How to Save Zinnia Seeds from Flowers

Once you learn how to save zinnia seeds from flowers you will never need to purchase zinnia seeds or nursery plants again. Since these beautiful blooms produce many seeds per plant, harvesting the seeds from the flowers will give you zillions of zinnias to grow for the rest of your life.

This guide shares how to collect the seeds from zinnias, how to save zinnia seeds, and tips for planting zinnias in your garden.

You will have so many free plants that you may decide to give them away as gifts or start a new kitchen garden to provide fresh blooms for your home all Summer long.

How to save zinnia seeds from flowers

This post sharing how to save zinnia seeds from flowers contains affiliate links which means that if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will receive a small portion of the sale at no additional cost to you.

Can You Save Zinnia Seeds from Cut Flowers?

Yes! In fact, zinnias are one of the easiest flowers to harvest and save seeds from but there are a few things to keep in mind. Determining whether your zinnias are open-pollinated or hybrids is crucial.

Hybrid zinnia seeds often yield offspring that differ from the parent plant, potentially disappointing those who cherish specific traits like double blossoms or unique colors.

In contrast, seeds from open-pollinated zinnias reliably produce offspring resembling the parent plant, making them the preferred choice for seed harvesting.

Open-pollinated zinnia varieties offer a diverse range of colors and forms. Some notable open-pollinated zinnia varieties include Green Envy, Cactus Bright Jewels, Canary Bird, Candy Cane, Lilliput, California Giant, State Fair Mix, Cut n Come Again, Red Spider, and Jazzy Mix.

These zinnias are known for their ability to produce seeds that reliably grow into plants with consistent and distinct characteristics, making them a popular choice for seed-saving and consistent garden performance.

So, when saving zinnia seeds from cut flowers, ensure you work with the right type to maintain the desired characteristics in your future blooms.

zinnia flower head full of seeds.

How to Save Zinnia Seeds from Flowers

The first step in seed saving is to wait for the seed heads to dry to the touch before harvesting. You will notice the flowers turning brown and many of the petals will fall off.

However, you don’t have to wait for the petals to fall off before harvesting the seeds from zinnias.

It may actually be helpful if some of the petals stay on, this way you can tell which color zinnia seed you are saving.

However, armed with a writing utensil, you could just easily mark the seed packet when storing it so you will know which color zinnias you have without saving intact blooms.

Once the zinnia flowers are dry, pull them off of the plant.

Be sure to keep different varieties separated and labeled especially if they have turned dark brown, you may forget which zinnia varieties you are removing seeds from.

dried flower head of zinnia.

If you have recently watered your garden bed or had a light rainfall you may need to dry out the seed heads even more.

If this is the case, you can lay the harvested seed heads out in the sun to dry on a baking sheet but be sure to flip them so that they can dry thoroughly on all sides.

You could pick up a seed screen to make this process easier but it isn’t necessary for harvesting zinnia seeds, a baking sheet or any flat surface will do the trick.

You could also spread some paper towels onto a tray or paper plate for air-drying, it doesn’t have to be fancy.

I recommend labeling the variety name with a marker directly on the plate so you can keep track of the dry zinnia flower you are trying to release the seeds from.

how to harvest seeds from flower heads.

Grab the seed head and pull it apart by rubbing it between your fingers to release the small and arrow-shaped seeds.

When seeds are attached to the base of the petal gently pull them off and discard the petals.

If the seeds have not been fully dried you should allow them to air dry uncovered for a few days by spreading them out to prevent rotting or molding in storage.

What’s the Best Way to Store Zinnia Seeds?

After the seeds have dried it is time to store them for the next growing season. Place seeds in a paper envelope or bag for storage.

Be sure to label each envelope if you have multiple zinnia varieties so you do not mix them up. This is helpful for seed collectors like myself who store a variety of seeds from all of the flowers in my garden.

Check out this article that shows you how to harvest sunflower seeds to eat or plant, so your packets of zinnia seeds will have company while waiting for the growing season.

Store the seed envelopes in a lidded glass jar and keep it in a cool, dry place such as a closet. When stored properly, out of direct sun, you can keep these seeds for years.

For best results, you will want to use your seeds within three to five years.

how to store zinnia seeds harvested from flowers.

Tips for Harvesting Zinnia Seeds

The most important thing to remember is to wait until the seeds have fully matured and to avoid watering the flower bed prior to harvesting the seeds.

Harvesting zinnia seeds prematurely can yield immature seeds that won’t sprout. It’s important to wait until the seeds have fully matured before collecting them for proper germination.

Opt for zinnia plants that are in robust health. Avoid saving seeds from diseased plants, as conditions like powdery mildew can potentially transfer to the seeds and affect their viability.

How to Save Zinnia Seeds from Flowers of Different Varieties

Prior to preserving your zinnia seeds, confirm that you are cultivating an open-pollinated cultivar rather than a hybrid.

When purchasing zinnia seed packets, seek out heirloom varieties or similar options to ensure that the subsequent generations of zinnias will maintain their true characteristics.

Older zinnia seeds may have reduced viability. Freshly harvested seeds are more likely to be viable and proper storage is crucial for maintaining seed viability.

Ensure your zinnia seeds have been kept in a cool, dry, and airtight container to prevent deterioration.

Avoid exposing seeds to excessive heat, moisture, or freezing temperatures, as improper handling can reduce their viability.

zinnia flowers full of seeds for harvesting.

Tips for Planting Zinnias to Save Seeds

To safeguard the purity of open-pollinated zinnia seeds, some planning is needed since zinnias from different varieties can cross-pollinate due to insect activity.

If you have ample space, such as on a farm, it’s advisable to plant one variety per half-mile to minimize cross-pollination.

However, for most gardeners with limited space and only a few blooms’, a practical approach is to enclose selected flower buds with a fine mesh net, bags, or cages before they bloom, allowing them to remain uncontaminated until the flowering process concludes.

If you choose this method you can choose to only save seeds that are far away from the edge of the bed so the drying flowers are out of sight.

If you aren’t getting a lot of zinnia blooms, you may want to consider amending the soil. Zinnias prefer neutral to slightly acidic soil, learn how to make soil more acidic naturally with these tips.

zinnia seeds harvested from flowers.

Can I Just Scatter Zinnia Seeds?

Yes. You can be imaginative with your seed distribution. Just casually toss seeds from your open palm, allowing them to land where they may.

Next, employ a petite shovel or hand rake to delicately bury them, especially if they’re hitching a ride on petal fragments. Be sure to give your newly planted seeds a good soaking.

What Month Do You Plant Zinnia Seeds?

While the ideal planting time can vary depending on your zone, in most areas, Zinnias, being a warm-season annual, are typically planted from late March to mid-April.

Just be sure to wait until the growing season is upon you and the danger of frost has passed, that’s when you can sow your seeds outdoors.

Seek out a sunny spot, like an in-ground pollinator garden, flower bed, or your raised garden beds, where zinnias bask in 8 to 10 hours of direct sunlight.

Keep an eye out as zinnias tend to burst into bloom within 55 to 65 days. Even if only a small fraction sprouts, you’ll be hosting a buzzing soiree for beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.

Plus, there is nothing quite as rewarding as gazing at a beautiful bouquet of flowers that you grew yourself!

how to save zinnia seeds from flowers

How Do I Know If Zinnia Seeds Are Viable?

To determine the viability of your zinnia seeds, observe their color. Seeds that appear more tan rather than gray may indicate potential viability issues.

However, it’s essential to note that even if some seeds appear tan, they may still be viable. Don’t be discouraged; you’ll likely have an abundant supply of seeds.

To assess viability more accurately, you can perform a simple seed viability test.

Start by placing a few zinnia seeds between moist paper towels in a sealed plastic bag. Store the bag in a warm, well-lit area for a week or so.

After this period, check for germination. If a good number of seeds have sprouted, it indicates their viability. If only a few or none have sprouted, it may suggest that a significant portion of your seeds is less viable.

Remember, zinnias often produce an abundance of seeds, so even if some are less viable, you’ll still likely have plenty to work with for future plantings.

I hope you enjoyed learning how to save zinnia seeds from flowers so you never need to purchase seeds again. Consider signing up for the free newsletter or following along on Pinterest so you never miss another gardening tip!

The Hobby Wife

The Hobby Wife

Greenhouse and backyard gardener, devoted homemaker, and passionate recipe creator. My journey through life revolves around my unwavering love for food and travel. As a passionate cook, I blend my garden's bounty with culinary finesse and inspiration from my travels. From farm-to-table homestyle dishes to copycat recipes that offer something unique, my kitchen is a canvas where flavors harmonize and ingredients tell stories.

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