In this article: Learn how to collect calendula seeds to save to plant next year!
If I was going to recommend on herb that should have a place in every garden, calendula would be it.
Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is also known as the pot marigold and should not be mistaken for the French marigold (Tagetes). It is a self-seeding annual that has tons of benefits for both you and your garden.
Calendula is a great companion plant for almost all garden crops and it is a medicinal herb with skin healing, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Learn more about how to use calendula here: 30 Benefits and Uses for Calendula.
Another major benefit to growing calendula? The seeds are super easy to collect- meaning once you buy once you almost never have to buy them again!
How to Collect Calendula Seeds for Future Planting
Collecting and saving calendula seeds is super easy, so let me show you how it’s done.
When growing calendula you will, for the most part, be picking all the of the blossoms. Picking frequently helps keep the plant producing more and more blooms and allows you to collect and dry the blooms for your own uses.
You can learn more about how to grow calendula in my growing guide: How to Grow Calendula from Seed
And, also, how to dry calendula: How to Dry Calendula Flowers.
But if you want to collect calendula seeds you will need to let some of the blooms go.
The first step in saving calendula seeds is to let the flower continue to live on the plant, even once the petals have dried and fallen.
I usually do this at the end of the season, so that during the bulk of the season the plant if putting it’s efforts into flowers and not seeds.
But sometimes flowers get away from you and they end up past their picking prime. It’s okay to leave a few of these on to go to seed instead of dead heading the stem.
After a few days or a week you will notice the flower head changing shape a bit.
You will see little green, half moon shapes growing on the flower head. These are the green seeds.
Don’t pick the seeds yet! You want to wait to collect calendula seeds until they are fully brown and dry.
Above is a picture of a seed head that is fully dry and brown. The calendula seeds are hard and somewhat spiky.
Now it’s time to collect the calendula seeds and bring them inside for later!
Once dry the seeds will come out very easily so take care when harvesting, or you might lose a lot of them.
How to Store Calendula Seeds
Make sure the seeds are completely dry before collecting and storing, otherwise you might end up with mold in your jar which will ruin your entire seed collection!
Keep your dried calendula seeds in an air tight container- mason jars work great- with an air tight lid. This prevents the seeds from collecting moisture from the air around them.
Another option is to seal the dry seeds in a plastic ziploc bag. Be sure to label your container with the name of the seed and the year collected.
Seeds are best stored at a temperature of 30-40 degrees, so storing them in the refrigerator or freezer can work well to keep them dry and mold free, thus expanding their shelf life.
Don’t want to collect and save calendula seeds? Simply let the seeds fall where they are or collect the seeds and scatter them around. They should sprout and grow next year quite easily!
Have you ever collected the seed heads before they were totally dry and let them “ripen” and dry out indoors?
We had a snow storm coming and I snipped the heads that seemed quite a bit too green to harvest