Flower Seed Saving: Poppy, Calendula & Cornflower

Summer heat might not be the best time for garden blooms, but it’s a great time for flower seed saving. Seed heads of many flowers dry off in the heat and are ripe for the picking. The seeds of many flowers will self sow without any help at all, but seed saving might still be worth your while. Seed saving allows you to select the best of your crop for improvement over the years. It also means you can share your favourite flowers (as seeds) with your friends! Here we share our seed saving tips for poppy, calendula and cornflower – three beneficial insect attractors for any food garden.

Here is our simple How-To guide for summer flower seed saving


Saving Poppy seeds

Poppy seeds can be harvested once pods dry off and the plant has begun to die. Rattle a few and if you hear them shake inside then they are ready to harvest. Shake seeds out of pods into a bowl. They are a very fine seed, so storage in a really well sealed container or packet is a good idea (envelopes just won’t cut it).

Saving Cornflower seeds

Cornflower seeds are tufty little seeds that can be pulled out of the dried flower heads, tuft side out. Wait too long to harvest them and they will have already dropped and blown away, so we like to harvest them when there are still a few blooms left on the plant but it’s still most dried off. They are small, but can be stored in a paper envelope or seed packet.

Saving Calendula seeds

Calendula seeds will tell you when they are ready by beginning to pop up in your garden before you even noticed they’d set! Gnarly Calendula seeds form a “clawed” ring around the former flower bud. They can be easily collected once the majority are no longer green, and have dried off. They are quite chunky, so are fine in an envelope or recycled seed packet.

Want to learn more about seed saving? Get The Seedsavers Handbook by Jude & Michael Fanton or subscribe to Pip Magazine for a new plant seed saving guide every issue!

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