The current study aimed to investigate the impacts of different concentrations of GO/PANI nanocomposites (25, 50 and 100 mg L−1), in comparison with GO and PANI, on seed germination behaviors, morpho-physiological and biochemical traits in intact (mucilaginous) and demucilaged seeds, and young seedlings of the medicinal plant Salvia mirzayanii. Upon exposure to GO, seed germination was delayed and reduced, and growth attributes (root and shoot length, shoot fresh weight, and total chlorophyll content) declined, all of which could be attributed to the reductions in water uptake and oxidative stress particularly in demucilaged seeds. A hormetic dose-dependent response was observed for the growth traits in both intact and demucilaged seedlings upon exposure to GO/PANI concentrations, i.e. low-concentration stimulation and high-concentration repression. Elevated levels of H2O2 in shoot tissue of the seedlings exposed to GO and high concentration of GO/PANI, in comparison with those exposed to low levels of GO/PANI and control, were linked with the activities of the antioxidant enzymes SOD, CAT, POD, and total phenolics. Overall, the results showed high toxicity of GO on germination and early growth of S. mirzayani that was more evident in demucilaged seedlings, whereas GO/PANI stimulated germination, and the effects on seedling growth were stimulatory or inhibitory depending on the application dose and presence of mucilage. Furthermore, the capacity of GO/PANI nanocomposites to improve germination and cause a regular porosity pattern in roots accompanied by improved water uptake and early establishment of S. mirzayanii propose potential implications of GO/PANI nanocomposites for seeds/plants in drought-prone ecosystems.