Thirty diverse genotypes of bread wheat were evaluated for seed vigour index, germination percentage, root length, shoot length, root-to-shoot length ratio, coleoptile length and osmotic membrane stability under laboratory conditions. Considerable variation was observed for all the characters. Discrimination among the genotypes on the basis of mean values was better under normal than under moisture stress conditions, indicating suppression of variability under moisture stress conditions. Comparison of mean performance under normal and osmotic stress conditions indicated that the seed vigour index was the most sensitive trait, followed by shoot length, germination percentage and root length. The root-to-shoot length ratio, however, increased under osmotic stress. The magnitude of genetic components of variance and heritability were, in general, lower under osmotic stress than under normal conditions. All the characters except germination percentage, shoot length and coleoptile length showed considerable genetic variability. Heritability in the broad sense was also moderate to high for all the characters under both environments. Due to high heritability and genetic advance great benefit from selection can be expected for the osmotic membrane stability of leaf segments and root-to-shoot length ratio. Moderate progress can be expected from root length and seed vigour index. Correlation studies indicated that the osmotic membrane stability of the leaf segment was the most important trait, followed by root-to-shoot ratio and root length on the basis of their relationships with other traits.