How Do I Extract Seeds From a Flower?

Overview

Collecting seeds from flowers in your garden is an inexpensive way to replenish your seed stock for the next garden season. Flower seeds are usually produced in one of two ways: either the flower produces a pod that houses the seeds or the seeds form directly beneath petals to form a seed head. Both annuals and perennials produce seeds, however, when saving seeds, it is best to choose non-hybrid plants. This is the case because hybrid varieties often produce inferior seeds not true to the parent plant. Extracting and preserving flower seeds is a simple process that ensures you will have your favorite flower seeds waiting for you year after year.

Step 1

Look for mature seeds that are viable for harvest after flowers begin to wither and the petals are falling off. Look for pods or small clusters of seeds directly beneath the flower head. Plants with tall stalks or trailing vines carrying many flowers may produce seeds along the entire length of the stalk or vine.

Step 2

Cut a square of cheesecloth to a size large enough to wrap around the pods. Clip the cheesecloth in place with a paper clip. Seed pods often burst open once fully mature, causing the loss of the seeds if they aren't bagged.

Step 3

Pick stems with seed clusters attached once they begin to feel dry. Tie a length of string around the stems and hang them upside down in a warm, dry room for two weeks to finish maturing and drying.

Step 4

Pick the pods, leaving the cheesecloth attached, once the pods burst or are dry to the touch. Split open any closed pods and remove the seeds. Set the seeds in a warm, dry room for two weeks.

Step 5

Label a paper bag with the plant variety and the year collected. Place the seeds in the bag and fold the top over to seal. Store in a cool, dry place until you're ready to plant them.

Tips and Warnings

  • Store seeds out of reach of mice and other pests that will eat them.

Things You'll Need

  • Cheesecloth
  • Paper clip
  • String
  • Paper bag

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: Seed Collecting and Storing
  • Oregon State University Extension: Collecting and Storing Seeds from Your Garden
Keywords: extract flower seeds, harvest flower seeds, propagate flowers

About this Author

Jenny Harrington is a freelance writer of more than five years' experience. Her work has appeared in "Dollar Stretcher" and various blogs. Previously, she owned her own business for four years, selling handmade items online, wholesale and via the crafts fair circuit. Her specialties are small business, crafting, decorating and gardening.