Collecting Marigold Seeds
How To Collect Seeds From Marigolds
Marigolds (Tagetes) are an annual flower with seeds that are really easy to collect. Most gardeners will have great success when growing saved marigold seeds the following season.
When you come to collect the seeds you will often find unopened flower buds, open flowers and both green and dried seed heads all on the same marigold plant at the same time. Unopened buds will have a similar appearance to the seed capsules but will be smaller, green and will not have a dried, spent flower attached to the top of them. Be sure not to pick any of the buds by accident or you will miss out in collecting any seed they would have produced.
When selecting which seed heads to collect look for ones that have dried completely all the way to the base, the very tip of the stalk they are attached to should also be completely dry. Seeds can be collected from older capsules where the stem is entirely dried, however these will have a greater risk of the seed being moldy or infested with insect pests. Seed heads which are fully dry will snap off easily by hand but if you have any difficulties just use secateurs to snip them off cleanly.
To remove the seeds from the capsule you need to first break off the dry, spent flower head. Once this has been removed you can then run your fingernail along the length of the dry capsule to split open it's wall, the seeds will then fall out easily. They will be quite clean when collected in this way with very little in the way of unwanted debris to remove later.
Once you have some experience splitting open the capsules you can collect them quickly by splitting them directly over an open brown paper bag and tipping the seeds in. Marigold seeds can sometimes be quite dusty from the remains of the flowers so I like to shake the whole bag vigorously which will cause most of the dust particles to become airborne and float away. Make sure not to breath any of this dust in or wear a dust mask, especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma.
Have fun collecting the seeds from these wonderful, easy to grow flowers.
Fun fact: The average marigold seed head contains approximately 80 seeds (Yes, I counted them).