Harvesting Zinnia Seeds: The procedure for collecting zinnia seeds is fairly simple. It can be a little more difficult to find the proper seeds that result in consistent, true-to-color blooms.
Read on to discover tips for streamlining managed zinnia pollination. You will quickly learn how to collect zinnia seeds that will produce colorful, attractive flowers for years.
Harvesting Zinnias Seed: A Genetics Overview
Even the novice gardener can take care of zinnias. This explains why backyard gardens are so commonplace with these hardy flowers.
You may cultivate lovely flowers from zinnia seeds year after year if you can invest the effort in hand-pollinating.
Do you have a variety of open-pollinated zinnia plants to begin with? If you want a continuous supply of flowers in this situation, you must carefully control reproduction.
Zinnias may not generate seeds that grow to resemble the parent plant if you let them reproduce normally. This is because when pollinating these exquisite flowers, insects do not distinguish between different zinnia kinds.
Harvesting Zinnia Seeds from Open-Pollinated Plants
Two parent plants contribute genetic material to open-pollinated zinnias. The seeds will develop into true-to-color flowers if the flowers that breed are of the same variety.
When you correctly comprehend zinnia cross-pollination, a package of zinnia seeds can endure indefinitely. You’ll receive dependable, lovely blossoms for the rest of your life.
Step 1: Separate the Zinnia Variety Flowers
It is essential to separate varieties of zinnia plants in order to prevent cross-pollination.
On commercial flower farms, this typically entails planting various zinnia cultivars in separate greenhouses. Another option is to scatter the zinnia seedlings throughout several fields or at intervals of hundreds of yards.
When flowers begin to bud, the simplest approach to stop pollination is to put them in a cage. This lets you to hand-pollinate the greatest blooms, ensuring the proper genes get passed along.
You should only collect zinnia seeds from healthy flowers on strong plants that don’t have any obvious disease symptoms. Be on the lookout for robust, strong stems and vivid, turgid leaves.
You should also think about the colors you wish to develop further. Look closely at each plant to determine which is producing the most gorgeous flowers.
Step 2: Hand-Pollinate Zinnia Flowers
Your chosen flowers won’t be able to cross-pollinate by themselves until you have entirely enclosed them.
To disperse pollen motes, zinnias typically rely on insect pollinators like bees. You have to manually duplicate the natural pollination process.
Collect pollen gently from between the flower petals using a clean paintbrush or cotton swab. Use this pollen-covered brush to swab all the plants from the appropriate seed variety.
Remember that zinnia flowers release seeds all the way through their full bloom. The reason for this is because zinnias are essentially compound blooms made up of a large number of small florets.
Pollinate each floret of the zinnia flower head if you wish to collect seeds from the complete flower head. Although it can take a little more time, doing so can almost double the seed production per plant.
To pollinate each kind of zinnia, use sterile, distinct tools. Pollen from other species should be avoided as much as possible because it might affect the quality of the seeds that are formed.
Until they set seed, let the pollinated blooms develop in their cages. You can take the bags off once the blooms have finished blooming and started to lose their vivid colors.
Step 3: Permit Flower Heads to Grow
Wait until the zinnia blossoms are fully developed before picking them if you want healthy seeds. You will have sterile, immature seeds that won’t germinate if you harvest zinnia seeds too early.
Brown blossoms are a reliable sign that it’s almost time to harvest zinnia seeds. However, never cut the seed heads until you have verified that they are fully mature.
Step 4: Deadhead Ripe Zinnia Flowers
It is more likely that the children of healthy plants will also be healthy if zinnia seeds are saved from those plants. Cut only healthy plants from which to draw your preferred flowers.
You won’t need to gather a lot of pods because a zinnia flower produces a lot of seeds. To encourage genetic variation, be sure to gather zinnia seeds of the same species from a few separate plants.
Since new flowers will sprout to replace the deadheaded zinnias, you are free to harvest as many seed pods as you choose. As a result, zinnia seeds (and flowers) are a wonderful gift choice because you will have plenty extra.
Step 5. Dry the Zinnia Flowers
Moisture that can cause mold is harmful to all seeds. Children may inherit powdery mildew on zinnia flowers.
These priceless seeds must be shielded from excessive moisture and the development of harmful germs and fungi.
Before you take the seeds from the flower buds, they need to be completely dry. Reduce the possibility of moisture retention by letting the dry seed heads sit in a place that receives direct sunlight.
Some of the dangerous microorganisms that might be adhering to the seed pods can be eliminated by the UV radiation.
On a piece of paper towel, arrange the flower heads in direct sunshine and a well-ventilated area. Leave them for a few days or until you can touch them without the plant material falling apart.
Step 6. Thresh Flower Heads
Separating seeds from plants doesn’t need to be difficult. You can thresh the flower stems as long as you have a stable platform and some elbow grease.
To make it simpler to sift out the seeds, you must break up the dried plant material. To do this, take a few flower stalks and strike the seed heads on a hard surface.
Before crushing the flowers, you can think about putting them in bags. Although the procedure is cleaner as a result, a breeze to remove the chaff is not an advantage.
You can leave the bran on, but if the seeds are stored poorly, this increases the chance of deterioration. If you want to keep the seeds for more than one season, rub the seed coatings off with your fingertips.
Step 7: Dry the Zinnia Seeds.
Keeping your seeds as dry as possible is key to effective seed saving.
You still need to dry the seeds even after you have dried the seed heads. They should be completely dry to prevent the chance of mold growth.
On a paper plate or cookie sheet, distribute the seeds equally, and place them somewhere sunny.
Harvesting Zinnia Seeds: Conclusion
Let the hybrid blooms wither and dry before collecting the zinnia seeds they contain. Hybrid variants don’t require pollination.
Hybrids may surprise you if you expect dependable zinnia blossoms, though. These zinnia cultivars aren’t true to their parents, thus their colors won’t be as intense as those of open-pollinated kinds.