Saving your annual & perennial flower seeds for replanting is not only rewarding, it's economical as well. Plants can get extremely expensive, as I learned quickly moving into a new house this past spring. After our very expensive spring trips to the local nursery, I'm making it a point to save all the seeds I can for replanting. While not all seeds will be suitable to save, knowing which ones are the best and how to keep them palatable for next year's planting can help you save money and enjoy your favorite flowers for as long as you like.
Selecting Seeds to Save:
If you are really thinking about replanting, you should really research what you plant in the first place. Not all flowers produce seeds that can be saved for replanting. For example, hybrid plants will not grow to have the qualities of their parent plant, but may show stronger qualities of their ancestors. On the other hand, flowers from self-pollinated plants like zinnia, sweet pea, cone flower, marigold, etc…, and older variety heirloom plants, will produce seeds you can replant and enjoy for years to come.
Choosing the best seeds to save isn't hard, you must simply choose seeds from your strongest, healthiest plants and those with the most desirable blooms in terms of color, size, shape and fragrance. Replanting these seeds will ensure you get what you want out of the plantings, and from my experience they even get better over the "generations".
Keep in mind, to collect seeds for replanting you have to actually let your plants go to seed. So if you "deadhead" your plants through the summer you must stop at some point so that the plant can produce seeds.
Saving and Storing Your Flower Seeds
Once you've decided to save seeds from your favorite flowers…
- Stop "deadheading" at some point so that the plants can produce seeds.
- Watch for seed pods to mature late in the season, and let them dry naturally on the plant as long as possible. Don't wait too long though for the birds will feast!!
- Place a paper bag over the seed pod to catch the seeds as they fall, or remove the entire pod and place it in the bag to finish drying and release the seeds.
- Store flower seeds in a paper envelope labeled with the type of flower and other information you will need to remember.
- Place the seed envelope in a dry, airtight container, and keep it in a cool, dry place. I like to throw an image of the actual plant in the same container with the seed envelope just so I remember what it looks like.
The seeds you save should be used the next season to ensure the best germination, and if you can’t use them yourself they make fantastic gifts.
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