The Q&A Archives: collecting seeds

Question: Where are the seeds located on chives, gaillardia, sea thrift, purple coneflower, and blackeyed susan. Also what do they look like and how should I harvest and plant each?

Answer: The seeds are located at the base of the flower petals. Once the flower fades and the petals fall off, the seeds remain. When mature the seeds will be dry. One the purple coneflower and black eyed susan for instance, the central "eye" of the flower holds the seeds. You can then pick them off the plant and hold then in a paper envelope at room temperature in a dry place, or once you are certain they are totally dry, store in a closed container in the refrigerator. For detailed instructions on collecting seeds you might want to look at a book or two. One I particularly like is "The New Seed-Starters Handbook" by Nancy Bubel which includes very specific instructions. It is a bit late in the season to be collecting seed now because the fall weather tends to be wet and most of the seeds will have fallen to the ground already. YOu may however be able to transplant naturally planted seedlings from around your plants. Look for them next spring and in early summer.

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