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Home arrow The Daily Dirt arrow Friday Five: Collecting Flower Seeds
Friday Five: Collecting Flower Seeds Print E-mail
Written by Heleigh Bostwick    Friday, 05 August 2016
Seed collecting

It goes without saying of course that to collect seeds you need to let flowers mature and go through the full life cycle. In other words if you prune or deadhead flowers you'll lose out.

1. Decide what to collect
When it comes to seed collecting, native plants are your best bet, as they will stay true to their genetics. Cultivars or hybrids bred for specific colors often produce offspring that are a different color than the parent. Also keep in mind that some plants have tiny seeds that are difficult to collect or that do not propagate from seed easily.

2. Collecting the seeds
Carry along a small paper bag (or several if you're planning on collecting from several plants), a marking pen, and a sharp pair of small scissors. If you're collecting more than a few bags of seeds, you might want to bring along something to carry them in like a garden trug. Also, make sure you collect on a sunny day, preferably during mid-day. Do not collect damp or wet seed heads or pods.

3. Drying seed heads and removing the seeds
Not all of the seed heads or pods containing seeds will be dry at the same time and that's all right--as long as they're mature. Simply allow the not quite so dry ones to air dry. After the seed heads and pods have dried properly, shake them in the paper bag to remove the actual seeds. You may need to cut the pods open with the sharp pair of small scissors. Empty the bag onto a large sheet of paper. It will probably be necessary to remove some of the bits extraneous to the seeds and a pair of tweezers and a tea strainer are ideal for this task.

4. Packaging
Once the seeds are cleaned up, let them air dry for several more days to make sure they are completely dry. Seeds will become moldy or rot if stored away while still damp. When the seeds are dry, transfer them to smaller seed packet envelopes. Be sure to label the envelope.

5. Storing
Place seeds in a jar with a tight lid or a cookie tin and store in a cool dry place away from sunlight such as the refrigerator.