Zinnias

ifraser25(z11 Brazil)April 28, 2012

Nobody really answered my questions when I posted earlier so I asked a gardening friend. Here is a summary of what she said.

1. To collect the seed wait till the flowers have wilted and dried on the stem. Then remove the dead flower head.

2. Gently pull away the lower dry petals from the seedhead. There will be a pointed seed attached at the base. You don't have to remove the petal from the seed - you can pull them apart - but a lot of people think it's neater.

3. Check the seed is fertile. Fertility can be as low as 1 or 2% if there are few pollenators, but is usually about 30%. You can easily check which seed is fertile. Fertile seed is thicker and fatter than infertile seed and darker in color - dark grey/brown. Infertile seed looks thinner and poorer and is usually a lighter grey/brown color.

4. If you have any doubts whether the seed is fertile or not do the drop test. Drop the seed from a height of about 6 inches (15cm) onto a hard surface, if you hear a hard click when it makes contact it is fertile. If there is little or no sound it is probably not.

5. Sow the seed directly into the ground as soon as possible in warm conditions. Germination is fast. Don't try and transplant. If plants begin to look tall and lanky pinch out the main stem, though with modern dwarf varieties this is often not necessary.

Good luck - Ian.

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luvahydrangea(Albany, NY 5)

I didn't know all that, I have a bunch that I saved and am waiting to sow. Thanks for posting! :)

    Bookmark   April 29, 2012 at 8:43AM
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zen_man

I frequently save zinnia seed in the "green seed" stage, when the petals still have come color but the seeds have fattened up. I either plant them immediately for a quick second generation, or dry them for storage.

There are at least two advantages to saving zinnia seeds in the green seed stage. First, you give birds much less chance to eat your zinnia seeds. Second, you avoid the danger of a wet spell pre-germinating your zinnia seeds in the seedhead. And, if you are trying to grow a second generation of zinnias, you get several weeks headstart by gathering the seeds in the green stage and planting them immediately.

ZM

    Bookmark   April 30, 2012 at 12:21AM
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Campanula UK Z8

um, yep, i do the same with primula and hellebore...oh, and pulsatilla - sow them early and green.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2012 at 6:45AM
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