Harvesting is the final task after a successful flowering season. Marigolds blooms are the only source of seeds for next plantation. So it is an important task to harvest the quality seeds for next season.
What is harvesting? In general collection of the final product by any plant is termed as Harvesting. Every plant has its specific harvest season, so did the marigolds.
How to harvest marigolds? The best way to harvest marigold is by directly picking any mature flower from the plant and then drying and storing it carefully. Harvesting marigold mainly includes three steps – cutting, drying and storing.
Best Season to Harvest marigold Seeds
The final bloom in every variety of marigolds comes at the end of March and continues till the first week of June. So it is easy to understand that you will get lots of healthy flower in summer. This is the best time to collect and harvest Marigold for seeds.
Though you can collect mature flower in any season even in winters if your plant is blooming but the best quality seeds can only be collected in summer. The direct sunlight and high temperature help the marigold flower to grow healthy and fertilize appropriately. So if you want to collect marigold for seeds that can be used in next season then you should only pick the final blooms you have.
Another reason for harvesting in the season end is that to prepare seeds plant will invest all its nutrients and ultimately its task for survival is complete. So if you let flowers to develop seeds in flowering season then your plant will start drying.
checkout our latest post on How to Grow Marigold from Cuttings-with Images
How to harvest marigold seeds
- Before harvesting flowers, you should select the best of the healthiest blooms you have. Healthy marigold flowers will develop healthy seeds and ultimately results in healthy seedlings next year.
- After plucking the flowers separate them according to the varieties you have. Marigold seeds look alike for most varieties so to keep them separated you should place flowers of individual varieties in different containers.
- How to dry marigold flowers? You should place the containers with the flower in direct sunlight and let the flowers dry for at least 4-7 days. Don’t put any lid over the containers as lids may cause fungal growth due to moister.
- After a few days of drying in direct sunlight separate the seeds from the flowers. Each flower will have hundreds of tiny rod-like seeds. The healthy seeds should look dark black and firm.
- Now pick out the useless dead or unfertilized seeds from the group. You can easily identify the complete white or just skinny looking seeds that are not good for germination, remove them carefully.
- Also, remove the dried petals and parts of the flower and the dried stems from the seeds. These are not required for new growth.
- Again dry these seeds in the sun of one day. It will remove the rest of moisture and protect the seeds from any fungal growth.
- You should add a pinch of antifungal powder in the seeds before storing them for next season. The Antifungal powder will protect the seeds from any possibility of fungal growth. Also, try to keep the seeds in a dry place as much as possible.
Save and Store Harvested Marigold Seeds
After a Successful marigold harvest, the next question is how to store and save these seeds. After all, these seeds will grow into new plants the next season, So to store them carefully is very important.
There are several ways to store and save marigold seeds after harvest and the most successful way is that being implemented by commercial nursery and planters. So what is the nursery way to store marigold seeds?
- Proper drying is the first and very important step in storing the seeds. The most commercial nursery only picks the healthy flowers and dries these flowers for more than 10 days in a semi-shaded place.
- Use of quality fungicide or antifungal powder is the next step in the successful storage of marigold harvest.
- For personal use, you can place the seeds in a paper envelope with the proper name of the variety over it and place these packets in a cool and dry place. For commercial storage, the best practice is to store the seeds in aluminum foil packets i.e., these packets having foil in the inner surface. Also, they use quality antifungal powder with dried perlite in bigger containers. The fungicide prevents fungal growth and perlite absorbs any moister in the container.
- Proper aeration of the place where the seeds are kept is also a key factor in the successful storage of marigold seeds.
Aftercare for Harvested Seeds
Though in your home, you need not worry much about the seeds if you have followed the above steps. Still, if you want to be sure then you can check the seed packets once in a month to make sure no fungal growth is seen. This can be easily identified as a brown-black patch over the packets if affected by the fungal attack.
If you see any fungal growth then first put the packet in direct sunlight and check if it has affected the whole lot or not. If the complete packet is infected remove it immediately or if not then change the seeds to a new packet and add some antifungal again.
In the commercial nursery, they keep rotating the packets up and down within few weeks and also dry the seeds after the monsoon or rainy season. Freezing the seeds is not very recommended but can be tried if you have proper experience with reviving the seeds from freeze state.
Related Questions: –
You should also read: How to deadhead marigolds in summer?
How to harvest French marigold seeds? French marigold is the most beautiful and bright variety of marigold. It usually blooms in bunches and lots of flowers grow together that can be harvested easily. Just Pick the mature flowers dry them properly and store them as described earlier. I recommend everyone to choose French marigold because it is very easy to grow and you can have full year around fresh bloom.
How to tell if marigold seeds are good? The seeds you have harvested should be completely dry. It should look dark black in color and must not have any fungal growth. You can press the seed to check if it is firm or not. If it is hard enough to press then it is good to grow and if not –maybe rotten or useless. Though these are only general identification, the best way to check the quality of marigold seeds is to sow few of them is good soil mix and check the germination rate. Usually, at the normal temperature, it should germinate within 3- 4 days if not then there may be some problem with the seeds or the soil mix.
How long will marigold seeds last? If you followed the storage steps carefully and your seeds are not infected, then nothing to worry. These seeds can survive around 2 years in storage packets. 36 -48 month is the maximum lifetime for good quality seeds to survive. I recommend you to keep the seeds only for 8-10 months until next planting season. You can use same harvested seeds in multiple seasons but the quality will degrade. The germination of seedlings may not be good the next time you sow the seed. So use the best quality fresh seeds every time to grow new marigold plants.
What to do with marigolds at the end of the season? At the end of a successful flowering season, we should harvest marigold seeds with proper care for the next season. It is a very important job for maintaining the plant cycle and also to keep the species alive and healthy for the next generation. Now the question arises- what to do with the marigold plant after Harvesting for seeds? This is a very obvious question because after successful harvesting of marigold the plant will start drying. So the best thing you can do is to remove the dead or dying plants. Utilize the pot or place for a new plant to grow and have greenery in your garden. If you are a flower lover then you can grow new seasonal flower plants. You can either grow marigolds for perennial flowering with little more effort.
Meanwhile, check out this article: When do marigolds bloom-Time and Temperature?
The Final question: – Is harvesting marigold necessary? The Answer is no absolutely not compulsory for any individual who grows marigold. But if you grow marigold year-round or every year then this will definitely save a lot of money for you. If you harvest seeds then you need not buy them the next time you want to grow marigolds. I usually recommend harvesting seeds because I like to grow them from my own stored seeds. Also, I don’t want to spend a single penny for new seed purchase. In my opinion harvesting flowers is something that helps us to improve our responsibility towards nature.