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How to Gather Seeds From Rudbeckia Plants

Commonly referred to as black-eyed-Susan, rudbeckia is a daisy-like flower with golden yellow petals and a dark center that grows wild along roadsides and in ditches across North America. There are 25 species of rudbeckia, ranging in size from 1 foot to 3 feet in height and showing marked variations in petal color from pale yellow to gold. Saving seed from rudbeckia preserves the species and provides ample supplies of seeds for growing rudbeckia in the garden.

Select healthy, robust plants with the characteristics you prefer. Look for sturdy stems, well-formed blooms and rich colors. Consider the blooming time, as this characteristic is likely to be passed in the seed.

Allow the flower to fade and petals to drop. The dark center will be plump and erect, deepening in color as it matures. Watch for a brown stem to indicate that seeds are ripe.

Pick the heads and spread them out on a newspaper or on paper towels. Place in a well-ventilated area to dry completely for four to five days.

Hold the seed head over an open bag and rub with your fingers to loosen the seeds. Rudbeckia seeds are deep brown or black and appear like small splinters. Seeds will settle to the bottom of the bag.

Remove the chaff from the seeds by hand and place seeds in an airtight food storage bag or seed packet. Label the bag with a permanent marker and store the seeds in a cool dark area until planting time in spring.

Seeds From The Rudbeckia Purpurea

Cut the flowers from the plants while they are blooming with a pair of hand clippers or scissors and drop them in a paper bag or box. Wear thick garden gloves and pull off all the petals. Then, snip the stems so just the seed heads remain. Place the seed heads in a paper bag or cardboard box and set in a dry area. Check on the seed heads daily. When they are partially dry and the seeds are stiff to the touch, it's time to harvest the seeds. ( You can also pull them out or use a pair of tweezers.


Seed from hybrid rudbeckia purchased through a nursery will not produce true to form and may not germinate well. You may produce some interesting varieties with hybrid seed.

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