If you have ever made a purchase from Unplanned Whimsy, you are familiar with my love of marigold seeds. Whenever I send an order out, I always try to include an envelope of seeds from my garden. I sort of find it symbolic, that just as their order has helped my business grow, their marigolds will also grow into something beautiful.
Marigolds truly are beautiful flowers. They don’t have the greatest smell, though some people do like the smell of marigolds, but their fragrance is just one of the many things that make them wonderful. Marigolds repel aphids, Japanese beetles, snails, spider mites, whiteflies, deer, mosquitoes, and that’s just naming a few! Marigolds are like a giant golden body guard, protecting your plants, flowers, and vegetables from a variety of deadly enemies. Marigolds are also great for your garden because their vibrant colors attract pollinators, who will come for the marigolds but stick around to help pollinate your veggies and fruits too.
They’re just great flowers to have in your garden. So, lets talk about how to harvest marigold seeds, because one marigold plant can turn into HUNDREDS OF MARIGOLDS! Also, why would you pay money for plants when you can just grow your own? Frugal and Fabulous.
How to Harvest Marigold Seeds
and Store Them to Be Used Next Year!
Determine which Flowers are Ready to Harvest
When harvesting marigold seeds, the entire bud (spent flower) is plucked from the plant. A spent flower basically means that the marigold flower has already bloomed and is now shriveling as it dries out to die and produce seeds. More than likely if you have ever had a marigold plant, you have plucked these anyways because these buds are unsightly.
When it comes to seed collecting, there are certain buds that are better than others.
In the sample picture, I have highlighted four buds that need to be plucked and have numbered them from the best seed potential (1) which has a better chance of germinating to the worst seed potential (4) which have a lesser chance of germinating.
Flower one has recently been spent, still has a bit of color on the petals, and has just started to dry. Flower two has a bit less color than the first, which indicates that it was spent before the flower one. Flower three and flower four are more dry than the first two, and have brown coloration on the petals; all of which are signs that they have been shrived for a while and therefore have a potential for mildew. Wait. What? Mildew?…
When a marigold flower is spent, the petals shrivel but ultimately stay in place. As time passes the petals will decompose and as it rains or the morning dew hits the flower, moisture can become trapped under the petals inside of the flower bud (where the seeds are) causing the perfect conditions for mildew growth. If the seeds are exposed to mildew and/or are kept in a wet environment, they are more likely to suffer damage and will not germinate (aka they won’t grow).
With all of that said, you can collect them all anyways and just hope for the best.
Prep the Seeds to Dry
Once you have collected the spent flowers, you will need to pull out the seeds from the buds so that they can dry. To do this, first hold the bud in one hand and use the other to pinch the petals while tugging them to detach the petals from the bud, as shown below in the photo to the left. The photo on the right shows the removed petals; these can be discarded or saved to be pressed for crafts later.
Now that the petals have been removed, take the bud in one hand and again use the other to pinch the top of the seeds while tugging them to remove the seeds from the bud. The seeds should pop out easily; however, some seeds may stick to the sides of the bud. If there are seeds that have remained stuck to the sides of the bud, simply rip open the bud from the side to gain better access and remove all of the seeds.
Drying the Seeds
When the seeds have all been collected, take the seeds and spread them out on a flat surface to dry. *Keep these in a safe place away from small children and pets.*
I like to use my small basket, shown here, to both collect the flowers and dry my seeds. The cotton fabric and weaved basket allows air flow to the seeds from all angles, so they can dry faster. I like to dry my seeds for about two weeks, though it may be longer depending on how many seeds I have to dry at a time.
I also like to “flip” my seeds once every other day to mix up them up and allow each seed to have better access to airflow depending on their positioning in the basket.
Storing the Seeds for Later Use
Seeds must be stored in a dry environment; otherwise any moisture could cause the seeds to begin to sprout. If seeds sprout while in storage they will be unable to sprout again when it is time to plant them.
To help prevent moisture from accumulating in your seed collection, try placing your stored seeds in paper envelopes. You can purchase coin envelopes at any office supply store or you can make your own by using my FREE printable below. -You’re welcome.
Free Printable DIY Seed PacketsDIY-Seed-Packet-Printable-Unplanned-Whimsy
Once you have printed out your DIY seed packets, you will need scissors, glue, and whatever seeds you would like to store.
Making these seed packets are as easy as:
1. Cut 2. Fold 3. Glue
4. Open 5. Fill 6. Label & Store
Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed this article and the DIY seed packets that came with it.
Have a whimsically floral-filled sunshiny day!