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How to Harvest and Save Zinnia Seeds (8 Steps)

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

  • Protect the seeds from cross-pollination
  • Collect your materials 
  • Harvest the seeds from the flower head
  • Completely dry out your seeds
  • Store them in a cool, dry, and dark area

Zinnias are vibrant flowers that come in red and orange, pink and purple, white, yellow, and soft lavender varieties.

Thus, you have plenty of options to choose from when you plant this wonderful species. 

And harvesting zinnia seeds is quite easy. 

You just need a little bit of patience and the ability to give them some TLC, and soon enough, you’ll have some beautiful flowers of your own. 

8 Steps for Harvesting and Saving Zinnia Seeds

Step One: Plan Ahead

With almost any type of gardening, you will want to plan ahead. 

And the most important first step with zinnias is to ensure your seeds remain pure so that your new flowers will look like their parents. 

Thus, you have to harvest them before pollination occurs. 

To do this, you need to bag or cage several buds before they come into bloom, which will prevent cross-pollination.

Then, keep the bag on until the flowers have completely bloomed.

Also, don’t forget that when harvesting zinnia seeds, you want to make sure you’re only using healthy plants. 

Mildew can easily transfer to seeds, so make sure you aren’t using any plants affected by this disease. 

But, if you do have a mildew problem, your local garden center should have something you can use to keep that pesky powder off of your precious plants.

Step Two: Collect Your Materials

Before getting started, you need to gather the following items:

  • A container to harvest the flowers
  • The zinnia plants themselves
  • A screen that you will use for drying
  • Paper towels
  • Paper plates
  • Pruners or sheers
  • A sharpie or other marker
  • Envelopes
  • A glass jar with a sturdy lid

Step Three: Wait it Out

Generally, it is best to make sure your flower heads have turned brown and brittle before you try to collect them. 

If you try to harvest seeds too early, you will be wasting your time because they won’t germinate, so be patient. 

Read Also >> Why Save Seeds?

Step Four: Gently Remove the Deadheads

When your flower heads are dry, gently pull or cut them off the plant, keeping different varieties separated.

For an average-sized garden, you will most likely only need a few blooms that produce seeds to carry you through to the next year.

Step Five: Lay Out Your Seed Heads

Lay your seed heads on a screen and let them continue to dry. 

And remember that your seeds must be completely dry before you move to the next step. 

It can take up to a week for your seed heads to dry. 

Step Six: Flail the Seed Heads

Spread plenty of clean paper towels out over your workspace along with paper plates clearly labeled with the name of the flower variety.

Then, pull apart or rub the flower head over the paper plate using your fingers. 

Performing this step should release the small, arrow-headed seeds. 

If some of the seeds are still attached to a petal, don’t be afraid to remove them gently.

Do this with all your deadheads, keeping only the seeds and ensuring the varieties don’t get mixed.

Finally, spread the seeds out and let them dry a bit more for a few days. 

It would be best if you allowed the seeds to become as dry as possible.

Read Also >> How to Harvest and Save Viola Seeds

Step Seven: Store Your Seeds

Once all of your seeds have completely dried out, place them in an envelope (paper bags work well in a pinch) for safekeeping. 

Again, be sure to use separate envelopes for each variety and label each envelope so that you know what is in it.

Then, place the envelope of seeds in a glass jar with a well-fitting lid. 

You can then store the envelope in a cool, dry place that gets no sunlight. 

A closet or basement will work well, as long as the area is dry.

Generally, you can store your seeds for up to five years. 

Step Eight: Replant the Seeds Next Year

Once the threat of winter frost is long gone, you can safely plant your seeds outdoors in fresh soil. 

But, just remember to continue to water and tend to them as you would any other seeds.

Read Also >> How to Store Seeds Long Term?


Zinnias are a gorgeous flower and an easy way to spruce up your garden. 

So, if you want some of these beauties for yourself, you just need to follow the steps above and tend to your plants regularly. 

And, if you end up with too many, you can always give them away to family and friends to show off your hard work and put a smile on their faces.

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