Return to the Growing from Seed Forum | Post a Follow-Up

How to Collect Seeds

Posted by wannabegardeninggirl none (My Page) on
Fri, Sep 23, 11 at 8:23

Hi, this is my 1st post so I hope I've got it right!

Not long ago we moved into a new house with a nice big garden laid to lawn with loads of borders full of flowering plants.

Some I think are echinacea, rudbeckia, aster and many others.

Can I collect the seeds and grow new plants from them.

If so when and how do I collect them.

Then how do I grow the seeds.

I'm really looking forward to getting into garening big time but at the moment I'm a bit overwhelmed so I'm taking it one step at a time and I think my 1st step is growing seeds.

Hope somebody can help this wannabe gardening girl?

Thanks in anticipation.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: How to Collect Seeds

For most flowers, when the stem of the flower starts to dry, I cut the flower off and put it in a brown paper bag. I keep the bag (labeled with the plant name)somewhere in the house, until I feel like separating the seed from the chaff, usually with a large clear bowl on my lap while watching television. My wife is diabetic and has lots of the little test strip containers which I use to store seed in a airtight environment. I make labels with a brother label maker with date and plant name. Al

RE: How to Collect Seeds

Like Al said, when the flowers are finished blooming, they'll either fall off the plants or turn brown. At the base of the flower where it joins the stem, you should look for plump pods to form that will contain seeds. Echinacea seeds are held between the sharp spikey things after the petals fall off. To harvest the seeds, use a pair of pliers to hold the seed head while you poke the seeds out with an ice pick or awl. The seeds are a tan color and shaped like tiny space shuttles.

Rudbeckias are a little easier than Echinacea--the seeds should fall loosely into a paper bowl once the flowers are finished. I use paper bowls & plates so I can spread the seeds out to dry on shelf units inside my garage. I don't bring them inside the house because more often than not there are little crawly things in them.

Many plants produce viable seeds although there are some cultivars that produce seeds that are sterile. You'll gradually learn which are which as you gain more experience. I keep a garden diary every year and add notes about when seeds ripen on various plants I grow.

There are many options for growing perennials and other plants from seed. Winter sowing is the most fun and allows you to "garden" right through the coldest months of the year. There is a winter sowing forum right here on GardenWeb where you can read all about the method. Check out for lots more information and answers to questions about how to get started.

Here's a picture of my container ghetto:

Here's a picture of a winter sown sprout:

Here's a picture of winter sown blooms:

RE: How to Collect Seeds

Thanks Al and gardenweed_z6a I just can't wait to get started.

gardenweed_z6a your container ghetto looks great, this is just the sort of thing I want to do, you have given me inspiration.

I will collect seeds as you have both said but what do I do with them then.

The garden has a 18 foot by 12 foot cedar greenhouse, unheated, with a concrete floor and benches both sides.

Can I grow them in there? If so how do I do it? What do I need.

I'm so green when it comes to gardening (sorry for the pun), but its our 1st garden and I have'nt done anything like this before.

I would be so greatful for help getting started.

Thanks you guys its really appreciated.


RE: How to Collect Seeds

I had to look at your page to find you are gardening in the UK. You might edit your name to indicate that. Your unheated greenhouse should be fine for most seedlings. You might think of a heatpad to get your mix up to about 70 degrees for most seeds to germinate. After germination seedlings should be moved off the heat to grow. Al

RE: How to Collect Seeds

Aha - you are over here, I see. I would suggest that you invest in a book such as the Royal Horticultural Society's 'Growing from seed' which is in RHS practicals series. (Very cheap on Amazon). Different plants need different methods. Regarding the plants you mention, if they are hardy perennials the seed can be sown now, as soon as it is ripe. Use a seed sowing compost (that's what Al refers to as 'mix'), not garden soil, and any suitable containers as long as they have drainage holes. You do not need a lot of expensive equipment. You could either put them in your cold greenhouse, where you will need to water occasionally, or leave them outdoors as long as they are protected from animals and birds. A quicker and even easier way to get new plants is to divide up the existing clumps. You can do this now too.

This forum is mostly used by US gardeners and their climates and tastes can be very different from ours so timings, techniques and gardening styles will be different for them.

Regarding your 'first step' in gardening. By choosing seed sowing you have not gone for the easiest or most fundamental option. I would suggest that as well as this you spend some time on basic techniques of maintenance such as weed identification, when/if to cut plants back, composting and cultivation. Those lovely beds you have inherited will need looking after to keep them happy. And again, US techniques will often not be the same as UK ones.

RE: How to Collect Seeds

Thanks for all your help.

Sorry I should have mentioned I'm in the UK, silly me.

I will try what you suggest flora_uk

I'm well into weeding, love it, even though I have pulled out some "non weeds" its the only way to learn.

I'm just jumping in with both feet and learning as I go.

Aint gardening great!!!

Now I know sometime soon I will need more help/advice. Can I come back for the help of you lovely people???

All the best wannabegardeninggirl from the South East UK

RE: How to Collect Seeds


Ok I've collected some seeds (Leucanthemum I think) and sown them in compost in pots and covered them with Vermiculite - is this right?

Some have already germinated what do I do with them now.

And whats a heatpad calistoga?

How and where do I keep the plants over winter grown from seed? In the greenhouse which is unheated? What about frost and cold dark days?

Do they need watering or feeding?

Anything else I need to know?

Thanks in anticipation of your replies and thanks for your patience!.

wannabegardeninggirle SE UK

RE: How to Collect Seeds

wannabe - if you have germinated Leucanthemum superbum (Shasta) or L vulgare (ox eye daisy) they will not need any protection from a UK winter. As long as they cannot be damaged by animals e.g. birds or squirrels, or washed out by rain, they will be fine outdoors. A cold greenhouse would be OK but not necessary. They definitely don't need feeding and will only need watering if they are under cover. These plants are totally hardy in a UK winter and frequently self seed all by themselves. If there are a lot in one pot or tray you can leave them till the spring and then prick out to individual pots or wider spacing in trays. Or you could do it now if they have a few true leaves. Once the plants are a reasonable size you can plant them out in the garden. This can be done throughout the year in our climate once they are big enough, providing it is not frosty or very hot and dry (ha ha). Don't feed and don't water except when first planted out. Most average UK soils are fine for these tough plants with no additional fertilising. A mulch of compost once a year is all they need - in fact these don't even need that.

I reiterate my recommendation to get a good basic UK based gardening book. All this would be covered in a good text.

Heat pads are not that popular here. If you Google you will find references to arthritis and reptiles, rather than gardening. They are just a way of getting warmth under seed trays. You might see heated propagators in the garden centre. I have one but gardened for at least 20 years before I got one - and that was a present. Left to my own devices I probably wouldn't even have one now. You will also see people on here talking about lighting set ups for indoor growing. Don't bother. They are totally unnecessary in our conditions where we have a long slow growing season and don't need to get our plants ready for a short planting window in the spring. Our climate is very forgiving of lazy gardeners and a week or three either way makes little difference.

Enjoy the current Indian Summer. Flora.

RE: How to Collect Seeds

What a terric post Flora, thank you it explains an awful lot.

I wish I was as experianced as you. I just want to do so much, I find this gardening so exciting.

Yes I've looked at heated propagators and was thinking of getting one, but perhaps not after what you said.

I've got loads of gardening books and I look at gardening sites but none seem to go into detail and detail is the bits I'm missing so I get so far and don't know what o do next!

But Flora you have made a lot of things clear Thanks and Thanks again.

Yup, what a lovely Indian summer - long may it last (well a couple of days more at least).

wannabegardeninggirl SE UK

 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!

Return to the Growing from Seed Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.

Learn more about in-text links on this page here