Collecting and storing seeds from a lilac plant is a great way to improve your garden from year to year. You are able to handpick seeds from the best blooms to ensure a stronger and more beautiful plant in the seasons to come. Collect seeds from your lilac shrub by pulling seeds from the dried pods after the flowers have bloomed and dried. The seeds can then be stored until you are ready to germinate them later in the year.
Watch your lilac as it blooms in spring. Take note of the largest, most beautiful and most resilient blooms on the shrubs. Make a top 5 list for your blooms and record where they are on the tree.
Wait for the blooms to begin dying and drying out on the shrub. This should happen in mid to late spring. Reach into the dead flowers and pull the seeds from the seed pod. While you should wait for the flower to start dying before pulling seeds, keep in mind that the longer the seeds stay in the pod, the more likely they will be eaten by birds. Never harvest lilac seeds that have fallen to the ground.
Pull as many seeds from your desirable blooms as possible to increase your chances of successful and healthy germination.
Lay the lilac seeds out on a windowsill and allow them to slowly and naturally dry out. Some gardeners put their seeds in the oven to dry them faster. However, doing this can kill any chance that the seed will germinate in the future.
Test the dryness of your seeds by attempting to bend one. If it cracks in half, the seeds are dry enough. If the seed bends under pressure, there is still too much moisture contained in it.
Store the seeds in a glass jar or plastic bag. Label the jar with the type of seed and the date they entered the jar. Store the jar in the freezer for two days to kill any remaining pests among the seeds. After two days, move the seeds to the refrigerator until you are ready to germinate them.
Things You Will Need
- Glass jar or plastic bag
- Seeds that rupture in the freezer or mold in the refrigerator were not adequately dried.
- Be sure that your seeds stay as dry as possible at all times during storage. Extreme temperature change can create condensation that might ruin the seeds. Place the seeds in the refrigerator to stay and do not touch them until you are ready to germinate them.
- Growing lilac from seed is a long journey. Even if the shrub properly establishes itself, it can take three to four years before blooms appear. It is best to grow lilac from a cutting or to buy an existing plant from your garden center.
- Do not harvest seeds from a hybrid variety of lilac. The seeds will either be sterile or they will not retain the characteristics of the plant they came from.