Hey there, fellow gardening enthusiasts! If you’re anything like me, you can’t get enough of those beautiful zinnia flowers gracing your garden. Today is when I finally share my guide to harvesting zinnia seeds!
Their vibrant colors, ease of growing and charming appearances are a true delight, but did you know you can keep their beauty going year after year by harvesting and saving zinnia seeds? I’m here to guide you through the simple steps!
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Just to be clear, I am by no means a flower expert. I just love getting my hands dirty and sharing what works for me in hopes that it will work for you too. I encourage you to do zinnia research like I did (mainly on google and Pinterest) to see how they will best work for you and your garden zone. We live in northern Colorado which is zone 5b, but these tips are very general and will work for all zones.
A Guide to Harvesting Zinnia Seeds
My zinnia beds are officially done for the season here in Colorado and I am truly sad. But luckily that doesn’t mean they are done!
Even though zinnias are not listed typically as perennials they can sometimes reseed themselves which I had several do last year.
But I figured I wanted to have a bit more control of where I planted them. So this year I did some research (that I am sharing with you below) on harvesting zinnia seeds myself. And let me tell you, it is honestly super easy and simple.
Before We Get Started…Don’t Miss My Planting Guide
If you haven’t seen my Lazy Girl’s Guide to Planting Zinnia Seeds you will want to visit that post too. It is full of so much helpful information and was the beginning of my love affair with these easy to grow flowers.
Also, I have a FREE Zinnia Planting Guide by Zone that you can grab below! (It has all of the zones included and I share some awesome tips to get you started!)
Remember, if you are already a subscriber to my blog newsletter/emails you can access all of my free printables with the password and directions at the end of every email I send!
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Wait for the Right Time
First things first, timing is everything. To harvest zinnia seeds, you need to let the flowers do their thing throughout the growing season.
Allow those zinnia plants to bloom and dazzle you with their colorful displays. As the season progresses, you’ll notice the flowers mature, and this is when you should start thinking about seed saving.
Step 2: Observe the Seed Heads
Once the zinnia flowers have lived their entire lives and start to fade, it’s time to inspect those seed heads.
These are the little pods that contain the magic of zinnia seed saving. You’ll notice that the petals have dried and fallen off, leaving behind the seed heads.
Pro tip: Make sure to only move onto step three once the Zinnia flowers are entirely dead and brown.
Step 3: Harvesting Zinnia Seeds
Now comes the fun part – harvesting zinnia seeds! Grab a pair of scissors or garden shears and carefully snip off the seed heads.
Make sure you do this on a dry day so the seeds aren’t moist, which could lead to mold issues. Be gentle; you don’t want to damage the seeds inside.
Step 4: Drying Zinnia Seeds
Place your freshly harvested seed heads in a dry place. I like to use a paper bag with small holes punched in it, as it allows for good air circulation while keeping the seeds contained.
Hang the bag upside down in a cool, dry spot—like your garage or a well-ventilated room—and let those zinnia seeds dry out for a few days.
I also use ziplock bags and those do just as well! So do whatever works for you.
Step 5: Saving Zinnia Seeds
Now that you’ve successfully harvested and dried your zinnia seeds, it’s time to save them for future planting.
Place the seeds in a labeled envelope or an airtight container. Don’t forget to note the zinnia varieties and the year you harvested them so you can keep track of your seed collection.
Also, I have noticed that the pink and purple variety tend to be more dominant. And even if you harvest seeds from a certain color or variety, they are not always guaranteed to come back as that color.
This has to do with pollinators as cross pollination changes the colors! So if you like or prefer a variety of colors then you will most likely need to add fresh or new seeds to your planting regime for the next year!
Step 6: Storage
Store your zinnia seeds in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. A dark cabinet or a drawer in your gardening shed works perfectly. Proper storage will keep your seeds viable for years to come.
Keep Your Zinnia Garden Going!
Harvesting and saving zinnia seeds is a delightful journey that allows you to preserve the beauty of these charming flowers and share them with generations to come.
By following these simple steps and keeping your zinnia seeds dry and well-organized, you’ll have a garden that bursts with color and character year after year.
Pro Tip: Maye sure to visit my Lazy Girl’s Guide to Growing Colorful Zinnias From Seed so you can make sure your harvested seeds don’t go to waste!
FAQ’s About Harvesting Zinnia Seeds
- When is the best time to harvest zinnia seeds?
- Zinnia seeds are best harvested when the flower heads have fully matured and dried on the plant. Typically, this occurs in late summer to early fall.
- How do I know if zinnia seeds are ready for harvesting?
- Zinnia seeds are ready to harvest when the flower head turns brown and feels dry to the touch. The petals will also have fallen off.
- What tools or equipment do I need for harvesting zinnia seeds?
- You will need a pair of garden shears or scissors to cut the seed heads, a paper bag or envelope for collecting the seeds, and a marker to label the seeds.
- Should I deadhead my zinnia flowers to encourage seed production?
- Deadheading (removing spent flowers) can encourage more blooms but will reduce seed production. If you want to harvest seeds, leave some flowers on the plant to mature.
- Can I collect zinnia seeds from different varieties and mix them?
- Yes, you can collect seeds from different zinnia varieties, but if you want to maintain specific characteristics, it’s best to collect and label seeds from each variety separately.
- How do I collect zinnia seeds from the plant?
- Use scissors or garden shears to cut the seed heads from the plant, leaving a few inches of stem attached. Place the seed heads in a paper bag or envelope to dry further.
- How long should I let zinnia seed heads dry before removing the seeds?
- Allow the seed heads to dry for at least one to two weeks in a warm, dry place. The seeds should be easy to remove when they are fully dry.
- What’s the best way to remove zinnia seeds from the seed heads?
- Gently rub or shake the dried seed heads to release the seeds. You can also use your fingers to break the seed heads apart and collect the seeds.
- How should I store zinnia seeds after harvesting them?
- Store zinnia seeds in a cool, dry place in an airtight container or a sealed envelope. Label the container with the zinnia variety and the date of collection.
- How long can zinnia seeds be stored and remain viable?
- Zinnia seeds can remain viable for 2 to 5 years when stored properly. However, their germination rate may decrease over time, so it’s best to use them within a year or two for optimal results.
- Can I share or trade zinnia seeds with other gardeners?
- Yes, many gardeners enjoy sharing or trading zinnia seeds with others. Just be sure to provide accurate labeling and any relevant information about the variety.
- Are there any specific precautions to take when harvesting zinnia seeds for saving?
- Avoid collecting seeds from plants that show signs of disease or pest infestations. Additionally, ensure that the seeds are fully dry before storing to prevent mold or mildew.
- Can I directly plant harvested zinnia seeds in my garden?
- Yes, you can plant harvested zinnia seeds directly in your garden in the spring when the soil has warmed up. Make sure to prepare the soil and space the seeds according to the variety’s recommendations. (Read my Lazy Girl’s Guide to Growing Colorful Zinnias From Seed for the best tips!)
- Are Zinnias Perennials?
- Zinnias are primarily grown as annuals, completing their life cycle in a single growing season. While they typically do not return year after year, in milder climates, zinnias may exhibit short-lived perennial tendencies and come back for a second year under favorable conditions. However, most gardeners treat them as annuals, replanting each spring for a season of colorful blooms or by collecting and saving seeds for the following year. This way, you can enjoy zinnias annually, despite their annual classification.
So, whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting your green-thumb adventures at home, give zinnia seed saving a try.
It’s a rewarding process that connects you with the natural cycle of life in your garden. Plus, it’s a great excuse to spend more time outdoors and watch your zinnia plants flourish.
A Guide to Harvesting Zinnia Seeds
Remember, every zinnia flower tells a story, and by saving their seeds, you become a part of that story. Don’t forget to share your zinnia seeds with friends and fellow gardeners, spreading the joy of these beautiful flowers even further.
Thank you for joining me on this zinnia seed-saving journey, and here’s to many more seasons filled with vibrant colors and cheerful blooms of zinnias. Happy gardening, my friends!
If you liked this post don’t miss my post on How to Make a Dried Zinnia Wreath!
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