Saving Seeds From Zinnias


We ended summer on the farm by pulling the last of cut flowers and saving seeds. The last of this project was saving seeds from zinnias.

pink and orange zinnias in full bloom from our country garden

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My mom and I love flowers. We are working on opening the farm up to the community but while we are still in the process, we are working on our flowers specifically. This year we grew zinnias, sunflowers and cosmos in the new beds only so that we could find which of those we like. We quickly learned sunflowers easily rank first on our list, but we truly love them all. Because of this, we want to establish a larger place for sunflowers on the farm. I saved our seeds from our sunflowers and plan to expand with a few other varieties as well!

To close up this summer season here on the farm, the last seeds I saved were from the zinnias. Now some of these seeds are hybrids and some are not. So how they will come up next year, we shall see. But we are still figuring out zinnias, what we like, where we want them, etc.

Our plan with the country flower portion of the farm is to have flowers wherever we like rather than a large cut field. This makes it easier to tuck flowers in around the existing barns/structures, use them as landscaping and for picking making them multipurpose, and to make for a better picking experience. I want to wonder around the farm picking flowers by the barns and along the walking trails. I want to set up different vignettes- fill it with flowers, country signs, water features and antiques. I want the farm to provide an experience of bringing a picnic lunch and finding a perfect spot for a lunch break tucked into a secret garden. All of this seems more nostalgic than a giant field of flowers out in the hot sun.

redheaded baby smelling the zinnias in our garden

Of course, scenes like this make me always want the garden to be blooming. And it makes me want to put gardens all over the property. This sweet baby stops and smells any and all flowers. Fake, real- it does not matter to her. The garden is her favorite place to be. Well, besides with the chickens, goats, or cowboy our barn cat.

Having a baby in the garden and on the farm has made this all so much more worthwhile. She loves morning and evening chores no matter the season, walks through the trails or down to see our neighbors cows, and building the farmhouse or barns. She’s curious and interested in every project we do here. I hope these are the fond memories of the good ‘ole days she tells her babies and grandbabies about.

I’m getting side tracked with daydreams folks. I’ll rail it back in a little… but just a little ­čśë

Saving seeds is relatively simple with the right timing and plants. This is the first year we are saving seeds and we are experimenting with all different things we have grown. Saving seeds from zinnias has proven to be the same.

Since it is officially fall, I had made up a batch of old fashioned apple cider and while the baby napped I saved zinnia seeds and sipped on hot apple cider. The perfect afternoon to close out summer and welcome fall.

Saving Seeds From Zinnias

The first thing I did when saving seeds from zinnias was to let my zinnias dry as long as possible on the plant. I wanted to make sure that the seeds have plenty of time to mature. I didn’t cover my blooms with bags but you could to protect from critters and birds. I thought about this after I saved seeds from our sunflowers.

Once dry, they will look pretty rough. Brown and crispy. Now some I harvested a little sooner than this and I believe I could have more issues with germinating when planting next season. It’s all trial and error for me. I like to try things for myself and see if what pinterest says is true or not, ya know?

I trimmed off all of the heads of my zinnias with pruners and gathered some from another farm. The seeds are actually in the petals of the flowers. I laid out some fabric/tea towel across our farmhouse table to catch the extra grime for easy cleanup. If the zinnias are really dry, the petals will fall out or clumps can be pulled out pretty easily.

saving seeds from zinnias

I found that if they were not really dry and I pulled even a bit too aggressively, I would pull the petal out without the seeds so be easy.

Pull the petals out and on the end there will be an arrowhead shaped seed. You can seperate the two.

zinnia seeds I am saving

I left mine to dry on the fabric/tea towel for the day. Then I stored the seeds in my seeds packets (I have them up in the country community for y’all) with my other four o’clock seeds and sunflower seeds. I made sure to label each with the name (if I knew it) and/or the color. I have quite the collection at this point just from a few plants!

I love how simple it is to collect and save the seeds from the flowers we are already growing here on the farm. I can keep the seeds from my favorite varieties, replant them and grow them year after year. Eventually, these seeds will be handed down to my daughter and continue on. This has also inspired me to really stick with the heirloom varieties when I do purchase so that I know I can save seeds and get the same exact bloom from the seeds.

A few heirlooms I am looking at are Queen Lime Zinnias and Polar Bear Zinnias.

Be sure to grab a free printable seed packet from the country community page. You can sign up below and get your own seed packets!