If you’ve grown some nicotiana plants, you can harvest the seed pods, dry the seeds, and store them in a damp-free spot until the following season.
Just make sure that you keep them cool and away from direct light during storage.
Nicotiana plants are popular because they are hardy and have a delightfully sweet smell.
They also flower for a long period, and they feed insects such as moths and other pollinators throughout the season.
How to Harvest Nicotiana Seeds
You can take nicotiana seeds from the plant when one of its flowers has died, and the seed pod has begun to dry.
This death will happen after pollination, and you will see the petals shrivel and drop off.
Then, the seed pod will start to ripen and swell.
This change in the pod is a sign that the seeds are developing, and you will be able to harvest them soon.
After this time, the seed pod will start to turn brown, and eventually, it will open at one end to allow the seeds to spill out.
Now, the seeds are ready, and you can harvest them.
However, you will need to be quick, or the plant will shed them itself, and you will not be able to take them indoors for storage.
So, to harvest the seeds, you need to pick a seed pod and tap it to shake the seeds out into the palm of your hand.
It may take a few taps, but all the ripe seeds should soon spill from the pod and onto your palm.
Then, you can take them indoors to prepare for storage.
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How to Prepare Nicotiana Seeds for Storage
To begin storage preparations, you should set out a tray with some paper towels.
Next, sprinkle the seeds onto the paper towel.
However, remember that nicotiana seeds are tiny, so you must be careful when moving them onto the paper.
But, once they’re on the towel, use your finger or a paintbrush to lightly scatter them so that the air can flow over each seed.
Overall, having good airflow helps the seeds dry, but luckily, you don’t need to get them perfectly even on the sheet.
Instead, just avoid having any big clumps or mountains of seeds, and the air should do the rest of the work in drying them.
To allow this to happen, place the tray in a cool, dry spot for the next few days.
Yet, don’t let the seeds stand in the sunlight, or the heat and light may ruin them.
Finally, after a couple of days, again use your paintbrush or your finger to shake up the seeds and redistribute them across the paper towel.
When you move them, you turn the seeds and expose new sides to the air, allowing any remaining moisture to evaporate.
After a few days, your seeds should be ready for storage.
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How to Store Nicotiana Seeds
You can put your nicotiana seeds in either paper or plastic envelopes.
For the most part, plastic envelopes are better if you are going to store the seeds in a slightly damp environment, such as a shed, greenhouse, fridge, or freezer.
Plastic is better for damp areas because it will help to keep atmospheric moisture away from the seeds.
Conversely, paper envelopes are best if you’re putting your seeds somewhere dry.
Paper allows airflow and decreases the risk of any dampness remaining in the seeds, which could cause them to mold.
Overall, you can choose whichever is more suitable for your storage setup.
And, of course, don’t forget to label and date the envelopes.
You should also be aware that if you are harvesting seeds from a hybrid plant, your seedlings may differ from the parent, as hybrids often do not come true in their second generation.
Thus, you ought to clearly label your seeds so you can know whether your seeds come from a hybrid.
Then, once you’ve labeled the envelopes, tip a small number of seeds into each.
Spreading them out across multiple envelopes in this way means that if one batch goes moldy, you don’t lose all of your seeds.
Next, place the envelopes in an airtight container, such as a sealed plastic tub or a glass jar with a sealing lid.
Generally, a good container will further help protect them from moisture, insects, and rodents.
Lastly, put the container somewhere cool, dry, and away from direct sunlight, as temperature fluctuations, moisture, and light will all ruin the viability of your seeds.
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How Long Do Nicotiana Seeds Keep?
With nicotiana seeds, you will want to plant them the next season.
For the most part, storing them for several years will significantly reduce their viability, and they may not sprout when you try to plant them.
You can harvest nicotiana seeds as soon as your plant’s flower heads begin to die and its seed pods ripen.
Then, dry and store the seeds in envelopes and replant them when the following season begins.
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