How to Save Annual Flower Seeds

Overview

Although the tiny envelopes of seeds from the garden center are convenient, they're also expensive. If you want to save a few dollars, consider saving seeds from existing plants. It's an interesting hobby, and once you successfully grow plants from seeds that you gathered the previous year, you'll be hooked. Although all plants develop seeds that can be saved, annual flower seeds from plants that grow for only one year are the easiest.

Step 1

Select a few healthy blooms and tie a colorful piece of string or yarn around the stem to remind you so the bloom won't accidentally end up in a flower arrangement .

Step 2

Keep a close eye on the selected blooms. When the blooms begin to fade and turn brown, you'll know that flower seeds are beginning to form. When the blooms are completely dead, it's probably time to harvest the seeds. Shake the bloom; if it rattles the seeds are ready.

Step 3

Hold the bloom over a paper bag and shake the seeds into the bag. If the seeds aren't quite ready to come out, put the entire bloom in the bag.

Step 4

Put the paper bag in a dark, cool place and leave them for about a week, shaking the bag gently every day. If the seeds are hard and you can't smash them with your finger, they are ready to store. If they aren't completely dry, leave them for a few more days.

Step 5

Spread the seeds out on a cookie sheet and pick out any large bits of stems, seed pods or petals, but don't worry about any small bits. Pour the seeds into a white envelope and put the envelope in a cool, dry place until spring. Label the envelope so you'll know the type and color of the plant.

Things You'll Need

  • String or yarn
  • Paper bag
  • Cookie sheet
  • White envelope

References

  • South Dakota Extension Fact Sheet: Saving Seed for Next Year
  • Kidsgardening.com: Finding, Gathering, Saving Seeds
  • Weekend Gardener: Save Summer Annual Flower Seeds
Keywords: annual flower seeds, flower seeds, store seeds

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.