National Gardening Association

Provided By: National Gardening Association


Materials Needed

  • plant markers
  • paper bags
  • rubber bands
  • envelopes
  • labels

Step 1: Select the Best Plants

There's always some variability in a planting of the same variety -- some plants will have stronger stems or a more pleasing color or fragrance. Use plant markers to help you remember which seeds to save, since the flowers will have faded by the time you harvest the seeds.

Step 2: Observe Seed Formation

Most flower seeds are borne in pods or capsules. The ideal time for gathering seeds varies from crop to crop, but in general you want to let the seeds dry on the plant as long as possible. Observe plants frequently and watch as seeds develop and ripen.

Step 3: Use Paper Bags to Collect Seeds

Shake the seed head over a paper bag to collect the seeds, or snip off the entire dried seed head and drop it into a labeled paper bag.

Step 4: Separate Seeds and Chaff

Some seeds fall freely from the seed heads or pods; others need to be rubbed to loosen them. Discard nonseed material.

Step 5: Store Seeds in a Tightly Sealed Container

Good choices for seed containers include small glass jars (such as baby food jars) or film canisters. Keep them in a cool place -- in the refrigerator if there's room. You can store several different types of seeds in separate, labeled envelopes in the same jar. Include plant details and cultural information on the storage jars and envelopes, including plant name and variety, planting depth and sun/shade preferences.

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