Collecting Snapdragon Seeds (Tips for Harvesting & Saving)
Snapdragons boast beautiful colors and a long-lasting, hardy bloom season. Collecting snapdragon seeds is a lot of fun! The dried seed pods truly resemble tiny human skulls!
The antirrhinum skull looks kind of spooky but snapdragons are a truly interesting and unique seed to collect.
If you’re planning on harvesting snapdragon seeds, the waiting is the hardest part! I find in our zone 6 gardening region, snapdragons are pretty resilient.
They grow well with little care and continue growing for a long season.
When the snapdragons finally do go to seed, it’s such fun collecting the seed heads!
What Do Snapdragon Seeds Look Like?
Snapdragon seeds look like tiny black or dark brown pellets with mostly straight edges. Snapdragon seed pods look like miniature brown skulls with gaping eye sockets. You will find snapdragon seeds inside the Antirrhinum skulls.
Growing Snapdragons in Zone 6
Snapdragons are a common garden flower that does well on its own, even during mild drought. Snapdragons, or Antirrhinum, are easy to recognize due to their “face” like a dragon, and the “jaw” where you can pinch and make the “mouth” open and close.
Most snapdragons tend to be self-seeding annuals, meaning they often drop seeds that survive over the winter and sprout in the spring. (And here’s more about that, if you’re wondering about snapdragons as annuals or perennials!)
This rang true for me for a year or so, as I didn’t plant any new snapdragons where they sprung up.
Delightfully, they came up on their own roughly where I collected seeds from the previous year’s snaps!
Also being honest, these grew perfectly left to their own devices. Even in the heat of summer, they thrived whether I watered them or not!
Unfortunately, that year I forgot about collecting snapdragon seeds!
Now I’ve luckily got a new seed packet so we’re going to start all over.
By the way, if you are a seed-collecting machine like me, be sure to check out my post Need Seeds – 7 Places to Get Quality, Cheap Seeds! You’ll be all stocked up in no time!
As a child, I remember playing with orange snapdragon flowers, pinching their middles so the dragon’s mouth would open and close.
Well, guess what?!
You can do the same thing with the really cool antirrhinum skull seed pods collected from snapdragons. The snapdragon seed pods look almost exactly like tiny human skulls!
(My photo’s upside-down and I’ll update with a better one this year!)
Odd but true!
You can pinch the center of the antirrhinum skull and it will again look like the mouth is opening and closing!
I haven’t grown snapdragons in a few years since my kids were into gardening, but this summer we will!
I can’t wait for them to experience the fun of the dragon’s mouth and the neat antirrhinum skull seed harvesting.
Harvesting Snapdragon Seeds
Our daughters love going around the gardens and picking seed pods or popping seeds out of them!
I can’t wait to introduce my kids to harvesting snapdragon seeds this year!
The last time I harvested snapdragon seed pods myself, my kids weren’t even a twinkle in my eye yet…
To collect your own snapdragon seeds, simply visit your garden throughout the summer as you water your plants and keep an eye out for round, brownish bubbles on the flower stalks.
Anything that looks dried out and brown could potentially have seeds inside!
How to Harvest Snapdragon Seeds
First things first, it’s generally best to harvest seeds on a sunny day. If it’s raining on the day that I want to collect snapdragon seeds, I’ll wait until a sunnier, dry day.
- Inspect your snapdragon plant for ripe seed pods. Again, these resemble little brown skulls.
- Gently twist each brown nubby until you can free it from the flower stem. (You may also cut the stalks with many seeds if your plant is bushy. Just avoid snipping away blossoms you still want to go to seed.)
- Place all the seed pods inside a paper bag or small bowl.
- Take seeds inside and transfer to a small tray for drying. The plastic lid of a Chinese food container works very well so seeds can dry out for a few days. Remember to move them around a bit for best results.
How to Remove Snapdragon Seeds from Skull Pods
When collecting snapdragon seeds, I like to keep the teeny, tiny flower seeds inside their skull-shaped seed pods until I’m ready to plant them. That being said, it is still really fun to break open the seed pods! Here’s how:
- Sit down at the table with a clean work space in front of you. Work over top of a tray or cookie sheet if possible.
- Break open the seed pods one by one. Then, shake out the teeny, tiny seeds into a seed saving envelope.
- Label your baggie or envelope with a marker. Be sure to write down the date you collected them or the intended growing season.
- Save your envelope in a cool, dry place. Some people save seeds in the freezer. With two kids, that doesn’t work here! We keep ours in our nice, cool basement inside photo storage boxes!
Collecting the snapdragon skulls, you can gather entirely more seeds than you’ll ever use in a single harvest!
Snapdragon seeds are great for seed trading and seed swaps. I am so excited to grow them again this year!
How to Store Snapdragon Seeds
Once you’ve collected them, saving snapdragon seeds is a snap! (Hah, couldn’t resist!)
Here are a few tips for storing and saving snapdragon seeds.
- Allow the seed pods to fully dry. I like to lay my seeds or seed pods out on a tray to dry for at least four days. This helps to ensure any moisture evaporates for better seed storage.
- Save the seed pods intact! Since snapdragons have that very cool skull seed pod design, I like to keep them in there until I’m ready to sow. It’s fun to see them and they stay nicely contained!
- Store the seed pods in a paper envelope. We’ve recently received beautifully colored coin envelopes for seed saving as part of a Christmas gift. I can’t wait to use them for saving snapdragon seeds and other flowers, fruits, and veggies!
- Label the envelopes. If possible, label the variety or color of the harvested snapdragon seeds. You may have hybrids, so you can also list attributes or just make your best guess.
- Don’t forget the date! If you’re harvesting snapdragon seeds at the end of the season, label them “saved for 20XX growing season,” listing the following year as the growing season.
Read More: If you like this post about Snapdragons, be sure to check out how to pinch snapdragons! And, you may also enjoy our post on Propagating Lilies from Scales!
Can you save green snapdragon seed pods?
Depending on the maturity, you may find viable seeds inside green snapdragon seed pods. Allow them to dry thoroughly and label them as far as the variety. You can plant them again come springtime.
I had a reader reach out about this so I tried it. The tiny green seed pod makes a sound like the world’s smallest maraca. I am hopeful these itty bitty seeds will germinate and produce beautiful snapdragon flowers!
Saving Snapdragon Flower Seeds
Collecting flower seeds from snapdragons is almost as rewarding as it gets! The hardest part is waiting to see the brand new season of blooms!
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What kind of snapdragons do you plan to grow? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!
10.03.22 – Updated to Blocks. Fixed spacing. Added new seed pod and snapdragon pictures, suggested snapdragons, link to snapdragons perennials/annuals post, and added new heading for green seed pods and closing.
Hi we didn’t know to wait and just cut the seed pods off to dry out. Will they be ok?
Hi Helen, It will likely depend on how mature the seeds are. How early did you remove the pods?
I’ve discovered some “green seeds” will in fact be okay – such as zinnia seeds – and sometimes you can grow more than one generation of seeds in a growing season. Let them dry a bit as you planned. Fingers crossed for your snapdragon seeds – you can try the wet paper towel method I posted about on the blog to check germination rate if you like. Please keep us posted!
I have collected seeds from my bushy snapdragon plants several times. Just today I got a pod from one of my my taller plants. Some of them were black and some were white. I’ve never seen this before. Do you think they will grow?
In Montreal we are zone 5A. This year in the spring, I did not have many dry seeds left on the snapdragons as the rabbits ate the most of them. Now I am wondering if I should cut the green seeds off and dry them in the house. The seeds are large but green and we will be getting frost soon. What should I do?
Hi Thelma, Great to hear from you! We have problems with rabbits and groundhogs here so I feel your pain! I think it might depend on the maturity of the seeds as far as whether they will germinate for you if harvesting green snapdragon seeds. They may not be mature enough to contain the seed embryo. If you want to pick a green snapdragon seed pod and leave the rest as long as possible, that is a good middle road. I think for best results, try to let them stay on the plant as long as possible. I actually just collected some dahlia and zinnia seeds today, about a week after our first frost. The seeds looked healthy so I am confident!
Also, if I am not mistaken, some snapdragons may actually be biennials and may come back again for a second year. I am not sure if that applies to zone 5a but I am going to leave mine in the ground this fall just to see what happens. I planted some snapdragons near the foundation of my home, so we’ll see!
Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!
Thank you very much for answering my question. I will leave the green seed heads on the snapdragons. In all of my gardens and pots I never remove any flowers in the fall, I clean out my gardens at the beginning of spring, I push the foliage into the gardens and the pots and they self-seed themselves and they over-winter outside under the snow. The only flowers I have to buy are my begonias as I use them as the front flowers of all my gardens , and my geraniums and hibiscus are brought into the house to overwinter in the basement. They are so beautiful, part of my garden blooming in the basement. You should also give this a try. Don’t forget to put your outside pots sideways so that rain and snow do not break them over the winter outside.
Again, Thank you so much
Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful tips on the winter plans for the garden. I love that you are growing your hibiscus and geraniums in the basement over the winter! That sounds like a blissful paradise. 🙂 I brought two begonias in as houseplants this year, one for each of my daughters. I especially love your method for reseeding and I bet it is good for compost too. Also a great suggestion to turn flower pots on their sides – I didn’t think of that but have had some breakage over the years that now sounds preventable – thanks for the tips! We’ll get through this cold season and onto the next growing season! 🙂
Hope to hear from you again soon!
What is the name of the snapdragon in your last picture? It’s so pretty!
Hi Ann! Thank you so much! I love those too – that was way back during my first time growing snapdragons, before I even had my kids! I wish I could recall the name, but check these out online – they look lovely and pretty similar!
– Lipstick Silver
– Kim Purple and White
Thanks for your comment! Happy Gardening! 🙂