How to Harvest Canna Lily Seeds – Easy Tips on Collecting Canna Seeds

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Saving canna lily seeds is quick, easy and fun! The jet-black seeds are round and hard like mini marbles. These seeds also store very well! Learn how to harvest canna lily seeds if you want to try growing your own tropical perennials from seed.

Lush, tropical leaves give cannas their distinctly exotic yet carefree appearance. Flowers in shades of red, yellow, orange, or even rose pink add a burst of color to your favorite outdoor spaces.

If you grow multiple colors and types of cannas, you might want to try saving canna seeds to see if you can grow new hybrids from your plants.

Canna lily seed pod and mature canna seeds
Collecting canna seeds is so easy when you find them inside the dried wrappers of the seed pods

Saved canna lily seeds may contain genetic material largely from the self-parent or perhaps a combination of traits from two parent plants. The resulting offspring may look totally different than both plants!

Harvesting canna lily seeds is definitely worth a try, since it is so quick and easy to do.

Hand holding canna lily seeds next to red cannas
Canna lily seed next to a seed pod and red cannas in bloom in our 2023 garden

Harvesting Canna Seeds: How To

Whether you try crossing cannas yourself or allow the pollinators to do their thing, follow these steps to get started saving seeds from your cannas.

  1. Identify spent canna flowers and look for seed pods. (Seed pods are brown and surround the seeds.)

  2. Cut the spent blooms with seed pods off of the flower stalks. (Follow tips on how to deadhead cannas for best results.)

  3. Grasp the seed pods directly on either side of the round canna seeds. Place your forefinger and thumb on either side of the bump inside the canna lily seed pod.

  4. Squeeze gently to pop the seed out of the dried pod. Canna seed pods may resemble a wrapper. Aim to do this where you will not lose the seeds if they shoot quickly out of the pod.

  5. Store the canna seeds in a plastic jar, glass jar, or paper seed envelope. These seeds are hardy and very strong. You will likely find they store very well!
Three canna seeds picked from our cannas
My 7-year-old helped with harvesting canna seeds from our garden.

How to Store Canna Lily Seeds

Storing canna seeds is almost foolproof as far as I am concerned. Every time I’ve saved canna seeds from my plants, they are rock-hard and bone-dry.

In fact, you pretty much need a Dremel to nick the seed coating so they can germinate! They’re rather impermeable.

Store canna seeds as you would any seeds, but since they’re very three-dimensional, you may need a larger container.

  1. Be sure to harvest canna seeds on a dry day.

  2. Inspect seeds for signs of moisture or any pests.

  3. Drop seeds gently into your chosen container or baggie.

  4. Label the seeds with the flower type and date. (If breeding cannas, list both parents or other needed identification.)

  5. Store canna seeds in a cool, dry, dark location, such as your basement.

For special seeds you want to keep separate, you might simply use masking tape and write the variety on the tape.

These seeds are hard as rocks and will survive the tape!

Cannova Rose Canna Lily Seeds stored in masking tape
Masking tape is one simple way to group seeds from the same canna plant. The tough outer shell of the seed won’t be bothered.

Best Containers for Storing Canna Seeds

  • Empty Spice Jars
  • Prescription Bottles or Vitamin Bottles (once empty)
  • Paper Bags
  • M&M Minis Containers
  • Empty Play-Doh Containers
  • Any Glass Jars, like Baby Food Jars or Similar
  • Plastic Zip-seal Baggies

Since canna seeds are so impermeable, they don’t seem to mold or rot at all in my experience.

For this reason, I have no qualms about storing them in airtight bags or containers.

Pink canna lily with single ripe seed
Single ripe seed from a rose pink canna flower in our garden

Canna Seeds Harvesting Tips

Keep these tips in mind when saving canna seeds for next season.

  • Collect canna seeds on a dry, sunny day. Seed saving efforts are pretty much always more successful without any added moisture.

  • Consider removing the spent canna blooms first, seed pod and all. Deadheading cannas may make it easier to collect the seeds without losing any in the process.

  • Take good care of the parent canna plants. Cannas grow best from rhizomes, so be sure to dig up and overwinter cannas to keep them healthy and alive.

Once you finish collecting canna seeds and safely storing them, you’ll be all set to try growing them!

Take a peek at our post on how to grow cannas from seed, with special tips on germinating these tough-coated seeds.

Canna before deadheading, with a ripe seed pod
Canna in our garden before deadheading, with a ripe seed pod

Canna Lily Seed Pods

Keep your eyes peeled for canna seed pods. These papery pods look much like wrappers around the hard, round seeds.

But! Before the papery seed pods appear, you may notice green spiky balls on the spent flower stalks. These green balls are the start of the seed pods with viable seeds inside.

Spiky green balls on the canna plant are the beginnings of the seed pods
Spiky green balls on the canna plant are the beginnings of the seed pods.

Leave the canna lily seed pods on the plant until they are brown and dried. You might even see a bit of the canna seeds peeking through!

What to Do with Canna Lily Seed Pods

When canna pods ripen on the flower stalks, you can cut them off to remove the seeds more easily.

Some cannas grow quite tall and others may be somewhat inaccessible. Deadheading canna lilies first should make seed harvesting a lot simpler!

Here’s what to do with canna seed pods:

  1. Use pruning shears or sharp scissors to cut the dead flower stalk and seed pods off the cannas.

  2. Gently remove the seeds as per the instructions below.

  3. Discard dead canna flower stalks and empty seed pods with your yard waste.

Removing canna seed pods from the plant first helps to collect as many viable seeds as possible.

I can’t tell you how many seeds I’ve dropped simply by reaching across my deck to try and grab the seeds!

Daughter's helping hand picking canna lily seeds in the garden
Dried canna lily seed pods are easy for my youngest daughter to help gather!


Yes, canna lilies can produce seeds. The canna flowers must be pollinated in order to produce seeds. Some flowers may result in ripe seed pods while others may not go to seed. It all depends on the transfer of pollen from one flower to another.

Canna lily seeds tend to be dark purple to nearly black. They are very hard and round just like a miniature marble.

Yes, you can easily save canna seeds to grow even more cannas in your garden next year. If you grow more than one kind of canna lily, saving seeds may result in new hybrids that are different from each of the parents. (Although some traits may carry through!)

The spiky green balls on canna lilies are actually the start of the seed pods. You must wait for these green spike balls to change to a dried, brown seed pod before harvesting the seeds.

Canna seeds store very well. Some gardeners report that they successfully germinated cannas from seeds that were between 3 and 5 years old at least! Your mileage may vary, but be sure to learn how to germinate canna seeds the right way.

Sweet daughter showing off canna seeds she saved from a red canna plant in our garden
Here is my sweet daughter showing off canna seeds she saved from a red canna plant in our garden.

Saving Canna Seeds for Fun!

Collecting canna lily seeds can be an easy task for your kiddos to try in the garden. It’s also a cool experience if you grow multiple varieties of cannas and want to see what cool offspring you can get from saved seeds.

Now that you know how to save canna seeds, be sure you check out our other posts about cannas:

Cannova Rosa has gone to seed - canna lily seed pod with ripe seeds inside
Cannova Rosa has gone to seed – canna lily seed pod with ripe seeds inside

Do you have any questions or tips to share about saving canna seeds? Hit us up in the comments – we love hearing from you!

Happy Gardening!

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