How to Save Perennial Seeds

Overview

Saving perennial seeds from your favorite plants is a way to expand your plant collection. Not only can you choose which plants to use for seed collection, but you may also save money in the process. Saving and sowing perennial seeds require minimal equipment and seeds are less expensive than purchasing transplants, according to Anne Petelo, Master Gardener for the Colorado State University extension service. Starting plants the following season from seeds you've saved provides you with plants for new locations in your landscape.

Flowers

Step 1

Harvest perennial flower heads when the seeds are fully developed in the interior of the flower.

Step 2

Cut the stalk of the flower with the scissors, leaving approximately 6 to 8 inches of the flower stalk on the plant.

Step 3

Place the head of the flower inside a paper sack. Tie the sack around the stalk with a wire tie.

Step 4

Hang the stalk and paper sack assembly in a dry location that has plenty of air ventilation. The seeds will fall into the bottom of the paper sack as the flower head dries.

Step 5

Collect the seeds from the paper sack. Store them in the glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. Mark the name of the flower and the date of collection on the container with a black marker.

Step 6

Stow the jar and seeds in a low humidity area at 40 degrees F. A refrigerator will work as a seed storage area.

Fruit

Step 1

Collect only the ripest, best fruit from the perennial plant.

Step 2

Remove the seeds from the interior pulp of the fruit body.

Step 3

Place the seeds and pulp inside a glass jar. Fill the jar with water. Close the lid. Allow the jar to set for one day.

Step 4

Rinse jar with the pulp and seeds to remove pulp. Fill jar with water. Remove any seeds that are floating. Keep all seeds that are sunk to the bottom of the jar.

Step 5

Pour the sunken seeds and water into a fine mesh wire strainer. Rinse well with water. Set seeds on a paper sack. Allow seeds to thoroughly dry. Place dried seeds in a sealed glass jar, identify with black marker and stow in refrigerator.

Things You'll Need

  • Scissors
  • Paper sacks
  • Wire ties
  • Glass jar with tight-fitting lid
  • Black marker
  • Water
  • Wire mesh strainer (mesh smaller than seeds)

References

  • Colorado State University: Perennials
  • Ohio State University: Plant Propagation
Keywords: save seeds, perennial plants, propagate seeds

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.