Saving seeds can save you money on planting flowers next year, and its a fun activity for the kids. There are several techniques, but all you need is a piece of paper and an envelope.

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Saving Flower Seed to Plant Next Year

Many of our annual flowers do come back true to seed, such as zinnias, ornamental peppers, and echinacea. So, it’s always useful and money saving, and it’s fun to harvest your seed this fall to save and plant next spring. And it’s a good family exercise. It teaches lots of lessons of life, biology, and science to children.

What we’re after is just the flower. We’re not worried about stems – just the whole flower. We’re after the mature ones. First we have to separate the seed from the flower – because it’s the seed we want. We don’t want to save ay of the old petals or parts of the green tissue because they’re just likely to mold or contribute to seed degradation. So, get the seed as clean as possible, and eliminate the trash.

The sheet of paper allows you to get the seed on there, and then roll it up and pour it into an envelope. But on some flowers, such as the echinacea, or some of these others, we can simply take the flower, insert it into an envelope, and shake it around. Or, you can leave it in there for a month or so. As it matures, the flower will separate off the seed, and the seed will come loose. Then, we can shake it again in a month or so, and then pull this out and throw it away – so that just the seed remains.

On a zinnia, it’s a little different. They’re a fine seed. But, you can work the flower over – destroy it really good and get the seeds out. You can see what I’m doing – I’m just tapping it a little bit. And what this does is bring the seed to the bottom, and the petals stay up on top. Then you can come in and pick most of the petals off of the seeds. You won’t be perfect in cleaning it up. But if you get the bulk of the old petals off, that’s usually sufficient.

This feature story prepared with Alan Stevens, former Kansas State University Research and Extension State Leader, Horticulture. For more information, visit your local county extension office or visit our website at

Note: some of the newer varieties of flowers are protected by the Plant Variety Protection Act to protect the intellectual property rights of the plant breeder. These seeds should not be kept for next year. If in doubt, read the label on the seed packet.

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