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How to Harvest Zinnia Seeds

Wondering how to harvest zinnia seeds? A packet of zinnia seeds might be cheap, but what’s cheaper than free?! Learn how to harvest seeds from your current zinnia plants to save for next year.

How to harvest zinnia seeds to save for next year!

Zinnias are some of my favorite annual flowers. They make great cut flowers, and I’ve grown them in containers for several years now. But in the new house, I was finally able to put them in the ground. And man did they take off! (See our first new house garden here.)

I did two different types of zinnia seeds this year: a zinnia profusion mix, which is a smaller, more compact variety that has different colors in it. And then a traditional zinnia mix—the kind that gets big and tall and makes great cut flowers.

profusion zinnia flowers in a garden
zinnia flowers in a garden
orange zinnia bloom
large pink zinnia plant

The traditional zinnia mix actually came from my grandmother. She had extra plants that she’d started from seed in little plastic cups, so I took them and popped them in the ground. With very little care, zinnias take off. We were able to cut so many flowers from the plants this summer.

So even though zinnia seed packets are cheap, I wanted to experiment with saving zinnia seeds. If you’re wondering how to harvest zinnia seeds from your current plants to save for next year, it’s easy! This tutorial will show you exactly what to do.

orange zinnias in a garden
pink zinnia bloom

Here’s what you need:

  • Zinnia plants
  • Shears
  • Paper towel
  • Small paper or plastic baggie

And here’s how to harvest zinnia seeds to save!

Step 1: Wait until the flowers brown and die off

The first step is to wait until the flowers brown and die off while they are still on the plant. This is very important. You don’t want to harvest the seeds from cut flowers—dried flowers on the vine are best.

Here’s an example of what the flowers should look like. They should literally crumble as you touch them. If you notice any green, or if you have to force the seeds out, it’s probably a hair too early.

dried zinnia flower head
dried zinnia flower heads
dried zinnia flower heads

And here are two examples of flowers that are drying and dying off, but it’s too early to snip them and harvest the seeds. Give these a bit longer before you harvest them.

drying dried zinnia flower head
drying dried zinnia flower head

Step 2: Crumble the flower heads

After you’ve cut off the flowers, sort them by color if that’s important to you. Them spread them flower heads out over paper towels. Crumble the flower heads and pull the seeds out.

There will be other parts of the flower that crumble out. Just pick those and set them aside. The seeds will be attached to the dried petals, but if the flower is really dry, they’ll probably fall off on their own.

dried zinnia flowers
harvesting zinnia seeds from a dried zinnia flower
harvesting zinnia seeds from a dried zinnia flower

Step 3: Let the seeds dry

The seeds should be largely dry already. However, once you’ve picked them out and isolated them, let them sit unobstructed to ensure they are totally dry for a few days. If they don’t dry completely, they may mold while in storage over the winter.

harvesting zinnia seeds from a dried zinnia flower
Seeds harvested from a dry zinnia flower head

Step 4: Store in a dry place

Pop the fully dried seeds in a small paper or plastic baggie. Keep the seeds in a dry place over the fall and winter so you’re ready to start them in the early spring. Make sure to label by color and type if that’s important to you!

And that’s it. Hopefully this helps you save your seeds. It’s not always about saving the money—I love the idea of keeping plants going from year to year by saving seeds.

bright pink zinnia flower

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pinnable collage that says how to harvest zinnia seeds with photos of the process
pink zinnia flower with text overlay that says how to harvest zinnia seeds

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