Collecting Seeds | Flowers

Collecting Snapdragon Seeds (Tips for Harvesting & Saving)

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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!

Woman's Manicured Fingertips Holding Small Brown Snapdragon Seed Pod with Purple Snapdragons in the background

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.

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!

Antirrhinum Skull

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!)

Antirrhinum Skull Seed Pods with Purple, White and Yellow Snapdragons - Note the Photo is Upside-Down to show the Skull Resemblance!
Antirrhinum Skull Seed Pods with Snapdragons – Note the Photo is Upside-Down to show the Skull Resemblance!

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!

Dark Pink Snapdragon Flowers with Brown Seed Pods

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.

  1. Inspect your snapdragon plant for ripe seed pods. Again, these resemble little brown skulls.
  2. 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.)
  3. Place all the seed pods inside a paper bag or small bowl.
  4. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Break open the seed pods one by one. Then, shake out the teeny, tiny seeds into a seed saving envelope.

    Breaking open a Snapdragon Skull Seed Pod For Harvesting Snapdragon Seeds - Hand holding broken seed pod and tiny black seeds
    This is what snapdragon seeds look like! Breaking open a Snapdragon Skull Seed Pod For Harvesting Snapdragon Seeds.
  3. Label your baggie or envelope with a marker. Be sure to write down the date you collected them or the intended growing season.
  4. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!

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!

Harvesting and Collecting Snapdragon Seeds - Purple flowers and brown skull like seed pods

What kind of snapdragons do you plan to grow? Let’s chat about it in the comments below!

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    1. 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!

  1. 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?

    1. Hi Linda! I am so glad you found a seed pod from your tall snapdragons! I expect the darker seeds are mature and hopefully will germinate for you. I haven’t seen white seeds from snapdragons myself, but you can always give it a try! You can do a germination test inside a wet paper towel in a plastic zip-top baggie for a few days and see if the seeds grow, or just wait until next season if you’re too close to frost as I believe we are here in zone 6. My best guess is the white seeds may not be mature, but it’s just a guess. It’s promising to hear you have dark seeds as well. I think you should have luck with at least some of them! Happy Gardening!
      – Kate

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