Saving Seeds: Flowers and Herbs


Herbalist and Raíces Board of Director Member Angela Lugo collecting herb seeds for the Raíces Seed Library

by Nicole Wines

Saving seeds for many varieties of flowers and herbs is simple. Marigold, calendula, cilantro, spider flower, rue, sunflowers, fennel, dill…the list goes on.  For many flowers, both annual and perennial, saving seeds is only a three-step process.

  1. Let the plants flowers dry out or fall off and turn into seed pods.
  2. Harvest these dried flyers (also called seed heads) or pods.
  3. Remove the seeds from the pods or seed heads, clean and store as needed.



Saving Nigella (Love-in-a-Mist), Marigold and Cleome (Spider Flower) seeds from the Raíces EcoCulture Seed Library garden.  These are some example of varieties that are easy to grow and easy to save seed for.

NOTE: Don’t forget to label the seeds for each plant.  Include the variety name, where it was harvested and the date that it was harvested.

This method doesn’t work for every type of flower and herb. However, chances are that if you see the flowers dry out into seed heads and turn into seed pods, you’ll be able to save those seeds and plant them again next year.  If you’ve never grown that type of plant from seed before, do a quick internet search to find out if there any special planting instructions, like a freeze period before sowing, for that particular variety.  It also helps if you know the variety name to check for whether it is an open pollinated or hybrid variety, since seeds saved from hybrid plants may not grow true to type.

We save many of our Raíces EcoCulture Seed Library seeds using this method.  Here is a gallery of flowers and herbs that we have added to our collection and continued to grow year after year in the Raíces EcoCulture Gardens.  If you want to start saving your own flower and herb seeds, these are some that are easy to grow and easy to harvest seed using the method described above.


Raíces Seed Library Flower and Herb Gallery




Want to be a seed saver with the Raíces Seed Library?  We are looking for new members who live in NJ or the surrounding region to help us build our local and regional collection of saved and shared seed!  Beginners are welcome and encouraged.  Sign up for more information here.

You can also obtain open pollinated herb seed from the Raíces SeedsNow Online Seed Shop.  They are also planning on adding flowers to the shop in the coming months.  5% of all purchases from our affiliate shop get donated to the Raíces Cultural Center’s EcoCulture programs and projects.

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