Do you love seeing the beautiful flowers in your garden staring back at you every day? I sure do! I especially love the ones that keep on blooming all season long, like Cosmos flowers. Try harvesting cosmos seeds so you can effortlessly grow these pretty flowers year after year!
Before you learn how to harvest cosmos seeds, it can be helpful to check out your plants and look for some dried seed heads. Also, take note of what the cosmos seeds look like.
What Do Cosmos Seeds Look Like?
Cosmo flower seeds look like small, pointy sticks that are slightly curved with tapered, pointed ends. They are generally dark brown in color and may be thin or slightly thicker in girth.
Some cosmo flowers produce seeds that are longer while others produce shorter seeds. Generally speaking, cosmos will germinate readily from healthy seeds.
Before you can harvest the seeds, it helps to know what they look like. Refer back to this post and the photos if you aren’t sure!
Harvesting Cosmos Seeds
When cosmos produce seed heads, you can wait for them to dry and then snip them off to save the seeds.
Once I read that the first blooms to go to seed contain the most seeds, and I paid attention in my garden enough to believe this is true.
We did, in fact, find larger, nicer and more seeds inside the dried, spent blooms that finished up first.
So be sure to collect those early seed heads first, if nothing else!
How to Harvest Cosmos Seeds
Here are some tips on how to harvest cosmos seeds:
- Wait until the bloom is fully spent. It may take on a shade of brown.
- Use scissors to snip off the old bloom above the last set of leaves. You can also simply pull the seeds off of the seed head with some varieties, like Cosmic Orange Cosmos.
- Drop the seeds into a plastic cup or a paper bag.
- Continue to collect spent blooms so you can save many seeds.
- Pull the spent cosmos flowers apart over a paper plate, tray, or lid to reveal the seeds. Watch out for caterpillars and other pests or problems.
- Save the seeds in a paper envelope or paper lunch bag until you are ready to trade them or plant them in the future. You can also try other seed storage ideas!
Saving Seeds: Special Precautions
When collecting cosmos seeds, follow a few precautions to increase your chances of successful seed saving.
- Make sure the flower heads are completely dry. Harvesting cosmos seeds only after they are fully dry helps to prevent mold or fungal growth during storage.
- Check for pests / insects. Sometimes tiny caterpillars may hang out on the dead flower heads. Inspect seed heads for these guys and remove them!
- Plan around the weather. Avoid harvesting seeds on damp or rainy days, because the moisture can reduce seed viability or may even cause seeds to sprout early. Always handle seeds with care, using clean, dry hands to prevent contamination.
- Save seeds in breathable packages if you aren’t sure. Better safe than sorry! Store cosmos seeds in paper envelopes or similar if moisture could be an issue.
When to Harvest Cosmos Seeds
Make the most of your cosmos flowers by saving seeds for swaps or next season.
The best time to harvest cosmos seeds is once the seed heads turn fully brown and dry. This timing can vary depending on where you live and when you planted your cosmos plants.
Mid to late summer through the fall is a good target for collecting seeds from cosmos.
Cosmos Seed Harvesting
After learning how to collect cosmos seeds, I w1ish you a prolific cut flower garden for many years to come!
Keep in mind that the seeds you save may produce different flowers than the parents you saved them from.
This is because pollen can transfer between different flowers, creating hybrids. Hybrids may carry traits of both parents but resemble neither identically.
When harvesting cosmos seeds, you can label the packets or containers to the best of your knowledge and pay attention to the new flowers that bloom next time around.
Also, try to make sure you collect brown seed pods for the most part. Green seeds may be viable, but it’s much easier to bank on the brown seed heads having mature seeds inside.
Do you have any tips or tricks for harvesting cosmos seeds? Feel free to ask questions or share advice and fun anecdotes in the comments below. We love hearing from you!