Early Americans saved their own flower seeds as a way to reduce the cost of growing flower gardens and to preserve the flowers they had. By sharing seeds, each home could grow an abundance of flowers without sacrificing the money they needed for household necessities. You may not need to save seeds for financial reasons, but saving seeds from your favorite flowers often brings the satisfaction of knowing you don't need to rely on anyone else for your gardening needs.
Select strong healthy plants that exhibit the characteristics you wish to preserve. Plants with large brightly colored blooms are likely to pass this trait on in the seed. Bear in mind that hybrid flowers have been bred by crossing two or more varieties of flowers to produce the desired traits of the new flower. Seed may be sterile and even if it germinates, it may produce flowers that are different from the original plant.
Choose several blooms for seed production and allow them to go to seed on the vine. As flowers mature and drop petals, seedpods form and ripen over a period of days or weeks. Most dry from the bottom of the stem upward, dropping leaves as they mature.
Cut the stalks once most seeds have matured and hang them to dry in a cool well-ventilated area. Flowers that produce pods, like violets, lupine and poppies, must be watched closely. Once pods mature, the pod splits, scattering seeds. Harvest them before the pods open or place a paper bag over the stalk. Secure it with twine or elastic to catch any spilling seeds.
Remove the seeds from seed pods by breaking them open with your hands. Most will crack easily. Rub the dried flower heads with your hands to remove the petals and seeds.
Place seeds on a layer of newspaper or paper towel and allow them to dry completely if any moisture remains. Mature seeds are brown or black. White or green seeds have not matured and even if dried, will not germinate.
Separate the seeds from dried petals, leaves and plant debris and store them in an airtight container. Place it in a cool dark area for winter storage.