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21.10.09

How to Collect Marigold Flower Seeds

Marigolds are common and inexpensive garden annuals, but that doesn't mean you can't, or shouldn't, collect seeds from your Marigold flowers for next year. This year was the first year in a really long time that I grew Marigolds in my garden. I grew them alongside a few vegetables and herbs as companion plantings. Over the weekend I found myself doing some cleaning in the garden and a took a few minutes to save a few seeds from my potted Marigolds for next year. Marigolds don't produce large or round seeds- which can make figuring out where the Marigold seeds are confusing for the beginner gardener or first time seed saver.

How to save seeds from Marigold flowers

One of the last few Marigold blooms in my garden, past its prime but not yet ready to give up any seeds. How to Collect Marigold Flower Seeds.

Fading marigold bloom how to save marigold seedsMarigolds don't produce seed pods that make it easy to identify where the seeds are and the uninitiated gardener/seed saver may wonder if the seeds have fallen out and been lost. The seeds here are a long ways from being ready for harvesting.


Marigold flower seed heads how to save marigold flower seedsI generally wait until the flower heads look brown and dried like the two Marigold heads in this picture. When they look like these two, the seeds are ready to be collected and saved for next year.

Marigold flower seed head, how to save marigold flower seedsTo remove the seeds of the Marigold pinch the ends with your thumb and index finger of each hand, then pull apart and the seeds will slide out without any problem.

Marigold seeds, how to save marigold seedsThe Marigold seeds are on the left, they are long slender, black and the points of the seeds are very sharp. You can sow the seed directly where you'd like for them to grow next year in the garden or you can bring them indoors and dry them before storing them.

Here's a garden video I made showing how to collect marigold seeds from the plants in your garden.


40 comments:

  1. Oh wow the seeds look so neat :-) Now I could look out for those brown/dried marigolds to get some seeds like you have done here. Your pictures really helps to show how to obtain those seeds. Have another wonderful day!

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  2. Nice post! That's exactly how I do it and store it away in paper bags.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous8:46 PM

      I have saved so many marigold seeds this season that if they were worth a dollar a piece I could pay off the national debt. Well, not quite 17 trillion seeds, but at least in the thousands. I label them with detail about the growth pattern of the parent plant and the color of the flower. (I have one 'monster' plant in my veggie garden that grew about 6' wide and if propped up would be waist high with some 2-1/2" blooms.)

      ENVELOPES: I am so earth-friendly I have been recycling empty envelopes from my mail (bills/junk mail). I usually cut the business size envelope in half, fill them, label them, fold over the open ends and staple (or tape) closed. I've also used the entire business size envelope for some of my collections.

      QUESTION: Is it okay to dry the flowers indoors for seed-saving? I have been cutting the marigolds for small vases. When they 'fizzle out' I let them dry out, then collect the seeds.

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  3. Excellent tutorial MBT!

    I meant to add marigolds to the veggie garden this spring, but never got to it. I usually plant them around tomato plants. . . maybe next year! If I do, I'll definitely be saving the seeds. I never used to save seeds, but have been in the last couple of years, especially since so few plants self-sow in the shade garden with its heavy pine bark mulch.

    Saving seeds is fun, and sure is a money-saver. I enjoy planting my own saved seeds, and enjoy sharing the extras with gardening friends.

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  4. Stephanie, Glad you liked it.

    Urban green, Storing them in paper bags is a good idea.

    Garden Girl, I know Marigold seeds are so inexpensive, but the frugal gardener in me just can't help but save some when I'm growing them. It beats adding them to the list of seeds to buy in the spring.

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  5. I've never collected seeds before, but your post makes it look so easy I'm going to try it with my marigolds first thing in the a.m. Thanks for the lesson. Cheers!

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  6. Hi Avis,

    What? You've never collected seeds before? As a balcony gardener you have a huge advantage because conceivably you could collect the seeds for all your plant every year making your gardening expenses pretty low.

    Do it! Do it! Do it!

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  7. I have saved marigold seeds for several years, it was one of the first I saved, besides zinnias. However, this year the freeze got them, but I am not sure the seeds were fully mature yet. I guess I will still save them and try them out next spring...it was a particularly lovely large puffy orange type. It would be a shame to lose them to the frost.

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  8. GardenMom,

    Hope your seeds matured before the frost got to them. Hope they sprout for you in the spring.

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  9. Brings back memories, I used to gather the seeds and sprinkle it around fields when I was young.

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  10. Hi Anna,

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Anonymous2:23 PM

    I have collected seeds from marigolds for years. They are a beautiful little flower if you really take the time to look at them. To think we getto see the beauty of the flower when it is in bloom and as it fades we get to harvest its seeds for the following year where once agin we will enjoy their beauty and so on and so on. Mr. Brown Thumb your slide presentation is is a wonderful visual making the process easy to understand.
    Life is good,
    Ann Marie

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  12. Anonymous1:50 AM

    i have sown seeds in the pots but not germinate in a weeks time. How long it will take to grow from seeds.

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  13. Anonymous8:45 AM

    Hello,
    Thanx for the info, i've been doing it wrong, collected them far too early and have planted them already, no wonder there no growing yet, LOL. Many thanks for you help.
    CharlyC

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  14. Sorry for the late replies,

    Ann Marie,
    Thanks for the feedback.

    Anonymous,
    It can take up to 20 days. Keep the soil moist.

    CharlyC,
    Glad you found the post helpful and that you have better luck collecting your marigold seeds.

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  15. Great pics. I did save marigold seeds last year, but forgot to plant them this year. Can I still use them next year? Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Jtithofsteere, Yes you can still use the seeds for next year.

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  17. Anonymous11:48 AM

    Thanks for the photos! Am looking forward to saving the seeds from the fantastic marigolds we had this year. They attracted so many honeybees and monarchs this year. Am looking forward to their return next year.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Anonymous9:15 AM

    Hello there! I was wondering what type of marigold you used here. Hope you can answer!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Anonymous, the marigold in the video is Bonanza Deep Orange by the Ball Horticultural Company. The one pictured was just some common orange one that I got at a garden center.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great pics and video! My first deadheading of marigolds was in 1984 when I noticed the flowers surrounding a model home were all dead. I asked the real estate guy if I could have the "heads", thus grooming his garden. Of course, he agreed and I created a lovely planter bed at home, full of marigolds.

    I haven't stopped since! I create massive beds of color everywhere. We've lost a couple of trees to ice storms and my only consolation has been to carpet the now-sunny, grass-less area with marigolds.

    All my friends and family have received my (recycled) jars of marigolds as gifts. I've mixed them up so you never know what is going to appear. I usually grab a new variety each year to plant and then add to the harvest. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  21. I buy my seeds from Thompson and Morgan. Have succeeded in growing the various types of marigolds, however they don't seem to set seed. I do get what seems like seeds. However, the seeds are soft and unlike th seeds that I planted which are a little hard. Any advice?

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  22. I buy my seeds from Thompson and Morgan and they grow very well. However, I have a problem when it comes to setting seeds. THe dried flowers look like they have seeds. When I remove the seeds, they seem rather soft and not hard like the ones I got in the packet. Any advice appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Are you sure they're dry enough? Could they be wet from morning dew or evening moisture of some kind? Maybe try setting out the "soft" seeds to dry and see if that helps any.

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  23. Anonymous4:00 PM

    For some reason my seeds never grow? If I get seeds just say in the ent of july & let them dry is it the same as september & do the same?

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, if you get seeds just let them dry. Whether you get seeds in July or Sept, it works the same.

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  24. Am I mistaken or did I understand you to say that I could replant the seeds now (in the fall) and they will come up next spring? I planted some marigold seeds this year that grew 4 feet tall. I was totally not expecting that! I've saved the seeds and hope to get the same results next year.

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    Replies
    1. In some climates the marigolds will self-seed. Meaning, they can drop seeds in the fall, and you'll have seedlings in the spring. However, if you life in an area with real winters, or have your heart set on marigold seedlings next spring, go ahead and save and store the seeds to plant next year.

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  25. This was very useful! Thanks to your guide, I was able to save a bunch of seeds from my harlequin marigolds last fall, and I gave a bunch to some friends, too! I love saving seeds, but some plants are tricky to tell where/what the seeds are!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Mandy,

      Thanks for the feedback. I'm glad you found the post on how to save marigold seeds useful, and that you're saving seeds with friends. I know what you mean about how tricky it is to know where the seeds are, but once you learn to save seeds from a few different plants, you'll get better at it. Check out the post on how to save seeds http://mrbrownthumb.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-save-seeds.html

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  26. Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for. I suspected that I needed to let them die on the plant, past when I would normally deadhead the flowers. And, with your helpful post, found that this is indeed true. I will change my ways immediately! Thanks for posting.

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    Replies
    1. Hi Karen, Glad you found the post on how to save and collect marigold seeds helpful.

      Delete
  27. Can you post a picture of a baby marigold that has not flowered??? I think I have stray marigolds in my garden, but I want to make sure in case they are weeds!!! =) Thanks!!

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bretta, Sorry for the late reply, but if you look at the video you can see what the marigold foliage looks like both in bloom, and out of bloom. Hope it helps, and by now you probably already know if you had a marigold seedling or not.

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  28. I lurk around flower beds of churches, store parking lots with flower beds,
    people who will allow me to pick off the dying flowers, etc. and pull the seeds out for next year.
    I have a 3 acre field and several flower beds.
    Three acres of various color Marigolds and Coriopsis and Zinia plants will make
    my heart soar like a hawk !

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    Replies
    1. Hi Bill, Glad to hear from another seed saver who likes to prowl parking lots and places like that for free seeds. I hope you get to grow an expansive garden!

      Delete
  29. Anonymous9:08 AM

    I preserved seeds of Marigold and when I planted them in the next year I found that the quality / variety of flower is changed. The new flowers are much smaller and only single line of Petal. Can you please advice me the way to preserve the seeds of Marigold to get the same variety and same quality of flower?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,

      It sounds like you collected seeds from a hybrid or recent marigold introduction. Things like the health of the plant and how mature the seeds were will have some affect on the quality of your seedlings and subsequent plants. But when you get a seedling that looks nothing like the plant you saved seed from, it is most likely because you saved seeds from a hybrid.

      If you want to want to save marigold seeds that come true every year, I suggest starting with an old-fashioned variety. You can buy/acquire them from places like Seed Savers Exchange, or look for some older gardeners in your area who have been saving their own marigold seeds for a while.

      Delete
  30. Anonymous10:49 AM

    Thank you for the information! I planted marigolds in an outside container last year and when I deadheaded the plants, I just dropped the heads into the pot (actually out of laziness!). To my surprise, they came up the next year amongst other annuals I had planted this year! Thus I realized that those little flower heads held the next year's crop. So I started gathering the heads in a separate container for next year - in a rock garden where I can just deadhead them the same way for a new crop each year.

    Marigolds are great where I live - the deer don't like them, so they survive well.

    Question, though...When should I plant them next year? My rock garden is merely a vision in my head at this point, so it would have to be spring sometime. About how early should I plan for?

    Thanks again!

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  31. Anonymous9:32 PM

    Hello there, you say that marigold seeds can be saved for next year... I bought marigold seeds from the Fothergill's , which will be expired in 2015.
    Then I sow them, but they're not sprouting! I experienced another same experience when sowing French Marigold, also from Fothergill's. Nothing sprout ! :(
    I assume marigold seeds cannot be stored too long. Are they? What is your experience when sowing the seeds? Thanks

    ReplyDelete

Hi!

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