Seed saving is the process of collecting and storing seeds from plants to be used for growing new plants. The benefits of this are that you get a greater variety of flowers, you can save money on buying new seeds, and it helps reduce the environmental impact. Seed saving has many benefits for flowers, including:
- Aesthetic appeal: There is a wide variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of flowers that can be grown from seed.
- Economical: Saving seeds can save money on buying new plants each year.
- Environmentally friendly: Seeds are usually grown without pesticides or herbicides.
- Variety: With new varieties being introduced every year, seed saving provides a way to swap seeds with your friends to try out new kinds of flowers without having to buy them first.
Saving Zinnia Seeds
Zinnias are planted for their showy colors and their long-lasting blooms. Zinnia plants are easy to grow, so why wouldn’t you want them to save their seeds so you can grow them next year.
Before you start the process of saving your seeds you need to make sure the plants are opened-pollinated as opposed to a hybrid. While hybrid varieties can be very beautiful, there is no assurance the saved seeds will be true to the parent plant. If your zinnias have double flowers, and special colorings, you might not be happy with the offspring of these flowers.
Here are some examples of open-pollinated zinnia varieties:
- California Giant
- Giant Cactus
- Queeny Series
- State Fair
- Takii’s Choice
- Thumbelina Dwarf
- Zinnia Plants
- A container or basket to harvest the flowers
- A screen that you will use for drying
- Paper towels
- Paper plates
- Pruners or sheers
- A glass jar or container with a sturdy lid
Make sure the flowers you are going to harvest are healthy. Something like powdery mildew can be transferred to the seed. Each flower needs to be allowed to open and remain on the plant. It is necessary to allow the flower head to dry completely on the plant. What this means is the bloom needs to turn brown. The flower will feel crunchy when you squeeze it with your fingers. Be sure to not water the plants before harvesting them or the seed head will take longer to dry. Once this has happened you can take the seed pod off the plant. If your zinnia seeds are not allowed to completely mature, they may not be viable or have problems germinating. If you are harvesting different varieties make sure you keep them separate and label them unless you are creating a mix.
Take your paper towels and spread them over a clean flat surface. Take a paper plate and mark the variety on the plate. Take the dried flower and lightly hit the seed head to release the seed. You can also pull the seed head apart and let the seeds fall to the plate. The seeds are small and in the shape of an arrow. If you find some of the seeds are attached to the base of the petal, pull them off. Repeat this process with the rest of the flowers you saved. You can throw away the flowers after you have gotten the seeds out of them.
Spread out the seeds and let them dry out for a few days. This step will help them from rotting or getting mold.
Storing Zinnia Seeds
After the seeds have dried out put each variety in a marked envelope for storage. If you have different varieties, put them in separate envelopes unless you are creating a mix. Place the filled envelopes in a glass jar with a lid and store them in a cool, dark location. Make sure they do not get any sun. A basement, closet, or garage is a great location to use. Now you are ready for next year.
Next growing season, once the last danger of frost has passed you are ready to plant your seeds.
Make sure you use your seeds within the next few years.