How to Extract Seeds from Annual Flowers


Annual flowers are those that bloom and then die in the course of a single season. For many gardeners, this means purchasing new packets of seeds each spring to enjoy the bright blossoms of annual flowers each summer. However, for those who wish to enjoy the same types of flowers from one season to the next, this is an unnecessary expense, as you can easily save the seeds from your annual flowers and enjoy them for multiple seasons.

Step 1

Locate the calyx of the flowers you'd like to save seeds from. For many types of annuals, the calyx is the cup of the flower. It is generally located just beneath the colored portion of the flower and is formed from small leaf-like structures that grow together to form a protective cover for the delicate seeds.

Step 2

Wait for the flower to bloom and then die. After the blossom has withered, the calyx should be filled with seeds. Remove the calyx, place it on a paper towel and cut it open with a small, sharp knife.

Step 3

Spread the seeds across the paper towel in a thin layer and then place the towel in an out-of-the-way location to allow the seeds to dry.

Step 4

Leave the seeds alone for two weeks. Then gently scrape them from the towels into clean envelopes and label the envelopes with the date and contents using a waterproof marker.

Step 5

Place the envelopes inside an airtight container and then store the container inside the refrigerator or freezer for up to one year. Or you can place the envelopes in a cool, dry cupboard for the duration of the winter and use them again for the next spring planting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Do not save seeds from hybrids, as they will not reproduce flowers that are true to type.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper towels
  • Sharp knife
  • Paper envelopes
  • Paper bags
  • Airtight storage container
  • Waterproof marker


  • Planet Natural: How to Save Seeds
  • National Gardening Association: Savvy Seed Saving
Keywords: annual flowers, seed saving, seed harvesting

About this Author

Lisa Parris writes on a wide variety of topics, but focuses on health and wellness. First published in Stone Soup at the age of 7, Parris's work has also appeared in the Journal of Comparative Parasitology and The Monterey County Herald. She holds a Bachelor's Degree in biology and attended medical school for one year before admitting she "didn't have the stomach for it".