How to Harvest Marigold Seeds & Get Free Flowers

The days are starting to get cooler & shorter, which means that autumn is quickly approaching. My marigolds are growing stronger than ever right now, but by early November they’ll be kaput. ‘Tis the season to start harvesting seeds for next year. I’m planning on harvesting seeds from all of my annual flowers & veggies this year. My goal for next year is to grow most of my annual & veggie plants from harvested seeds. First to the plate are marigolds. So, how do you harvest marigold seeds? I have you covered, keep on reading.

marigold seed picture
Marigold seeds are the weirdest looking seeds that I have ever seen.

Materials

  • Spent marigold flowers
  • Scissors or pruners
  • Napkins/Paper towels
  • Envelope

Method

  1. Search your marigold plants for any spent flowers. They should be dry, but still attached to the plant. 
  2. Cut off the flowers from the stems, making sure to leave the bases in tact.
  3. Carefully pull the flower petals from the flower. The seeds are underneath the petals & look like white & black rods. Remove any attached flower petals.
  4. Place the seeds on a napkin or paper towel to dry completely for a few days. Discard the rest of the flowers.
  5. Once the seeds are completely dry, place them in an envelope, label it & store in a cool/dry place until they are ready to be planted in the spring.

Tips

  • Be careful when removing the flower petals. A little pressure goes a long way.
  • Make sure to date your seed envelopes & include planting information.
  • Removing spent flowers encourages the marigold plant to grow new flowers, a.k.a. deadheading. 
spent marigold flowers
A handful of spent flowers of varying degrees of spentness.

I was able to harvest about 100 seeds per marigold flower. Yep, 100 seeds per flower! I couldn’t believe my own eyes when I saw how many seeds were in one single flower. I promptly decided that I will never pay for marigold seeds ever again, not when I can easily harvest my own seeds for free. I feel like my marigolds are just full of seed gold now. Why pay for seeds when you can harvest from the flowers that you already have? Plus, you get the additional benefit of being able to grow plants from plants that you have already grown before.

spent marigold image
You would never know that this flower is filled with seeds.

I grew marigolds from seed for the first time ever this year & it was one of my best gardening decisions ever. Prior to that, I had always bought a lot of marigold plants, since I line my raised veggie bed with them to keep the critters at bay. I also always plant up a border in my front walkway with a mix of marigolds & other flowers. I decided to grow them from seed this year to save some money. To my surprise, they have grown far better than all of the marigold plants that I bought in the past. 

harvesting marigold seeds image
A little pulling on the flower petals & we have seeds!

It took a little while for the seeds to get going & for a bit there I thought that they might never sprout, but once they finally sprouted, they took off. I have never had marigolds grow so big before. Almost every plant is just loaded with blooms, whereas before my marigold plants woud remain relatively small & would top off at 4 flowers at the most. It’s like a little bit of magic was included in my seed packets. Hopefully, I can harvest a little of that magic this year as well.

marigold seeds image
& even more seeds!

Marigolds have always held a special place in my heart. They were my grandma’s favorite flower, so I always think of her whenever I plant them. She’s also the reason why I make sure to plant my front walkway border with a mixture of marigolds & other flowers. I plan on saving quite a lot of marigold seeds now that I know how easy it is & how many I can get from a single flower. Just 10 flowers will give me 1000 seeds! This way I will be able to plant even more marigolds throughout my garden next year. My grandma was quite thrifty, so I imagine that she would be very proud to hear about my money-saving marigold plan.

harvesting marigold seeds picture
Marigold seeds piled by flower.

Well, what are you waiting for? If you have your own marigold plants then you are also sitting on a goldmine of free seeds. Go out & harvest them! Happy gardening, everyone!

Like this article? Check out my 2020 seed catalog review.

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