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How to Harvest and Save Nigella Seeds

To harvest and save nigella seeds, you’ll need to:

  • Extract the seeds from the dried pods
  • Store the seeds in a paper envelope
  • Place the envelope in a plastic container to avoid moisture or heat

If you’ve got empty space in your garden that you aren’t sure what to do with, Nigella damascena, also known as love-in-the-mist, can add color and variety to your flower collection. 

Nigella is also an ideal plant to harvest and save seeds from, but how exactly is it done? 

Nigella seeds can be sharp, and sometimes it’s hard to identify when they are ready, so let’s look a little deeper into how to harvest and save nigella seeds. 

How to Harvest and Save Nigella Seeds

The nigella plant will have a noticeable, feathery flower, but these flowers usually only stick around for about a month.

Once they have dried up and fallen away, there will be a seed pod left behind. 

Inside these seed pods is where you will find the nigella seeds, but they aren’t ready right away. 

You’ll know your nigella seed pods are ready for harvest when they are:

  • Completely dried out and brown
  • You can hear the seeds rattling around within the seed pods

Nigella will self-seed, but it’s easier to control where your nigellas will grow the following year if you harvest and store the seeds yourself. 

And harvesting and re-planting your seeds lets you choose the seeds from the healthiest plant or the one with the most desirable flower color. 

Read Also >> Why Save Seeds?

3 Steps to Harvest Nigella Seeds

Step One: Wait Until the Seed Pods Are Ready

You should harvest your seed pods when they are completely dried out and brown, and you can hear the seeds rattling around inside the pod. 

An opening will also appear at the top of the pod when they’re ready to harvest. 

Step Two: Cut the Pods Off

To harvest nigella seeds, you should cut the nigella seed pods off of the plant. 

But wear gloves when you do so, as the seeds can be sharp. 

Also, be sure to have a container to put your seeds in because if the pod is very mature, the seeds may just fall out. 

Alternatively, you can cut larger sections off the seed pod portion of the plant and hang them to dry in a cool, dark place. 

This option is ideal if you need to harvest seeds early, or if you’re expecting rainy weather, for example. 

But just make sure you monitor the seeds.  

If you wait too long, the pods will open, and the seeds will spill out while hanging. 

Step Three: Break Apart the Seed Pods, or Shake Them Up

You can manually break the seed pods apart and harvest the seeds, but there is another method that is faster and more fun.

Instead of breaking the pod, you can place your nigella seed pods in a paper bag and then shake vigorously. 

This shaking will cause the seeds to come out of the pods, and you can separate them by hand or pour them through a screen to separate the pod from the seed. 

Read Also >> How to Harvest and Save Lettuce Seeds

How to Store Nigella Seeds

You should store your nigella seeds in a paper envelope and then place that envelope in a sealed plastic container somewhere cool and dry. 

Generally, a cool and dry storage area will prevent heat and moisture from causing mold, which will kill the seeds. 

Overall, you need to prevent any heat or moisture from reaching the seeds because that could cause mold. 

How Do You Get Nigella Seeds?

Nigella damascena is an annual that blooms about three months after being planted. 

Then, from there, they’ll bloom in about one month. 

And once the blooms die off, they leave a seed pod behind from which you can harvest the seeds. 

However, if you don’t have your own plant, there are other ways to get nigella seeds. 

Of course, if you know someone who owns a nigella plant, you can probably harvest some of their seeds for free. 

Or, you can purchase nigella seeds at many stores that sell seeds. 

Read Also >> How to Store Seeds Long Term?

How Do You Dry Nigella Seed Heads?

To dry nigella seed heads, cut the plant below the seed pod and hang them in a cool, dark place, like a shed. 

Typically, if you want to dry your seeds before storage, you should gather the seed heads before they brown. 

But remember that if you leave them to hang too long, the seeds will fall out on their own.

And if they do, you’ll probably have a hard time collecting them again. 

Why Dry Nigella Seed Heads?

For the most part, you’ll want to dry nigella seed heads before you store them to help prevent mold. 

However, as long as the seeds aren’t wet when you store them and you keep them in a dry, paper envelope, their chance of developing mold is low.  

You may also want to dry your seed heads early if bad weather might come to your area right before the seed heads open. 

Otherwise, the seed pods may split before you can collect them. 


Overall, nigellas are a great way to bring some life to any garden. 

And luckily, it’s easy to harvest seeds from them if you own a mature plant or have access to one.

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