Friday, November 18, 2016

Don's Blog Saving Zinnia seeds 11-18-16

I don't usually pass out tips but this is  easy and it works. As you know zinnias come in many different colors so separate the dry flower heads into color groups. The flower head has to be completely dry. Purists claim dry flower heads on the branch produce the best but others say that the "picked" flower head works fine if it dries for 2-3 weeks. If it is completely dry it sort of disintegrates in your hand as you separate the petal/seed unit from the flower head. The zinnia seed is part of the base of the petal. If the unit is not dry then the seed is green or white and is too immature (or non-pollinated) to produce the plant. See how the arrowhead seed is greenish and pale.

For the seeds to be viable they should be dark brown to light black. That is the color of the seeds coming from commercial packets. Once the flower head is dry then a finger pinch of petals can be separated from flower head and the seeds will be underneath. By taking the seed bunch in in the other hand and twisting the dessicated seed bunch it can easily be separated from the petal "chaff" which can be discarded.

The seeds can be put in a marked envelope and kept dry for next years planting. Zinnia seeds are not especially expensive but the seed packets do not separate the different zinnia types. This process will allow you to have more of the specific colors and forms that you enjoy.

No comments: