Harvesting is the final task after a successful flowering season. Marigold blooms are the only source of seeds for its plantation. So it is an important task to harvest quality seeds for the next season.
What is harvesting? The collection of the final product by any plant is termed Harvesting. Every plant has its specific harvest season, and so did the marigolds.
How to harvest marigolds? The best way to harvest marigolds is by direct picking mature flowers 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 near the equator. In the cold region, they continue blooming till mid-September. So it is easy to understand that you will get lots of healthy flowers in summer. This is the best time to collect and harvest Marigold for seeds.
Though you can collect mature flowers in any season even in winter if your plant is blooming. Although 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 marigolds for seeds to grow in the next season then you should only pick the final blooms of the season.
Another reason for harvesting at the season’s end is that the plant will invest all its nutrients to prepare seeds. Ultimately its task for survival is complete after seeding. So if you let flowers develop seeds in the flowering season then your plant will start drying early.
checkout our latest post on How to Grow Marigold from Cuttings-with Images
How to harvest marigold seeds
- You should select the best of the healthiest blooms for Harvest. 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 flowers in direct sunlight and let them 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 completely 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 for a day or two. It will remove the rest of the moisture and protect the seeds from any fungal growth.
- Add a pinch of antifungal powder to the seeds before storing them for the 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
Once harvesting is done, it’s time to think about 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. The most successful way is the one that every commercial nursery and planter follows. 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 healthy flowers. They dry these flowers for more than 10 days in a semi-shade.
- The 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 have foil on the inner surface. Also, they use quality contact fungicides with dried perlite in bigger containers. The fungicide prevents fungal growth and perlite absorbs any moister in the container.
- Proper aeration of the storage space is also very important. It is 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. just follow the above steps carefully. Still, if you want to be sure then check the seed packets once a month to make sure no fungal growth is seen. Fungal patches are easy to identify as a brown-black patch over the packets or in the lining.
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 else 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 a few weeks and also dry the seeds after the monsoon or rainy season. Freezing the seeds is not recommended but can be tried if you have proper experience with reviving the seeds from the frozen state.
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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 the French marigold because it is very easy to grow and you can have a 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 –may be rotten or useless. Though these are only general identification, the best way to check the quality of marigold seeds is to sow a few of them in a good soil mix and check the germination rate. Usually, at the normal temperature (21-25 degrees), 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 everything is good. These seeds can survive around 2 years in storage packets. 36 -48 months is the maximum lifetime for good-quality marigold seeds. I recommend keeping the seeds only for 8-10 months until the next planting season.
You can use the 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. Therefore use only 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 keeping the species alive and healthy for the next generation.
Now the question arises- what to do with the marigold plant after Harvesting the seeds? The plant will start drying after the successful harvesting of the marigold. So the best thing to do is simply 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.
Meanwhile, check out this article: When do marigolds bloom-Time and Temperature?
Is harvesting marigold necessary?
This is The Final question: – Is harvesting marigold necessary?
The answer is no, it is absolutely not compulsory for any individual who grows marigolds. But if you grow marigolds 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 on new seed purchases. In my opinion harvesting flowers is something that helps us to improve our responsibility towards nature. It will save you some extra bucks or you can also earn some by reselling the seeds.