How to Extract Seeds From a Flower

Overview

Nearly all annual and some perennial flowers produce viable seeds. Extracting and saving flower seeds allows you to replant and expand your garden without purchasing new plants or seeds. Seeds are produced on flowers after the blossoms have wilted and dropped off. Flowers either produce a seed pod or a seed cluster. Extracting and storing the seeds correctly ensures they will remain viable until you are ready to plant them.

Step 1

Check the flowers once the blooms begin wilting and the petals start to drop. Locate the seeds, which are produced directly behind where the petals were located. Generally the remaining flower head swells with the seeds inside, forming a round or elongated pod.

Step 2

Pick the flowers once the seed head has formed and begun to dry. Drying seed heads usually turn yellow, brown or black.

Step 3

Lay the seed heads in a shallow bowl and place them in a warm, dry room. Leave the seed heads to dry for one to two weeks, or until they begin to crack open.

Step 4

Hold the seed head over the bowl and split it open, shaking the seeds out and into the bowl. If seeds formed in a cluster instead of a pod, pull the cluster through your fingers, stripping the seeds from the stem.

Step 5

Label an envelope or jar with the flower variety and year harvested. Place the seeds inside and seal it closed. Store in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Store seeds where they will not be subjected to any moisture. Moist conditions lead to seed rot and damage. Save seeds only from non-hybrid flower varieties. Hybrids rarely produce true seed.

Things You'll Need

  • Bowl
  • Envelope or jar
  • Marker

References

  • South Dakota State University Extension: Saving Seed For Next Year
Keywords: extracting flower seeds, seed saving, harvesting seed stock

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.