How to Obtain & Collect Marigold Seeds


Marigolds are one of the easiest flowers to grow from seed, and one of the most prolific seed producers. Spent flower heads become brown seedpods, filled with long, black, tufted seeds. Two to three pods will often contain enough seed for a 3-foot-by-10-foot bed of naturalized blooms. Collect the pods before they reopen, or they will be consumed by goldfinches or blown away by the wind.

Step 1

Look through the blooms in your marigold bed for flowers that have dropped their petals and begun to close. Watch these until they no longer have any color remaining at their tips. If you do not have your own marigolds, ask other gardeners in your neighborhood if they will trade seeds, seedlings or cuttings of other plants for some of their marigold seeds, seedlings or plants.

Step 2

Pluck the swollen seed pods one or two days after they turn brown. Take only those pods that break away with a touch. Leave any pods that do not break away on the plant for another day or two.

Step 3

Pop the pods open by pressing them between your thumb and forefinger to reveal the long, black seeds.

Step 4

Shake the seeds onto a paper towel. Sort out any malformed or small seeds. Keep only the longest, shiniest, blackest seeds, as these will germinate sooner.

Step 5

Store the seeds from three to five pods in envelopes in a cool, dry place. Each envelope will have enough seed to sow a 3-foot-by-20-foot flower bed if all the seeds germinate.

Tips and Warnings

  • Over-watering marigolds attracts slugs and snails. These and other pests can reduce seed production. Do not collect seed from plants that show any sign of disease. Plants with Southern bacterial wilt (Pseudomonus solanacearium) and bacterial leaf spot (Pseudomonas syringae var. tagetes) should be destroyed, advises Auburn University horticulturalist Dr. J. Raymond Kessler Jr.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Small envelopes


  • Old Farmer's Almanac: How to Plant, Grow and Care for Marigolds
  • Auburn University Department of Agriculture: Marigold Commercial Greenhouse Production
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About this Author

Jane Smith received her Bachelor of Science in education from Kent State University in 1995. She provided educational supports for 11 years, served people with multiple challenges for 26 years, rescued animals for five years, designed and repaired household items for 31 years and is currently an apprentice metalworker. Her e-book, "Giving Him the Blues," was published in March 2008.