Verbena (Verbena × hybrida Voss) seed germination varied with the water content of the substrate. Total germination percentages (G) were highest when substrates were 75% to 100% saturated and progressively declined with increased free distilled water (FDW) on the blotter paper substrate. Natural differences in G among cultivars at favorable substrate moisture levels increased when free water was present. Removing the seed hilums did not increase G of `Romance Scarlet' on a substrate with FDW, but significantly increased the G of `Showtime Blaze' and `Red A'. Au inverse relationship was found between seed moisture contents and G at high substrate moisture levels. `Romance Scarlet', `Showtime Blaze', and `Red A' had 64%, 73%, and 84% seed moisture contents and G of 72%, 18%, and l0%, respectively. The period of sensitivity to excessive water during germination was day 2 for `Red A' and days 2 and 3 for `Showtime Blaze'. The G of `Romance Scarlet' seed was not reduced when placed on a substrate containing FDW for 1 day. Removal of seed hilums from `Red A' significantly increased G during day 2 for seeds on a substrate containing FDW.