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How Do I Collect Clematis Seeds?

Wondering how to collect clematis seeds? It’s best done in late fall, and the fluffy seed pods make it an easy task. Learn how to remove and store the seeds in this post.

How do I collect clematis seeds?

I’m still on my seed-collecting kick this fall and wanted to share some gorgeous pictures I ended up grabbing while I was trying to collect clematis seeds. My mom has three gorgeous clematis vines that are throwing out seed heads left and right, so I swooped in to save some seeds.

Here are a few photos of her plants. We have had a few light frosts, so the plants have nearly died off for the year. And I’m sharing the simple process for harvesting clematis seeds in this post.

It really is easy—and unlike some other plants, clematis seeds are large and a breeze to collect. They basically fall off the plant when they reach maturity. So let’s go over the steps.

dead clematis vine after a frost
dying clematis vine after a frost
fluffy clematis seed heads

For more gardening, check out my posts on How to Grow Beautiful Zinnia Flowers, How to Grow Aster Flowers, and Moonflower Vine Care & Growth Tips!

Things to keep in mind when collecting clematis seeds

If you are harvesting clematis seeds from a hybrid variety, it’s highly unlikely that your collected seeds will look just like the parent plant. It can be a different color, size, shape…basically a different plant.

If you collect seeds from a species variety of clematis—that is, a variety that has not been hybridized—it will likely look just like the plant that produced the seeds. Just something to keep in mind when collecting and saving.

What do clematis seed pods look like?

Clematis seed pods, or seed heads, generally look like fluffy, feathery masses that form on the plant’s vines. They can vary in color, size, and level of fluffiness, but it’s generally easy to spot them on a plant when they are ready for harvesting.

Know that not all seed pods you see will produce an abundance of mature, viable seeds. In fact, some of the seeds might not even be ready—even if they are attached to a fluffy mass.

fluffy clematis seed head
fluffy clematis seed heads

What do clematis seeds look like?

When you remove the feathery seed heads from the plant, you’ll notice the seeds attached to the ends of the feathers. Some of the seeds will be green or green-brown. These are not the seeds you want to harvest.

The seeds you want are the larger dark brown ones. These seeds will also have a longer pointy portion on the feather end of the seed. You can see what I mean in the image below.

You should be able to remove the seeds and feathers very easily. They should basically fall off with just a light touch. You don’t have to remove the feathery tails from the seeds. However, I did.

As a bonus, while I was harvesting my seeds, I had the cutest little praying mantis partner hanging out with me. I was even able to grab a nice pic of it.

praying mantis on a trellis
fluffy clematis seed heads
separating different clematis seeds into small baggies
clematis seeds attached to fluff
clematis seed that isn't viable
Clematis seed that is not viable

How do you dry clematis seed heads?

If you’re able to collect clematis seeds from the plant’s seed heads at the right time, they should be totally dry already. However, as a precaution, it’s a good idea to do what I did—give a bit of extra drying time.

I laid all of my seeds out on a paper towel, making sure to separate them into three groups. The three different plants the seeds came from. Then I let them sit in a cool, dry area for about 24 more hours.

At that point, I packaged them up into little plastic bags, labeled them, and stored them with my other seeds in a drawer. I’ll be doing another post in the spring when it’s time to start them!

separating clematis seeds from fluff
separating clematis seeds from fluff
viable mature clematis seeds

Want to save more seeds? Check out my posts on How to Harvest Zinnia Seeds and How to Save Seeds From Milkweed Pods!

Should I remove clematis seed heads?

You don’t have to. If you don’t remove the seed heads, they will just spread on their own. This is how the plant stays alive—by spreading its seed.

Many of the seeds will die, but some of them will germinate in the spring and grow new plants. My mom calls these “volunteers” in her garden…and I’m hoping I harvested most of her potential volunteers!

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collage that says how to save clematis seeds with pictures of the process

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  1. Lorenza Vidris says:

    I just picked some today! I was wondering if I can give them a head start by seeding them indoors in the spring. I’m in northern NJ.

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