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Saving Different Types Of Marigolds
There are two main types of marigolds: open-pollinated and hybrid varieties. If you want the new plant to be an exact replica of the one you collected the seed from, opt for open-pollinated plants, which include heirloom varieties. The seeds from these marigolds will carry all the same traits as the parent plant.
On the flip side, hybrid marigolds are the result of crossing two different types of marigolds. The seeds from these plants will not mirror the parent plant. Instead, they’re likely to resemble one of the parent plants that were crossed.
While you can still save seeds from hybrid marigolds, bear in mind that the plants grown from them may not precisely match your expectations. However, you might end up with a color or variety you find even more appealing!
It’s worth noting that most marigolds available in stores, like African or French Marigolds, are typically open-pollinated. This is something to keep in mind when selecting your seeds or plants for planting in the spring. (Affiliate Link: Eden Brother’s Marigold Seeds)
How To Save Marigold Seeds
When To Harvest Seeds
As your marigolds enter their blooming phase, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on the fading flowers. You’ll observe the petals starting to dry and shrink. The seedhead, which is the base of the bloom, will also begin to take on a brown hue.
If you pluck one of the petals, you’ll notice a slender attachment. This is referred to as the “achene.” One end will be white, while the other end will be black – and this black part is the actual marigold seed.
If the achene is all one color, it means the seeds aren’t quite ready for harvesting. Let the bloom dry out a bit more on the plant, and check again in a couple of days. If one end is black, simply snip or gently pull off the seedhead to collect the seeds. They usually come off quite easily with a gentle tug.
Drying The Seeds
The next step involves extracting the individual seeds from the seedhead. If the seedhead is sufficiently dry, you should be able to gently pull the achenes out by grasping the base and tugging on the dried petals.
You don’t have to separate the dark seed from the rest of the achene. Leave them together as one piece. Lay them flat on a paper towel or plate, giving them the time they need to fully dry.
Ensure you keep the seeds in a dry spot away from direct sunlight. It might take about a week for them to completely dry out. Once dried, they should easily snap in half. Failing to let them dry thoroughly could lead to mold issues during storage.
Long-Term Seed Storage
It’s crucial to avoid using plastic for direct seed storage. Plastic can trap moisture, potentially leading to mold formation. Remember to label the envelope with the specific marigold variety and the date. This simple step will spare you from any potential frustration or mix-up come spring.
When it comes to storage, choose a cool, dry, and dark spot for the seed packets over the winter. If you have the available space, the refrigerator is an excellent option. However, steer clear of the freezer, as freezing can hinder seed germination.