Gardening Tips: Saving Flower Seeds

Today I want to share about saving seeds from flowers to grow in next year’s garden. I want to show what California poppy, wave petunia, dwarf sweet pea, and Lavatera seeds look like and how easy it is to collect these seeds. Saving seeds is not only easy, it is rewarding and a great way to save money!

Once you’ve collected your seeds you’ll need clean jars or envelopes to put your seeds in, a way to label them, and of course the seeds themselves. I find it helpful to have a piece of plain white paper(computer or printer paper) to collect the seeds on as it makes it easier to see the seeds, and then you can also use the paper as a funnel to pour the seeds into the containers.

When gathering seeds, it is important to know about cross pollination and to know whether you’ll be guaranteed to get the same flower next year and to know what kind of flower variety you have.

Hybrid plants are plants that have been bred to keep specific traits from other varieties to create a new variety. So if you gather seeds from a hybrid plant, you may not actually get the specific variety of hybrid plant again. You might get a parent plant or some strange mix. You’re not guaranteed to get the exact same plant again.

Open pollinated varieties are plants that when you gather seeds from them, you get the same plant again from year to year. So when you buy your seeds, you want to look for the open pollinated varieties. A couple of things to know though. The open pollinated varieties will cross pollinate which means the seeds from one variety can be affected by pollen from a nearby plant.

Another thing to remember is that if you have 2 types of open pollinated seeds of the same plant category planted close to each other they can cross pollinate with one another and you might get some random mix of what you grew this year. So for example, if I planted three varieties of Petunias close to each other, when I gather seeds from them I may get a mixed bag of results. Just something to keep in mind.

California Poppies:

This is the pod that has formed after a California poppy has finished flowering. In this photo, the pod is too green, the seeds won’t be ready yet.
When the pod is brown and dried out looking, and and you’re able to pick it off easily from the stem then it’s ready. When the pod is split open, you’ll see numerous seeds inside. Scrape them off onto paper or a container.

Wave Petunia

After the flower is finished and dries up it gives way to a seed pod. The seed pod from a wave petunia looks like this one that the pen is pointing at. This one is ready because you can see that it’s brown, dry and already opening to let out it’s seeds.
You simply shake the seeds out of the pod to collect them.

Sweet Pea

Lavatera

The seed pods of the Lavatera are large and easy to spot. They start out green and then turn brown as they dry out. As you can see on this plant there are both green and brown seed pods.
The seeds come out very easily when ready. I just turned he seed pod upside down and the seeds fell out into my hand. I didn’t even need to shake the pod.

After you’ve gathered your seeds, they’re ready to be put in labelled envelopes or jars and kept in a cool dry place over the winter.

California Poppies
White wave petunias

Dwarf sweet peas
Lavatera

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Thanks so much for stopping by!

Warmly,

Rachel

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