A year ago, a forgotten bundle of dried celosia flowers paved the way to the growing from seed journey that was 2020 for me. I was able to harvest a bunch of seeds from the flowers, all the while not being so sure that it would end up working out. I planted the seeds in the spring thinking that there was a good possibility that none of them would ever sprout. However, sprout they did & the flowers later followed. These were the first plants that I have ever grown from seeds that I harvested myself! It goes without saying that I was so proud of those little flowers & I couldn’t wait to start the process all over again this year.
Like I said in my drying celosia flowers article, I ended up harvesting the seeds as an experiment last year. For the past few years, I’ve been drying my celosia flowers in the fall so I can use them in Christmas decorations. I ended up harvesting the flowers too late in 2019. They were already browning due to an early cold snap. I hung them to dry anyway, hoping that they would still dry a pretty red color. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen & they ended up drying brown, so I couldn’t use them in my holiday decor. Luckily, I didn’t throw them out immediately & ended up hanging them back up in the garage to be thrown out later. I came across them again a few months later after I had already been bit by the growing from seed bug.
I wondered if I would be able to harvest viable seeds from flowers that had dried out months prior. I tried to find information about harvesting from dried celosias in particular, but there really wasn’t a lot of information out there. So, I figured that I had nothing to lose & might as well just give it a try. I was able to shake out a bunch of the tiniest seeds you ever did see. I tried to sort out any extra fluff & saved them in an envelope. I had plans to test them in water to see if they were viable, but I never got around to it. I also planned on writing an article about it last year, but considering that I wasn’t sure it would work, I didn’t want to give out bad advice if it didn’t.
But, you already know by now that it worked! You bet your biddy that I did it all over again this year. Last fall, I clipped a couple of bundles of brilliantly red celosia flowers, dried them to perfection & used them in my Christmas wreaths. I was also able to harvest the rest of the celosia flowers that had already hit brown town. I bundled them up & let them dry upside down in my garage for a few months. Finally, the time came when holiday season was behind me & I had time for a gardening project.
Just like last time, I put down a napkin on my workbench & carefully shook each flower over it. A few of the seeds easily release from the flowers this way. But, I took it a step further & rustled up the flowers with my hand in order to get more seeds. Next up, was pulling the flowers completely apart to get as many seeds as possible. That was a messy endeavor! I pretty much need all of the flower seeds, even if it means that I have to handpick out flower petals & stems. If I’m going to do something then I’m going to make it worth it.
I was able to get about 130 seeds this year! Far more than I was able to harvest last year. I poured all of them in a labeled envelope & put them in a cool, dry place with all of the rest of the seeds that I saved this year. I can’t wait to plant them, spring can’t come soon enough over here! This means that I repurposed every single celosia flower that I grew in 2020. All of them were either reused in Christmas decorations or were used to harvest seeds. Furthermore, the celosia flowers that I will grow this year will be grown from seeds that I harvested from flowers that were grown from seeds that I harvested! What a mouthful! Basically, the 2021 celosia flowers will be the grandflowers of the 2019 flowers. How fun is that?!?!
Hopefully, this taught you a thing or two about not only harvesting celosia seeds, but also giving a gardening project a go even if you have your doubts. It’s always worth a try, especially if the project won’t cost you a cent. Gardening, after all, is just one colossal experiment where you just learn as you go. Who cares if you fail? Success doesn’t exist without failure anyway. Go ahead & take that gardening leap! Happy gardening, everyone!