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 …
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…
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.