Collecting Annual Seeds in Seven Easy Steps

September 14, 2010

As the season winds down and annuals fade away, it’s hard to imagine your garden beds empty of colorful flowers. Collecting seeds from favorite annuals is a sure-fire way to reproduce them for next year. It’s also an economical way to fill your beds with lots of flowers that you may not otherwise afford. Depending on the annual, one pod can hold hundreds of seeds.

Seed collection also allows you the proud experience of propagating annuals from your garden, preserving heirloom varieties, and creating unique holiday gifts.

Supply List:

  • Annual flowers
  • Garden shears or scissors
  • Newspaper or wax paper
  • Cardboard flats or trays for drying
  • Space for drying
  • Containers for storing seeds such as glass jars, small jewelry-size boxes, or envelopes

Collecting Steps:

  1. Collect pods when they have turned brown and died. Snip about an inch below the seed heads.
  2. Place pods in a box or a tray lined with newspaper or wax paper.
  3. Let pods dry completely in a cool, dry place for several days.
  4. Once the pods are completely dry, rub or shake the seeds onto the paper.
  5. Remove any dried foliage or husks.
  6. Carefully lift the paper, slightly roll it like a funnel, and slide the seeds into the container.
  7. Label and date the container and store in a cool dry place.


  • Choose pods from healthy annuals.
  • If you need only a few seeds, paper plates or coffee filters work great as drying trays.
  • Avoid using plastic containers for seed storage as they can sweat. If you’re short on storage space, envelopes use the least about of room.

Copyright © 2010 Dianne Marie Andre



  1. Hi Dianne,

    This information is very helpful. I have some canna that have a few pods and I would like to gather some seeds for future plantings. I’ll attempt to harvest the seeds this way. Sounds easy. Thanks.


    • You may want to do a little research first. Canna is a Tropical Perennial, not an annual. The steps may be different.


  2. Funny how things happen. Just today a friend asked me how I store my seeds. I told her I usually just let nature take care of that process. However, this year I did not have as much natural reseeding take place. Your article arrived just in time for both of us. Thanks again.


  3. Last year I had some beautiful pink lily-type flowers that when they were through blooming had dry pods at the top. I usually keep the tags off my flowers and wanted to tell you the exact name of the flower. Did not find it in my drawer?
    I took some of those seeds and popped them down in some potting soil in a pot and this year had some beautiful pink blooms.
    This is a perennial plant and I hope to get out there and check for more seeds as the lilies have quit their bloom.


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