The Q&A Archives: Saving Seeds

Question: I would like to harvest the seeds from the petunias I have platned this spring. I have no idea how or when is the best time to do this. I have never taken seeds from an existing plant before so this is all new. I would like to be able to plant all my spring petunia beds from plant that ive grown myself. I have experience growing from seeds but not collecting the seeds.

Answer: Saving seeds is quite easy and it's fun to exchange with other gardeners. However, don?t save seed from hybrid plants, because when planted it will not mature identical to the parent plant. (A hybrid plant is produced by cross-pollinating two different parent plants.) Hybrid plants are labeled as such on seed packets and in catalog descriptions.

Let some flowers dry and ?go to seed.? As seeds begin to turn brown and fall off, hold a paper bag or container underneath and tap dry seeds into it. Or, tie paper bags over the flowerheads to catch falling seeds. Punch a few holes in the bag to provide circulation. Another way is to wait until about 10 percent of the seeds are brown and falling off. Then cut the entire flowerhead and stem, place it upside down in a paper bag, hang it in a cool, dry location and let the seeds separate on their own.

Collect seeds on dry, sunny days to avoid any excess moisture. If needed, dry seeds completely on sheets of newspaper for a week or so. Dispose of stems and leaves. A screen or colander works well to remove chaff. Store seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dry place or in the refrigerator. Good luck!

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