Planting season is here. Vegetable or flower seed will be purchased in great amounts and, in many cases, some seeds will be left over. These can be used at a later time – how much later depending on how well you store them.

For best results, store seeds in moisture-proof containers such as ziplock bags, glass jars and 35mm film canisters. Before sealing, add a packet of desiccant; it will help remove moisture.

Be sure to label your containers with the seed description and date. They will be good for years when stored this way.

This method will also work on your “home grown” seeds if you dry them properly before storing.

Rosemary Moyers, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


Saving flower and vegetable seeds was done routinely not too many years ago. Sharing seeds with friends and neighbors was both helpful and enjoyable. Seeds are expensive and, with the exception of hybrid plants, can still be saved today. If properly gathered and stored, these seeds will produce beautiful flowers or delicious, nutritious vegetables. Saving seeds also helps to preserve some heirloom strains that are no longer commercially available.

After the flowers fade and the seedpods dry, break them off and place the seed heads on newspaper in a tray. As they continue to dry and the seeds begin to fall, they can be stored in film canisters or other small containers. Be sure to label and store in a cool, dry place. When it is time to plant, you will have an inexpensive start to yet another year of gardening pleasure. And this joy of gardening can go on indefinitely as you plant again, save again, and share with those around you.

Lynda Minatrea, former Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service


What is a good way to harvest and store seeds? You’ve had a bountiful flower garden this year and want to keep seeds, or maybe it is only one plant that you really want more of, or friends ask for a start of some of your plants.

  • Remember the plant or mark its location in some way. Often plants look different at various stages of their life cycles. Our memories often fade, unfortunately.
  • Harvest the seeds when they are mature.
  • Allow the seeds to dry in a cool, dark, dry location. Placing seeds on a wire screen allows air to circulate through and around them.
  • When seeds are dry, shake them loose from other plant materials if necessary.
  • Store the seeds in something that allows them to breathe. Paper works well. The little 2 ½ x 4 ½ brown coin envelopes are excellent.
  • Label the envelope with the seeds’ names. You may want to add the date of the harvest and planting specifics, such as full sun, part sun, shade, etc.
  • If you are like me, make some notation to yourself as to where you put the seeds so you’ll remember when planting time comes around.

Laquita Showen, Smith County Master Gardener
Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service

Posted in Propagation