Marigolds produce large numbers of easy-to-see and easy-to-collect seeds. If left to their own devices, they will reseed themselves in hospitable climates yearly.
If you want more control over the placement of your marigold plants and flowers, you can easily harvest and store the seed.
Start seeds indoors a couple of months before the last predicted frost, or direct sow them into your garden shortly before the last frost in springtime.
In this article, we provide tips to help you collect, harvest, share and sow your own marigold seeds. Read on to learn more.
If You Want Seeds, Don’t Deadhead!
Generally speaking, when growing marigolds, you should deadhead spent blooms promptly to encourage more blooms.
If you live in a dry climate, you can still do that with your marigolds throughout most of the spring and summer, but as the growing season winds down, leave those last flowers in place to mature and go to seed.
When the blooms have shriveled and gone dark, pinch one open. You will probably find a wealth of black seeds bundled neatly together.
If the seeds are pale, they are not ready. So you’ll need to wait a little longer for your harvest.
Note that if you live in an area that receives a lot of rain, you may not be able to allow your Marigold flowers to dry on the plant.
In this case, you can harvest them as they fade, dry them, and separate the seed.
Gather And Prepare Your Marigold Seeds
Pick the dried blooms off the plants when the blooms are completely shriveled, and the seeds are dark. Till the stems and foliage under to provide pest protection for the soil.
In a warm, dry setting, lay out some newspaper, paper towel, or a cloth on a flat surface (e.g., kitchen table or countertop).
Pinch the base of the seed head and pull off the petals. Break the marigold heads open onto this and spread the individual seeds, exposing them to the open air.
Leave them to dry for a few days. Test dryness by attempting to bend individual seeds. If the seed breaks, it is completely dry.
If it just bends, it needs a little more drying time. After the seeds are completely dry, you can package them up for storage.
What Kind Of Container Should You Use To Store Marigold Seeds?
If your seeds are really thoroughly dry, you can use a glass jar or a plastic tub with a lid.
If there is even a bit of moisture left in the seeds, this could lead to problems with mold.
It’s better to store your marigold seed in a container that allows airflow.
- Paper sacks
- Cardboard storage containers, such as oatmeal canisters
Label And Store Your Marigold Seeds
Be sure to label and date your container to not exactly forget what you have and how long you have had it!
You should use or share your marigold seeds within a couple of years of gathering. Although the seed may remain viable past this point, there is no guarantee.
Store your seeds in a cool, dark, dry setting with a fairly consistent temperature. For example, a kitchen cabinet may be fine, but not above your stovetop.
A shelf in your garage may be fine, but not in direct sunlight. Consistent temperature and protection from the elements are key to successful seed storage.