to a limit, or else the flavor and texture of the leaves get affected.

Moreover, multiple germination mediums have different germinating paces.

Germination In Paper Towel

The best time to germinate Kale in the paper towel is six weeks before the first frost date or in the summer for fall harvest.

The timing allows the seedlings have enough time to establish themselves in the soil before the temperature rises.

  • First, cut a paper towel in half.
  • Moisten the paper towel but do not allow it to drip down. Then sprinkle the seeds of Kale over it.
  • Maintain a spacing of 3 to 4 cm between the seeds not to make it overcrowded.
  • Again, dampen the paper towel and cover the seeds with the other half of the paper towel.
  • Take a zipper bag, put the paper towel with the seeds in it, and lock the bag to escape the air.
A person is holding a group of germinated seeds in a paper towel.
Seeds germinating from the paper towel can produce a harvest in 60 to 75 days under proper care.
  • Use a permanent marker to note its name in the bag with its planted date for the record.
  • Provide the Kale with a temperature between 70ºF to 80ºF for fast germination.
  • Place seeds over the refrigerator, near a heating vent, or on a heating mat.
  • Keep checking on your plant daily, sprinkle one or two sprays of water over the seeds, and let some space for air to enter the bag.
  • When the seeds sprout, take them out for planting in the ground or pot as you wish.

Paper towel allows you to work in a soil-free and pathogen-free condition, and the process is easy to perform with a germination time of 5 to 7 days.

Germination In Pot

If you are a plant lover but do not have enough space or garden for the crops like Kale, try doing it in pots or containers.

The best time to sow the Kale seeds indoors is 5-7 weeks before the last expected frost date for the seeds collected in mid-spring.

  • Choose a pot having a diameter of at least 12 inches and enough drainage holes.
  • If you are a beginner or want to grow only a few for a trial, I recommend using a readymade organic potting mix.
  • And if you want to grow a bulk of seeds, use a DIY mix made from 4-part screened compost for nutrients, 2 part coconut coir, 1 part vermiculite, and 1 part perlite. 
  • Fill the 3/4th part of the pot with the potting mix and water the soil until the excess water leaks from the holes.
  • Now, you can sow the seeds of different Kale 0.25 to 0.5 inches deep in the pot and cover them with light soil.
4 seedling of Kale is growing inn a container.
Each hole must not contain more than 4 Kale seeds and should have proper spacing to let them enjoy adequate lighting.
  • Water it every 24 hours and keep it moist but do not overwater.
  • When the seeds sprout, move the pots to a south-facing window for proper indoor sunlight. 

If Kale seeds receive optimum care, they may germinate in 7-10 days after sowing in the pot. 

Germination In Garden

A Garden can be a good option if you wish Kale in large numbers. It will not need transplantation and can even work as an ornamental for your garden. 

Redbor Kale has beautiful, purple ruffled leaves that add great ornamental value and an exquisite look to your garden when grown with Pansies, Violas, and Snapdragon.

You can obtain the best result when you sow the seed right after the end of the frost or during the early spring.

  • First, select a location that welcomes plenty of sunlight during the fall.
  • And choose a partly shady location if the germination time falls in mid-summer as the seeds cannot tolerate extreme heat, resulting in bolting.
  • Spread the seeds in the ground at a distance of 3 inches apart.
  • Poke the seeds with your fingers or make a hole of 0.5 inches into the soil to sow seeds. 
  • Cover the seeds with 0.5 inches of light soil and moisten them.
  • Provide regular watering to the seeds and keep checking on the germination.
  • After the sprouts have formed, you can thin them out and transplant them into rows.

Kale seeds may take about 7 to 10 days to germinate in the ground.

Look at the video to clear confusion about harvesting and germinating Kale seeds.

Tips For Kale Seeds After Germination

Kale has a wide range of adaptability as it grows both in the fall and the summer, with temperature fluctuation.

However, ensure you have provided the following care requirements if you want your Kale plants to grow successfully after sowing. 

  • Daily 6 hours of sunlight with partial shade is ideal for the Kale seeds.
  • Maintain the humidity level between 55-70% for the sweet Kale leaves.
  • Try to maintain the temperature between 45ºF to 85ºF.
  • Moisten your plant daily during germination and after the seedlings have sprouted, provide 1 to 1.5 inches of water every week. 
  • Mostly sandy to loamy soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7 is suitable, along with a proper drainage facility for Kale.
  • Provide mulch of straw or grass to retain moisture and maintain the temperature of the soil.
You can transplant Kale seedlings in 3 weeks when they start sprouting.
  • Enrich your soil with organic matter if the seedlings have lumps of soil, mainly in clayey soil.
  • Keep the spacing of 16 inches between seedlings for a staggered pattern and 18 inches between the rows while transplanting the Kale seedlings.
  • Provide a Liquid fertilizer with 10-10-10 N-P-K after the first harvest of leaves to boost the growth.
  • Thin your Kale after two weeks of germination and transplant them.
  • Prevent your plant from pests like aphids, diamondback moths, cutworms, and flea beetles by removing the plant residues every two weeks and applying neem oil or insecticidal soap.


Kale boasts of being a nutritious staple food with anti-inflammatory, heart-protective, and anti-cancer effects.

If you wish to know further, read  Kale’s benefits

Germinating Kale takes only 5 -10 days, and you can leverage all potential benefits after growing it successfully. 

Happy Gardening!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like