How long are seeds viable?

miscindy(5 SW MI)January 1, 2010

I want to order heirloom seeds from the Seed Savers catalog, but I'm just getting started and won't need all the seeds in the packet this year. I assume I can save them in a glass jar and plant the rest next spring? Is that correct? How many years do they last or is it indefinite? I figured seeds would last forever, but seed packets in the stores always have dates stamped on them.

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

The life viability of seeds depends on the variety and how they are stored. Alliums often dry out after one years so most onions and the like won't last long. Some herbs are the same. But many larger vegetable seeds, when stored properly, will last for years, some as long as 10-15 years although germination rates do tend to fall off the older they get.

Linked below are some previous discussions on this questions you might want to read through and over on the Saving Seeds forum there is a great FAQ on how to properly store seeds. The enemy of seeds is heat and humidy but doing a random germination test now and them (explained in the linked posts) will tell you when it is time to order new ones.

Hope this helps. Be sure to check out all the info on Saving Seeds forum.


Here is a link that might be useful: How long will seeds last discussions

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 7:07PM
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i think they will do fine. I once received seeds from my grandmother and the seeds were packaged for the 80's!!!!! and they grew wonderful. so i think your seeds should just be fine :)

good luck

    Bookmark   January 1, 2010 at 10:11PM
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I have saved seed for a year and some do fine and others don't. The way they are stored has something to do with it but the variety has more.

I have had seed drop in my flower bed and sprout years later. Last year was a prime example. Close to 10 years ago I dug out all my Shasta daisies and last year a plant showed up in my flower bed.

If you want my opinion then save the seed and store it right. You will get most of them sprouting but there may be some that don't.

If they are heritage plants, then you can save seed from your plants and have them come true. I would plant some in pots just for the seed. That way you can be sure to have them all for another year.

    Bookmark   January 2, 2010 at 11:31PM
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