You can harvest viola seeds by removing a seed head from the plant once it has begun to fatten and turn brown.
Then, you can dry this seed head indoors.
And once the seed head bursts, you should collect the seeds and place them somewhere cool, dark, and dry for the following year.
Violas are lovely little plants to grow, but, unfortunately, you will need to replant them each year.
And replanting can get expensive if you are constantly buying new plants from your local nursery.
So, why not save the seeds and grow the plants yourself?
Today, we are going to find out how.
Read Also >> Why Save Seeds?
How Do You Harvest Viola Seeds?
First off, you need to make sure you are harvesting viola seeds at the right time.
If you take them off the plant too early, they will not have matured, and they won’t germinate the following year.
In general, you can harvest viola seeds throughout the summer, especially in the later summer months.
You just need to look for a flower head where the flowers have begun to wither because this is where you will find the seed pod.
But, don’t collect seed pods that are white or green as these are still immature.
Instead, harvest the pods once they have started to swell, dry, and brown.
Then, once you have the matured pods, you should bring them inside and place them in a deep-edged tray lined with sheets of paper towel.
Here, they will dry out some more, and then the pods will begin to split, allowing you to get at the seeds.
However, be prepared because viola seed pods tend to split open a little explosively.
In the wild, this process allows them to spread their seeds, but in your house, they can make a mess.
Thus, you need to ensure they are in a high-sided container while drying.
Or, if you want to try to ensure the seeds don’t open without you watching, you can gently squeeze the pods until they open.
But, whichever way you open the pods, you should be aware that viola seeds are tiny, so you should handle them with care when maneuvering them, or you can easily lose a significant amount.
And, finally, if the pod opens and the seeds remain in the pod, you can gently use your nail to free them.
Yet, just make sure that you do this step over the tray so that they don’t scatter.
How Do You Prepare Viola Seeds for Storage?
Overall, your seeds must be dry before you can store them.
Therefore, never stuff them straight into your envelopes after harvest, or they could get moldy.
Rather, leave them on your tray in the open air for a couple of weeks and in a warm place with no direct sun.
This set-up will allow the moisture in the seeds to evaporate, drying them out.
Then, you can use a paintbrush or your finger to gently disturb the seeds and roll them to improve the drying process.
And once the seeds are dry, separate out any remaining chaff (seed heads, leaves, etc.) and tip them into paper envelopes.
Finally, label and date the envelopes before placing them in a large, airtight container with some silica gel packets to help absorb any remaining moisture.
Read Also >> How to Harvest and Save Zinnia Seeds
How Do You Store Viola Seeds?
You should put viola seeds somewhere cool, dark, and dry and not at risk of sudden temperature fluctuations.
Many people store their seeds in the basement, but if that isn’t possible, find a dry, dark cupboard that is not next to an oven or heater.
But, don’t choose a cupboard where the temperature is likely to fluctuate, as the seeds may become unviable quite quickly in this environment.
Also, if light can get to your seeds in your storage space, consider using an opaque container or placing the envelopes in a cloth bag.
Otherwise, light could encourage germination.
Furthermore, moisture could also cause germination, so it’s crucial to keep the seeds dry at all times.
Thus, use an airtight locking container and keep them in a spot free from moisture and humidity.
How Long Can You Keep Viola Seeds?
Viola seeds don’t have a great shelf life, and most won’t germinate if you keep them for more than a couple of years.
You should therefore aim to use up your stock of seeds each year and harvest new ones so that you always have some fresh seeds at hand.
Read Also >> How to Store Seeds Long Term?
It’s fairly easy to harvest your own viola seeds simply by watching the plants and picking the pods as they start to turn brown.
From there, you just need to dry the seeds thoroughly and place them in a cool, dark, and dry spot to keep them safe until the following year, when you can sow them to grow new plants.