You need to harvest marigold seeds when the flower petals start to wrinkle, and the seed pod (below the flower) is just beginning to turn brown.
Then, once dry, you should store the seeds in a paper envelope in a cool, dark, dry location.
Marigolds are a much-loved staple in many gardens, and it’s easy to harvest and store the seeds so that you can replant these beautiful blooms the following year.
And doing so saves you from having to buy plants again and again.
Plus, harvesting seeds is a great way to ensure your garden is bright and golden month after month.
How to Harvest Marigold Seeds?
You need to harvest marigold seeds at the right time, or the seeds will be unripe and not viable or already scattered by the plant.
You should therefore watch your plant carefully for signs that the seeds are ready to collect.
You’ll know the seeds are ready when the petals have started to dry out and curl up, and the seed pod behind the petals has begun browning at the edges.
You can use a pair of sharp scissors to cut the flower off the plant, snipping through the stem rather than the seed pod to remove the entire flower head.
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How to Prepare Marigold Seeds for Storage?
To prepare marigold seeds for storage, you first need to set up a clean, clear work surface so that you have space to operate.
You’ll need at least enough room to work and to set your flower heads in a pile.
Once you’ve found a good work area, start by picking up a head and gripping it at the base.
Then, use your other hand to pull off the leaves and petals so that you only have the seed pod left.
You should now be able to see the seeds inside the marigold.
You can identify the seeds because they are slender and pointed, with one dark end and one light end.
Once you’ve found the seeds, you can lightly pinch them in your fingers and pull them away from the base.
They will likely come off in clumps, which you should separate and space out on a paper towel.
Then, after you have removed all of the seeds, you can keep the base, leaves, and stem to compost or throw them away.
Next, ensure that you’ve evenly spaced the seeds on a paper towel, as spacing will help absorb moisture and encourage them to dry.
And you will need the seeds to dry before you put them in storage.
Now, after you’ve appropriately spaced the seeds, place the paper towel somewhere that does not get any direct sunlight.
You should allow the seeds to dry there for several days.
Then, turn them over to expose the other side of the seed to airflow, and again wait several days for this side to dry.
It is crucial to ensure that you leave the seeds drying for around a week because if moisture remains in them once you have put them into storage, they are likely to turn moldy.
And if they mold, you can’t plant them the following year.
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How to Store Marigold Seeds?
Once your seeds are dry, you can place them in a paper envelope or sleeve.
Or, some people prefer to use plastic, which can work, but if any moisture remains in the seeds, there is a greater risk of them going moldy in a plastic envelope.
So, paper sleeves may be preferable.
Next, you should label and date your envelope or sleeve and then carefully tip the marigold seeds into it.
And remember that at this step, it is best not to over-fill the envelopes.
Instead, put a handful of seeds in each so that if a batch does remain damp and gets spoiled, it won’t ruin your entire seed storage.
Then, once you have your envelopes, you may wish to place them in a secondary airtight container, as this will prevent any atmospheric moisture from ruining the viability of the seeds.
A plastic container with a locking lid is a suitable option and will have the additional advantage of keeping the seeds safe from any insects or rodents that might wish to eat them.
Plus, you can store multiple kinds of seeds in this container if you wish or keep it for marigolds only.
Finally, add a couple of silica gel packets or dry rice to absorb any moisture that gets into the container or remains in the seeds.
And then place the jar or envelope in a cool, dry, dark place that does not suffer from temperature fluctuations.
How Long Can You Keep Marigold Seeds?
Marigold seeds will usually last for about three years.
However, toward the end of the three years, their germination rate is likely to be lower.
After three years, even fewer will germinate.
Thus, it is best to use seeds every year and just keep harvesting your new plants for fresh seeds.
But if you can’t use the seeds every year, they should remain viable for up to three years if you store them correctly.
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Marigold seeds are easy to harvest and store, so long as you make sure you dry them properly and then protect them from moisture, light, and temperature changes.
Following these steps is a great way to ensure you can grow these plants in your garden year after year without issue.