Collecting seeds from a plant seedpod is an easy process that saves money when it comes time for spring planting. While you may be anxious to collect the seedpods, it is important to wait until the pods mature and begin to dry. Flowers that are easy to save include marigolds, morning glories, Echinacea (coneflower) and Rudbeckia (black-eyed Susan). Marigold seed pods have a tubular shape are easy to pinch off one they mature. Morning glories produce clusters of seedpods that hang from the vines and easily pinch off at maturity. The center of the Echinacea and Rudbeckia bloom turns into a seedpod at maturity.
The maturity rate will vary for each flower type. Some flowers, such as marigold and morning glory, bloom continually during growing season and produce seedpods as the flowers fade and dry out. Other flower types, such as Echinacea and Rudbeckia, have one major bloom period with the seedpods forming in early fall once the flowers fade and dry. Immature seeds will not germinate and produce new plants in the spring.
Choose to collect the seedpods on a dry day later in the morning once the morning dew is dry on the seedpod. Take a lunch-sized paper bag for each plant type you plan to collect. Write the name and color of the plant on the outside of the bag to keep the seeds organized for storage. Snip the seedpod off the plant with a garden clipper, open the bag and gently shake the seedpod so the seeds fall into the bag. If you are in a hurry, clip the seedpods and place the entire unit into the bag so you can remove the seeds later in the day. Choose stems that are dry and free from mold to prevent disease and insect contamination. Birds like to eat the Echinacea and Rudbeckia seeds. Watch these plants closely and place a garden netting cover over plants while the seedpods dry if birds become a problem.
Take the labeled seed bags indoors, pour the seeds onto a labeled piece of paper and let them dry for a minimum of one week. This guarantees the seeds are fully dry before storing and prevents molding. Pour the dried seeds back into the paper bag or a labeled business sized envelope. Do not store seeds in plastic bags as this might hold moisture around the seeds and reduce their viability. Fold the bag or envelope closed and place them in a cool, dry and dark place for winter storage. A desk drawer or plastic container with lid is a good storage option for the seeds. You may want to place a small packed of silica gel inside the container to insure the seeds stay dry during the winter months.
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