noqgardener
Full Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:04 pm
Location: Zone 4

How to Save Flower Seeds

I intend to save seeds for next year, I found a site explaining how to save vegtable seeds, but it doesn't have any information on saving flower seeds. I want to save seeds from petnias, double petunias, marigolds. and pansys. How would I do so?
Thanks in advance.

pete28
Senior Member
Posts: 119
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:24 pm
Location: White Springs Florida

Hello. I am no expert but I have found a few articles that I thought may be helpful to you

Which Seeds Are Best to Save? Hybrid vs. Open Pollinated Varieties
When selecting the parent plants from which you collect the seed, be sure they are an open pollinated variety. With hybrids, very often the hybrid plant produces seeds that are not viable (will not germinate), or the progeny will be quite different from the parent plant. With open pollinated varieties, the seeds you collect should produce fairly consistent seedlings from generation to generation.

Select and Save Only the Best
As with any harvest, your best seeds come from your best plants. Select the parent plants based on overall health and vigor as well as other characteristics you deem important. For example, you might want to select for a certain color or size bloom, or for a certain plant height or habit, or for demonstrated disease resistance. The more carefully you select the parent plants from year to year, the better your seedlings will be.

Developing a Seed Strain
Repeated selection for a certain trait will increase the uniformity of your seedlings. Eventually, if you are careful to cull out rogue plants and are consistent with your efforts, you will develop a seed strain unique to your garden, adapted to and optimized for your growing conditions, and also with the inherited traits you prefer.

When to Collect the Seeds
Successful seed savers are patient and observant gardeners. Wait for the seeds to mature and dry before you harvest or collect them.

Stop Deadheading! If you are accustomed to dead heading your flowers (regularly removing the faded blooms) either to keep things tidy or to encourage additional blooms, you will need to stop doing that so the plant can develop its seeds.

Finding the Seeds on the Plant
To locate the seeds, look carefully at your flower. The seeds form in the flower's ovary which is a bulge located at the base of the flower. On a rose, for example, this looks like a miniature apple and is called a rose hip. When ripe, the color changes from green to red.

Typically, once the flower fades and dries and the petals fall off, you will quickly see the now swollen seed pod or capsule. Milk weed plants, for example, have large decorative seed pods that begin green and eventually dry out and crack open to release the seeds with their downy fluff. Poppy plants, another distinctive seed pod, have large rounded pods favored for use in dried arrangements.

When the seeds are ready for harvesting, they may rattle inside the pod or the pod may begin to split open ready to spew the seeds onto the ground. Try to collect the seeds before they drop to the ground and before the pod has begun to break down or rot or deteriorate due to weathering.

On some plants, such as marigolds and zinnias, the flower remains intact while it dries and seeds form at the base of the petals; collect these when the flower begins to shatter, pull it apart gently to reveal the seeds.

Or, you may have a flower such as Gaillardia (pictured) which makes puffy seed balls similar to dandelions. For ease of harvesting, collect the puffs just before they begin to break apart. If you wait too long, the seeds will drift away on the breeze.

Observe Your Flowers
If you observe your flowers carefully ,you will soon learn to see when the seeds are mature and ready to be collected or harvested for saving. I hope these easy directions on how to identify, locate and harvest the seeds from your garden will encourage you to give seed saving a try.

And this:

It's fun and easy to save seeds from your flower garden to plant next year. Learn how to select, collect, harvest and safely store your own flower seeds.

Follow these step by step directions on how to select, collect or harvest the seeds you want to save, and how to store them until planting time next year (or later.) This is Part 3 of a series on Basic Seed Saving for Flower Gardeners. See also Saving Flower Seeds and Harvesting Flower Seeds to Save for more information and tips on seed saving.

Patience! Seeds Must Be Mature
Wait until the seeds mature before you collect or harvest them. Avoid seeds that seem damp or soft or moldy or harbor insect pests.

Keep Seeds Dry
Work on a dry day after the dew has dried in the garden. It is very important to keep the seeds dry from now on. I like to knock them into a paper bag or paper envelope for easier handling. Label the seeds as you go. Allow them to air dry indoors at room temperature in a flat layer on a piece of paper for another week or so before storing.

How to Store the Seeds You Save
Store your seeds in a cool, dark, dry place. I have stored seeds successfully in paper or glassine envelopes at cool room temperature in the back of a desk drawer. But a more reliable place is to put the envelope of seeds inside a closed container such as a glass jar with tight fitting lid, or a zipper style plastic bag. Then put the jar or bag in the refrigerator where the temperature is cool and relatively constant. Seeds stored this way should remain viable for a year or two -- or even longer. See also How to Test Seed Viability.

Using A Dessicant
Some gardeners enclose a dessicant inside the jar along with the seeds to make doubly sure the seeds are dry. You could use a little packet of silica gel (such as those included in the package with new electronics or leather goods.) Or, make your own using a spoonful of dry milk powder wrapped in a piece of paper towel. This should absorb any excess moisture inside the jar.

CAUTION: Seeds Are Alive!
Seeds are living things, so treat them with care. Do not crush or damage them. Do not let your seeds freeze (or overheat) while in storage. Be sure they stay dry. If they become moist while in storage they may try to grow prematurely and then die. Although seeds can sometimes survive extended periods of storage, it is usually better to plant seed sooner than later because germination rates decrease over time.

Record Keeping for Seed Savers
Label each envelope or packet of seeds with the plant name and/or description, the date you collected the seed, and where the seed came from. You may want to keep a master list so you know specifically which seeds you have on hand and how long they have been stored. You could also record this information in your garden journal, if you have one. (See Keeping A Garden Journal.)

Become A Seed Saver
Saving seeds can be rewarding in many different ways. You can save money, preserve heirloom seed strains, develop your own seed strains or hybridize your plants, and have fun, too. It's easy to save seeds if you follow these directions. I hope you will give seed saving a try!

Hope this helps
Begin again before you end and start the process over again.

BajaMariposa
Newly Registered
Posts: 6
Joined: Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:06 am
Location: Caliifornia

dead heading

Thanks for that information Pete. I have been reading online for the last hour about saving seeds and this is the first time I have seen that about dead heading. I dead head almost daily and have been wondering why some plants I can easily see the seeds and others not so easily. So now I am going to pick out a couple of plants of the ones I cant see the seeds on and stop dead heading. Thanks.

P.S. I'm new here and really enjoying reading.
"A flower touches everyone's heart"
- Georgia O'Keefe

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Roger
Senior Member
Posts: 230
Joined: Mon Mar 19, 2007 10:52 am
Location: North Georgia

I don't know about the pansies or petunias, but I save some marigold seeds each year; this years flowers are my fifth generation from some I bought years ago. It's really easy to save their seed. Just let the flower wither on the plant; as the petals whither and blacken, the ovary will swell and begin to blacken and dry along with the old petals. When the whole flower head is fully dry [a week, or maybe two] you can just snip the stem and save the whole head in a dry place over the winter; I use an old paper sack and keep in it my desk.

Next spring, when you are ready to plant, just pull the dead head apart with your fingers. The seed inside is packed pretty full; you shouldn't need more than four or five flowers to spawn hundreds of new plants, though I usually save a dozen or more from my healthiest plants, and then pick through them to select the best appearing seed to plant.

noqgardener
Full Member
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2008 2:04 pm
Location: Zone 4

Roger wrote:I don't know about the pansies or petunias, but I save some marigold seeds each year; this years flowers are my fifth generation from some I bought years ago. It's really easy to save their seed. Just let the flower wither on the plant; as the petals whither and blacken, the ovary will swell and begin to blacken and dry along with the old petals. When the whole flower head is fully dry [a week, or maybe two] you can just snip the stem and save the whole head in a dry place over the winter; I use an old paper sack and keep in it my desk.

Next spring, when you are ready to plant, just pull the dead head apart with your fingers. The seed inside is packed pretty full; you shouldn't need more than four or five flowers to spawn hundreds of new plants, though I usually save a dozen or more from my healthiest plants, and then pick through them to select the best appearing seed to plant.
yeah the marigolds were pretty easy I want to plant them around trees next year and start some indoors with my kids to give thier grandma's for mothers day (they are 18 months and 3) so it will make an exelent prject for them.

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