How to Save Seeds For Next Planting Season

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Helpful tips for saving your seeds.

Most perennial seeds for gardening are used starting in the autumn season, with most people starting them in the house before transferring to their gardens. You shouldn’t have to buy new seeds each season, however, especially when you find that you can use flowers from the garden you have now to save for next year.

Collecting and saving flower seeds aids in the life cycle of plants that we grow and eliminates the need to buy, saving you money. You also have the benefit of having an eco-friendly garden since you are sustaining life and reusing your seeds and a beautiful one to enjoy.

Seed saving from your annual flowers is easy, and it can be fun to choose which flowers you find the most successful or the prettiest. But, how would someone go about preparing and saving seeds for the next planting season? 

The helpful guide below will show you the best tips and tricks to assist you through preparation and ensure that you collect, save, and re-plant seeds from flowers in the best possible way. 

How to Prepare Seeds For Next Planting Season Using Flowers In Your Garden

When is the Best Time to Save Seeds?

One of the ways to successfully save seeds from your flower garden is by letting the blooms mature entirely and dry while they are still on the plant. When the old flower heads die, they develop seeds on the inside, and you can do this not just with flowers but with vegetables, legumes, and grain plants – they will all produce those seeds when they wither away.

There are multiple benefits besides costs that come from utilizing the seeds from your garden for the next season. Remember that if you cut any flower heads or pull out any of that zucchini from your garden, those plants will not be ideal for seed-saving. If your plant is in peak bloom (or earlier), it would not be pollinated and have any valuable seeds.

Obviously, you will be pulling things and cutting flowers from your garden for use, but if there are any that you don’t see ideally to take out, of they have already started to wither, consider leaving them to dry before removing them. Seeds stop their development if you remove them from the plant, so even the “sort of” dead flowers should stay.

saving seeds

How to Collect Your Seeds for Saving

Once you have decided upon the best flowers to save seed from, again, it needs to fade and dry right on the plant. Continue to let it stay and dry even if you see that the stem is also becoming brown or drying out. Just don’t let it sit too long – once you can easily crumble the heads of the flowers to locate the seeds, you are ready to start saving.

Some other helpful tips when going to save your seeds:

  • Use some pruning snips to remove the heads of the flowers, and don’t just cut off the heads alone – follow the stem until its joining point. If you do it this way, you will help the part of the plant that is still alive to bloom again.
  • There are certain flowers, such as calendula, where you can see the seeds visibly, in which case, you can collect them before you even remove the plant. 
  • When you have your flower pieces cut, open the heads to remove the seeds on a flat, dry and clean surface so that you have the ease of pulling them apart and you won’t lose any seeds as you are saving.
  • When you are collecting, try and locate the more developed seeds to save. Typically the more mature seeds will be bigger, thicker, firmer, sometimes darker than the rest. They are also the closest to the center point of the flower attached to the stem.

Another great tip to know is that depending on how many flower petals are on the flower. It correlates to the number of seeds that you’ll find in the dry head. So, smaller cosmos will only have some seeds, while bigger zinnias can give you dozens of seeds to work with an increased chance of growth. Of course, there are some exceptions, like the sunflower.

How to Save and Store Your Seeds

Now that you have collected all of the seeds, it’s time to figure out how to store and save them for next year. You can begin this by sorting which flower seeds seem a slight damper than others. You don’t want to package up any of those or any that may still be showing some green. Instead, spread those out in a dry area to continue to dry out completely.

Store your seeds in a dry, dark, and protected place, away from any direct sunlight. You can use ziplock bags for easy storage, or if you want to and are able, you can use paper packs that help block the light. Make sure to label them and organize them how you see fit to make them easier for locating when you want to plant next year. 

The Benefits of Seed-Saving

The seeds you save are best used the following year, but it is possible to hold onto them longer than that before use, so don’t discard them if you can’t get them all in the ground next season. Germination rates do decrease with time so if you can, plant more than one seed to help compensate if you have had the seeds for over a year or more.

Seed-saving is a great way to help the environment become more sustainable, and since you can do this with other plants besides flowers, it is safe to bet that it may be the way of the future. In addition, vertical farming and the use of artificial intelligence in farming and agriculture allow farmers to optimize their planting and growing to create less food waste.

Perhaps now you can look at those ugly, wilting brown flowers and smile since you know a great way to help them grow again. 

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