Saving Seed – Pansies

June 5th, 2009 by David LaFerney Leave a reply »
Pansies are a great cool season flower which bloom through Fall - Winter - Spring in zone 6.  Saving your own seeds saves money and adds to the fun.

Pansies are a great cool season flower which bloom through Fall - Winter - Spring in zone 6. Saving your own seeds saves money and adds to the fun.

Seed saving adds a whole new dimension to your gardening while also saving you money.  Pansies are a welcome splash of color in the cool seasons, but by now are really starting to fade in the warming weather of late Spring.  But before you toss them on the compost pile spend a few minutes to save some seeds for the fall crop.   You’ll need to plant pansy seeds in July or August BTW.

After the bloom falls off you will see the seed pod start to swell where the flower used to be …

This seed pod is starting to turn yellow and is almost ready to spring open.

This seed pod is starting to turn yellow and is almost ready to spring open.

If you wait too long the seed pod will burst and scatter the seeds everywhere – your pansies might even come up as “volunteers.”  A few will also open gently and not scatter the seeds…

A few seed pods will open without scattering their seeds like this one.

A few seed pods will open without scattering their seeds like this one.

What you want to do is pick pods which are just about ready to open, and then contain the seeds as the pods dry and pop.  Pick lots of pods and chances are that some will be good and some won’t – sow many and it won’t matter.

You don’t want them to rot or mold so try something like this – put your seed pods in a sparse single layer on a paper towel on a plate, and cover them lightly with another paper towel.  Keep them in a dry, well ventilated place until the pods open and then remove the empty pods and other debris by sifting, gently blowing or just picking it out.

Allow your seeds to thoroughly dry and then store them in the proverbial cool dry place until they are ready for use.  I like to keep seeds in the deep freeze in an air tight container because they seem to stay viable practically forever, and it also assures that they won’t become infested with weevils.

Pansies are a product of selective breeding derived from violas and there is a fair amount of variability within most varieties.  When you save your own pansy seeds there is no guarantee as to what you will get – other than you will get pansies, and they’ll probably be beautiful.

Happy Gardening!

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3 comments

  1. Denise says:

    Is it better to pick the dying flower off….or does this harm the plant and the seed making process?

    • Denise says:

      I should say is it okay….I was told that when you pick off the dead or dying flowers….it promotes growth? Is that true?

      • Bobbie says:

        if you only pull off the petals you’d be ok i’d guess but don’t cut it back if you want seeds cause just below the flower head is where the seeds form. cutting them back is called dead heading and is used to promote new flowers but typically you wouldn’t do that if you want seed. Happy Gardening.

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