Appalachia

You Can Save Your Flower Seeds

how to save flower seeds
One day this week I came by to see Granny after work. She was waist high in her zinna patch, cutting the seed heads off for next summer’s garden.

When I was growing up she taught me to gather all sorts of flower seed during the last days of summer so that we’d have them on hand for the following year’s flowers. While I helped her collect the seeds I’d think we were storing up pretty flowers for the cold winter days-even if they were only in our minds.

I’ve read detailed instructions for seed saving in gardening books, but I use the simple method Granny did. For most of the flowers I look for dried blossoms to cut off and then pull them apart to reveal the seeds. This method works well with Marigolds, Zinnias, Purple Coneflowers, Black Eyed Susans, and Cosmos.

Once I have the seeds pulled from the seed pods, I let them dry a few days in a sunny window and then put them in paper or plastic bag till next spring.

 

saving impatient and nasturtium seeds

I also save Nasturtium seeds. I love their huge flowing leaves and bright flowers. They’re even edible-you can’t beat that. To find their seeds just look down through the vining leaves. Sometimes two seeds are together like in the photo. I take the seeds indoors and lay them on a piece of paper or paper towel and let them dry until they’re shriveled and brown looking then I put them in an old envelope or bag and save them till spring.

Saving seeds from Impatients is fun. Look for seedpods that are swelled. Usually as soon as you touch them they POP-children love to help with this one. Once the pod pops open it curls in upon itself. You can discard the green portion and save the tiny seeds. Let them air dry on a piece of paper and store till spring.

Sometimes I take the easy lazy way of saving seeds. I cut the entire dried flower, stem and all, then lay it where I want it to grow next year. In most cases it works.

Back in the days when the girls used my flowers in their mud pie making enterprise I ended up with flowers in some strange places, but I say a flower is nice no matter where it grows.

Blind Pig readers save their flower seed too. Here’s a few comments from the archives.

Pamela Moore: Tipper, I dry the cosmos flowers in the microwave. Lay between paper towels and run on high in ten second intervals until crispy dry.

Ethel: I too use the envelope method of seed saving. Every year I save some seeds from the prettier colored hollyhocks, the moonflowers and some Trail of Tears beans that a native american woman gave me about five years ago. I haven’t found it necessary to save seeds from coneflowers or black-eyed susans; even with the gold finches gobbling up their seeds each fall, I still end up pulling hundreds of unwanted starts from these flowers every spring!

Shirla: Mom always saved her seeds in a baby food jar and then froze them till the next year. I save seeds from my Star Of Bethlehem and Zinnias. The Angel Trumpet seeds are in a big pod with stickers that are hard to deal with. I pull the pods and bury them in the same area to avoid having acres of them the next year.

—————

Tipper

 

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9 Comments

  • Reply
    Tamela
    September 28, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    I’m a day late and a dollar short but it is so cool that two Lories won the JCCFS festival tickets. Maybe they will run into each other – – each could wear a “pig button” for identification purposes and take a picture together to run in your blog . . . wouldn’t that be fun~!
    (Wish I had a sample of seeds from each flower mentioned in this day’s blog!)

  • Reply
    Tipper
    September 27, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    B.Ruth-Thank you for all the great comments! No we’re not getting any rain from Maria. Hot today but supposed to feel more like fall by the weekend!

  • Reply
    Ken
    September 27, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    Tipper,
    My e-mail of the Blind Pig just now come in at 4:10. Earlier I commented by looking on “Recent Posts”, at about 11:30 this morning. When it’s in the Spam section, I can Move to my e-mails, but I recon Frontier fixed it this time. …Ken

  • Reply
    Ken
    September 27, 2017 at 11:34 am

    Tipper,
    Congratulations to the two Lori’s on winning the tickets to the JCCFS Festival. I hope to be there on the 8th., especially to see Chitter and Chatter and the Gang.
    I don’t know much about saving flower seeds for the next year, but I do love to see them. The squirrels musta been awfully hungry this year cause they ate every Pear on the tree. They were loaded earlier when they were about the size of a half dollar and I could just taste ’em in October. But I got Walnuts galore! I was working on some Fish Knives the other day when I heard a loud thump on my building. When the wind blows, they can’t hang on any longer. Come on Cool weather! …Ken

  • Reply
    eva m. wike
    September 27, 2017 at 11:31 am

    Hey Tipper: I am seriously considering attend the MULTI-CLASS reunion at Hayesville. If it is the same day as when your girls are performing – I will be ON CLOUD NINE!
    EW

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    September 27, 2017 at 9:54 am

    Tipper,
    I have saved all the ones you mentioned through out the years…Now I save Tiger Lily seeds, although one doesn’t need too as once they are established they are there until mowed down and the root system plucked out of the ground…I love to save Toad Lily seeds, too. I have saved Iris seed pods and Day Lily seed pods….plant in a different location for these take three years to bloom and never come true since mine mix with all the other colors…I save Cardinal Flowers and Hummingbird Vine too…sometimes these self seed but better half mows them over before they can be seen well. Pansies and Jonny Jump-ups, too.. I have saved petunia seeds, the older variety…
    Here is something I did one year in our raised beds…I just couldn’t wait and bought four greenhouse grown marigold plants in full bloom and planted in the beds…Soon as you know, within a day or so of withered blooms, seeds were already made….Not quite dry, I plucked them off…Dead heading so to speak….I rubbed them between my fingers and thumb all the way between the very spaced out new marigolds…With the warm spring rain and sun within a week we had more thick marigold seedlings than one could imagine. The raised bed border grew and soon caught up with the four original plants….so I got some beautiful plants the same year for $1.00 which the four pact cost!
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS….are you ‘all getting rain from Maria?

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    September 27, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Tipper–For years I’ve taken a much lazier but effective way for “saving” my zinnia seed. I wait until the first heavy frost and then mow the whole zinnia patch with a lawn mower. Afterwards I till it up and that’s it. Thee zinnias come back in huge numbers each spring. Then I run a push plow through them creating rough rows and also offering a way of partially dealing with competing weeds as spring gives way to summer.
    I do have one question for you (or Granny). A couple of weeks back you showed a photo of some of her zinnias and what struck me immediately was that the leaves didn’t show any splotches or signs of blight. Come late summer mine always do although it doesn’t seem to affect the blooming or robustness of the plants. What’s her secret.
    I had three zinnia plants this year that were among the biggest and most beautiful volunteers I’ve ever seen–huge, multi-petal pink blooms perhaps twice the size of a golf ball. If you’d like I’ll cut a few dry blooms and bring them to Kentucky for you to take home to Granny.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    wanda Devers
    September 27, 2017 at 9:16 am

    I’ve got to get out and do this! Zinnias were especially pretty this year. We’ve had a lot of rain and that has helped.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    September 27, 2017 at 8:29 am

    Tip, I just love zinnias, but I’ve never been able to grow them. I’ve never had luck with any flowers, not even impatients, and everyone seems to be able to grow them. Next summer I’m going to try again. Over the winter I’ll figure out a place for some zinnias and try it again.
    Every time I go to Granny’s I stand outside before I go in and enjoy the zinnias she has growing.
    Congratulations to Lori and Lori! The Fall festival is wonderful, so many beautiful arts and crafts and then there is the music in the festival barn. It’s always a great day!

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