Updated: Dec 15, 2020
Do you have annual or biennial flowers that you would really like to grow again next year? Did you know you can harvest the seeds? This will save you money and seed harvesting provides an opportunity to preserve your beautiful garden flowers to replant next year or share with friends and family. Keep reading to learn how. I promise, it is super easy!
I am so in love with hollyhocks, which are a biennial and need to be replanted every 2 years. So I like to collect the seeds when they are done blooming so I can enjoy them year after year.
1) Knowing when to harvest garden seeds-
This is the first step to saving plants for future use. Once flowers begin to fade at the close of the season, most flower seeds are ripe for picking. Seed harvesting should be done on a dry, sunny day. Once seedpods have changed from green to brown and can be easily split, you can begin collecting flower seeds. Many people choose to gather seeds while deadheading plants in the garden. This works really well and this is how I usually end up doing it.
This picture shows my hollyhock garden bed after its beauty has began to fade. The flowers, as you can see are dried out and they need to be cut down before they spread their seeds everywhere! Look for the dried out flowers that you can see the seed pods starting to open up.
2) How to Collect Flower Seeds-
Always harvest seeds from your best performing plants. Use clean and sharp garden scissors to cut the pods or seed heads from the plant and place them into a paper collection bag or container. Label all of your bags so that you do not forget which seeds are which. It is important to use only paper bags or envelopes so the seeds can continue to dry out. Seeds can spoil in a plastic bag as it will trap in the moisture. Once you have collected your seeds, you can spread them out on a screen or a piece of newspaper and dry them at room temperature for a week if they don't seem all the way dry.
These photos will give you an idea of what the dried out seed pods look like. I like to use these little blue containers to collect them in. I usually add a flower to it (if there is still some blooming) so I can keep them all straight and label them correctly. Poppies have a little different seed pod that have a little cap on top that you peel off and dump the tiny seeds out. I usually put them on a piece of white paper and then fold it up so I don't lose them all.
3) How to Store Flower Seeds
So now that your seeds have been harvested, it’s time figure out how to store flower seeds to ensure they will be at their optimal best for planting next season. Label all bags or envelopes accordingly. Store seeds in a cool and dark spot for the winter. A temperature around 40 F is best. But often mine get dropped into my mud room gardening drawer and they do just fine. Do not crush or damage seeds or allow seeds to freeze or overheat while in storage. Keep seeds dry at all times.
I like to store seeds in paper bags and I usually place the bags in a drawer in my mud room. It stays pretty cool in that room and dark in the drawer all winter and they seem to do great! The flowers are just pinned on to show you what they are and to make me happy.
So that is all for now. Summer has been so busy but so enjoyable at the same time. Much time spent with family and friends and lots of lazy days in the water. Summer is my favorite. Actually I think I say that for every season when we are in them. But I love the change of season. It seems like a fresh start every time. And with fall comes the opening of our store so I am excited for fall! By the way, things are starting to happen on the store! See the store progress page for pictures! It is starting to feel real!
Happy Seed Harvesting!