How to Collect Zinnia Seeds

I have gone on and on about how much I love Zinnias. I have grown a few in the past but this year I had three different types. As I reflect on the ones that did well, I keep coming back to the mixed Lilliput Zinnias.

How to collect zinnia seeds

The Lilliput Zinnias bloomed in reds, oranges and pinks from  this package of seeds.What I liked about them is they bloomed for months with no deadheading required. I know, that’s one less thing to worry about, right?

How to collect zinnia seeds


This hot pink Zinnia really stole the show. I only planted about eight plants but they branched out nicely with loads of new blooms each week. The blooms that were on the plants had real staying power. So when I wanted to collect seeds I had to really look for a few totally brown blossoms. Lets see, its been almost three months since they were planted and they are still going strong. I am a seed collector and through a bit of research I found out that I could collect seed from this Lilliput Zinnia and it would still come true from collected seed. Was I excited!

How to collect zinnia seeds

I went out with scissors in hand and had to really look down below the clump of Zinnias to find three blooms to pick. Notice the two on the right are nice and brown. The one on the left was faded but not brown enough. Grab a large dish and let’s get started.

how to collect zinnia seeds

All you have to do is pull the petals apart carefully on the dried up bloom. There is a lot of chaff left from all the petals so use a knife or spoon to sort through it all. What you are looking for is the arrow shaped seeds. Each seed is attached to the base of a petal. how to collect zinnia seeds

I placed a sheet of paper next to my dish of seeds and carefully picked each one out. See the seed on the bottom center of the photo? Each seed will look like that. The Zinnia seed should be black on one end. You can even see a few seeds with the pink petals still attached. There are also a few green seeds in the photo that I will not keep. They came from the flower that wasn’t totally dried up. The green seeds are not fully ripened and I doubt they will mature at this point.

how to collect zinnia seeds

This is the seed you want to keep. Out of just two dried up blooms I found about thirty seeds. I will continue to collect the seeds as the plants die back. You can separate your seeds by colour if you can remember which ones they were. I don’t mind a mix of colour in the garden so mine are all blended together. I loved the Lilliput Zinnias so much I am determined to have them everywhere next year. Place your seeds in an envelope and store them in a cool dry place until they can be planted. Remember to label your seeds with the name of the flower and date you packaged them. If you are unsure if you can save seeds from your Zinnias, look at the old seed package to see if it’s an open pollinated seed. If it’s a hybrid the seeds will not come true but open pollinated seeds can be collected and saved from year to year.

27 thoughts on “How to Collect Zinnia Seeds

  1. I am so amazed that you can grow Zinnias there. I hadn’t tried them down here on the Washington south coast as I didn’t think they would grow here. Next year, I’m on it!

  2. Oh my I have been cutting off the bloomed out flower heads and tossing them. Won’t be doing that anymore thanks to you. First year growing them and they turned out beautiful. Still have plenty to start saving the seeds. Thank you! Debbie from N.C.

  3. I planted zinnias for the first time ever. They are so beautiful and the hummingbirds and amazing variety of butterflies have made it just a wonderful summer. I’m so excited to go out and find some flowers tomorrow and try my hand at collecting seeds. Thanks for explaining so well.

  4. Thanks a lot. I bought a few zinnia seeds and planted them in my balcony. They are my first plants “built from scratch” to have actual nice flowers [the flowers on my chilly and tomato plants don’t count 🙂 ].

    I did not know that I could collect my own seeds for my next plantings – your photos make it seem so much clearer and easy. I will try this.

    Not sure if any butterflies will come, though it would be nice if they did – we live on the 17th floor!

  5. Thanks SO much! Yours is the best explanation I’ve found anywhere! I made the big mistake of cutting off my flower heads much too early, so all I have are pre-mature seeds, bad seeds. But, I’ll buy some seeds and look through them with your advice above.

  6. Thanks for the info. Your pictures are a great help. Will try out next year. Have abundant blooms this year so will harvest the seeds. Thanks again

  7. Is it unusual to have a plant with 25 plus flowers at’s huge. I am an awful gardener and usually my zinnia seeds don’t even come up but this one did ,first one bloom than moreand is so heavy I propped it I am very attached to it. Hope to get seeds from it. Is this unique or am I just overly excited? Thanks..

  8. Thank you so much for this explanation. I have been unsure about when to cut the flowers to harvest the seeds. Usually by the time the top petals are brown, the bottom petals have fallen off. On one occasion when there were several consecutive days of rain, the petals started to sprout while on an actively blooming flower. I was so surprised! (They are from Seed Savers and it’s a tropical climate here).

  9. I love zinnias, too! This is my ever first flower planted in our yard. Just started them last year and they grow wonderfully. However, this is my first time to know how to collect seeds. I am grateful to come across this post of yours. Lovely! 🤗

  10. I love zinnias and grow them every year. They are so forgiving — I do almost nothing to them. Just toss the seeds and they grow! This year I’m going to try to save the seeds. Thanks so much for your easy-to-follow post and photos!

    1. Yes you have to catch the petals before they fall off. Not all the petals will have ripe seed but most will. Hope this helps.

  11. Where do you keep the seeds you save? Someone said to put the in a Mason jar in the fridge, where else can they be stored, or is the fridge the best place,

    1. I have a large tote I keep in our frost free garage where I keep my seeds. Its cool in the winter and probably around 40F.I haven’t used the fridge as storage due to lack of space.

  12. This was my first year for zinnias (cut and come again). I love the one plant that puts out peach colored flowers, and wanted to have some for next year. Thank you!

  13. Can I cut a zinnia late in the fall when it still has color, and then dry and collect the seeds? I want to separate colors out.
    Thanks so much. I appreciate your expertise. Love love zinnias

    1. I would recommend let the seeds dry on the plant. Could you add a piece of string to the stem to represent the colour of the plant? Or you could label it with a plant label tied to the lower stem.I often go outside with an envelope and pop the whole flowers once dry into the envelope and write down the colour.

  14. I’ve been growing Zinnia’s and saving seeds for years. They were grandma’s favorites along with Marigolds! This year I grew all different heights up to 3′!!! My neighbor’s are amazed! Oh, I should mention, I live in Granite Falls Washington. Thank you for your beautifully explained tutorial!!

  15. Thank you for all this information. My seeds look pretty small — in your photos they look heartier. Is that because you took the photos really close up?

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