Most seeds are dry (< 15% moisture) and are in a great condition for storage. However, for germination to begin the seed must become hydrated.

Initially, water uptake is very rapid over the first 10 to 30 minutes. This is followed by a slower wetting stage that is linear for up to an hour for small seeds or several hours for large seeds.

Water uptake eventually ends as the seed enters the lag phase of germination.

Graph showing seed fresh weight increase over time as it absorbs water. Imbibation and Lag phases of germination identified. Within Imbibation phase, the rapid stage of water uptake, and the slower linear stage are identified.