Harvesting zinnia seeds — 14 Comments

    • Hi Fran,
      No need to remove the petals from the seeds before planting. As long as the seed has been given time to develop properly on the flower head, you can plant the seed and the petal together. Just make sure that the curve of a stiff petal doesn’t hold the seed up outside of the soil. You might need to tip a few of them sideways so the seed lays directly on the ground. Make sure seeds are sufficiently covered with soil. Enjoy all your zinnia’s!

  1. Question. Can I pick the spent flower, get the brown seeds and plant during the same season? For more flowers the same summer
    (In Florida)

    • Hi Mary,
      It takes about 10 days for a zinnia seed to germinate and sprout, about 60 days to bloom, and about 60-90 days to get viable seeds. If you can repeat that process in your growing area without frost or cold affecting the plants, then it may be possible. However, I would suggest another option to get continuous flowers – plant seeds at two-week intervals. This will provide ongoing blooming plants all season. The oldest plants can be producing seeds between the new bloomers.

  2. We have had several hard frosts. The plants are dead, but there is a center head with no petals. Is this the ‘seed pod’ and can I save them for planting next year? There are dozens of these centers. I hate for them.just to go to waste and to have to purchase seed next spring, if these might grow.

    • Hi Brenda,
      The center head should have the seeds in it if they have not already fallen out or were eaten by critters. You can gently separate the layers of it and see if the seeds fall out. If your frosts have just been overnight and the temperatures rose above freezing the next day, I would give them a try next year. One good thing about zinnia seeds is that they germinate quickly. It sounds like you are open to giving them a chance, so try them in the spring (after chance of frost). If they don’t germinate within about 8-10 days, you will have plenty of time to get a second planting in the ground. You might also consider starting some seeds in a pot inside just to see if they germinate. I am with you – would be a shame to waste them if there is a chance they will grow. Hope to hear from you next year on how it went!

    • Hi Carolyn,
      I would not be concerned about one hard frost where the temperatures return above freezing again the next day. The seeds are located at the center and protected by the petals. I often harvest the last seed heads from my zinnia’s when I pull them up after a frost, and they produce just fine. Enjoy your zinnia’s!

  3. Does the color of the flower correspond with what color the seed will produce next year. Example will a seed from a red flower produce a red flower?

    • Hi Kathryn,
      You can cut the flower at this stage, but don’t expect all that dries to be viable seeds. The seeds fatten from the bottom of the flower upwards as they dry on the plant. Look for the “plump” ones that are well formed because these have the baby zinnia. If they are flat and thin, they have not developed sufficiently. It’s advantageous to leave the flower to dry on the plant for higher yield and robust seeds.

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