Collect and store seeds

How to collect and save seeds

Collect and store seed from your garden plants, with the help of our step-by-step project.

A table displaying which months are best to sow, plant and harvest.
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
To do
To do

Do not To do in January

Do not To do in February

Do not To do in March

Do not To do in April

Do not To do in May

Do not To do in June

Do not To do in July

Do not To do in August

Do To do in September

Do To do in October

Do not To do in November

Do not To do in December

Saving seed from your garden plants is easy to do and will provide you with plenty to sow next season. Leave a few seedheads on your plants after they’ve finished flowering, removing the rest to conserve the plant’s energy. Alternatively the seedheads may be highly ornamental and can be left on the plants for their display, but check them regularly to collect some of the seed once it’s dry.

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You Will Need

  • Seedheads
  • Secateurs
  • Paper envelope
  • Pen

Total time:

Step 1

Wait for seeds to ripen fully on the plant before cutting off the flower spike. Remove in several pieces if it’s as large as this.

Saving seeds - removing the seedhead
Saving seeds – removing the seedhead

Step 2

Have a paper bag to hand for transporting the flower spike as seeds will quickly fall and be lost if you carry them far.

Saving seeds - placing the seedhead in a paper bag
Saving seeds – placing the seedhead in a paper bag

Step 3

Gently tip the bag out onto a sheet of paper, making sure you remove all the seeds. Pick out any bugs or pieces of debris.

Saving seeds - tipping the seedheads onto white paper
Saving seeds – tipping the seedheads onto white paper

Step 4

Funnel the seeds into paper envelopes, not plastic bags. Write full details of the plant on the envelope, including the date.

Saving seeds - funnelling the seeds into an envelope
Saving seeds – funnelling the seeds into an envelope
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Put envelopes of seed into a sealed sandwich box along with a few sachets of dried silica gel, then pop it in the bottom of the fridge to keep cool until you’re ready to sow them.

Seedlings. Photo: Getty Images.