Collecting geranium seeds from plant is not that easy because of the way these seeds are displayed. In order to therefore successfully harvest seeds directly from the geranium plant, you will have to pay close attention to what happens to the plant as it prepares to form seeds. Removing old flowerheads means never giving geranium flowers an opportunity to form seeds, so if you’re hoping for seeds, don’t remove them! The process of forming seeds can take several weeks between the flowers dying, the seeds developing and then finally drying up so that the geranium seeds can be successfully collected. There are several options to choose from when it comes to collecting geranium seeds, so you will have to evaluate them carefully based on several criteria.
What do Geranium Seeds Look Like?
Geranium seeds are brown, small and oval in shape and they have a mark in the middle, making them somewhat resemble an oat seed only that they’re darker. Don’t expect to see these seeds though by just looking at the plant! Rather, the geranium plant is quite secretive when it comes to making seeds, so if you want to collect them, you will have to take a close look.
Geranium seeds are enclosed in a seed head that somewhat looks like a stork’s or crane’s beak. As the seed head dries, the outer part will start curling up and a you may notice little hook on the end of them. This hook is meant to catapult the seeds long distances with a gentle breeze. If you’re not fast enough to collect them, the breeze will therefore carry them away.
Many people often miss seeing the seeds because as mentioned, they tend to remove the dried flower heads before they have to produce the seeds. However, even when the flower heads are left on the plant to dry, seeds may not be seen if the flowers were not pollinated by a bee, or by hand, or if the plant is sterile. Another reason seeds may not be seen is because as mentioned, they are volatile and therefore, if you are not attentive, they may be blown away before you even have time to collect them.
How to Harvest Geranium Seeds
If you notice the characteristic stork beak seed heads, you have a good chance of collecting the seeds. You have two different choices when it comes to collecting geranium seeds. One is to wait for the seed head to start drying up and placing a paper bag or mesh bag on the seed head and tying it up with a twist tie so that the day when the seeds are ready to mature, they’ll collect into the bag rather than risk being blown away.
The second option is to collect the seed head once it’s starting to dry up and allow it to finish drying up inside the home. Simply place the seed head into a brown paper bag and keep it in a warm, well-ventilated place for at least two weeks.
When the seed heads are nice and dry, you can collect the seeds and place them on a baking sheet to further dry out. Plump, fat seeds are likely viable geranium seeds, while shriveled, deformed ones are likely not viable. If the seeds get damp, they risk forming mold when stored. Now, you can place them in a labeled paper envelope in a dry area until you are ready to plant them.
Did you know? The name pelargonium derives from the word “pelargos” which is the Greek word for “stork.” As imagined, this plant’s name was coined after the characteristic stork beak-like shape of the seed heads.