How to Collect Seeds From Plants

Dried flower seeds. image by H.B. Dean


Marigolds, cosmos and hyacinth bean pod vines are beautiful and fragrant annuals that grow easily from seeds. Some annuals are self-seeding, while others must have their seeds harvested and saved for the next season. Collecting and storing seeds from flowers is not a difficult process, and allows you to easily share your favorite flowers with family and friends.

Step 1

Determine where the seeds are located on the plant. Some seeds come from the spent flower head, like cosmos or marigolds. Other flowers, like the hyacinth bean pod vine, produce seeds within the pods.

Step 2

Allow the seed pod to ripen on the plant, whether it is from the faded flower or a pod. For some flowers, this ripening process looks like a swollen, dried pod. For others, it is a faded, dried flower.

Step 3

Pick the dried seed pod or blossom off the plant. You can also use a small pair of scissors to snip the flower seeds, especially for plants whose pods might cling to your hand, like forget-me-nots. Place the dried pods in a container or paper towel while you're collecting them to prevent spreading seeds to other parts of your garden.

Step 4

Open the seed pods over a paper towel or napkin. Separate the seeds from the dried flower pulp. If the seeds are damp from dew or recent rain, leave them on the paper towel to dry before storing them. According to the Seed Site, storing damp seeds can cause them to rot.

Step 5

Write the name of the flower on a plain paper envelope. If you are collecting seeds from flowers of different colors, write the color on the envelope as well. Place the seeds in the envelop and seal it or close it with a paper clip.

Step 6

Place the seed envelopes in a natural fiber container, such as wicker or cardboard. Under the right conditions, plastic or metal containers can build up condensation that will rot the seeds. Store the container in a cool, dry, dark spot.

Tips and Warnings

  • Some flower seeds are toxic. Keep all seeds out of the reach of children and pets.

Things You'll Need

  • Small scissors
  • Paper towels or napkin
  • Mesh strainer (optional)
  • Paper envelopes
  • Paper clips (optional)


  • Burpee Complete Gardener; Barbara W. Ellis, Editor; 1995

Who Can Help

  • The Seed Site: Harvesting Seeds
Keywords: annual flower seeds, collecting seeds, storing seeds

About this Author

After attending Hardin Simmons University, Kay Dean finished her formal education with the Institute of Children's Literature. Since 1995, Dean has written for such publications as "PB&J," Disney’s "Family Fun," "ParentLife," "Living With Teenagers" and Thomas Nelson’s NY Times bestselling "Resolve." An avid gardener for 25 years, her experience includes organic food gardening, ornamental plants, shrubs and trees, with a special love for roses.

Photo by: H.B. Dean