Geranium Guide

Viable and Non-Viable Geranium Seeds


When collecting geranium seeds, are you able to recognize the viable from the non-viable seeds? Your ability in recognizing the viable and non-viable seeds can really make a difference between enjoying a nice batch of seedlings or enjoying nothing at all. Collecting geranium seeds is not always as rewarding as expected. Geranium seeds need to fully mature and develop in order to produce viable seeds. Once mature, attention is needed so that these seeds aren’t blow away by the wind. At times though, seeds produced may not develop as desired and planting these seeds is a big waste of time and disappointment.

Non-productive seed head and non-viable seeds

 Non-Viable Geranium Seeds

Mother Nature is parsimonious and won’t spend much energy in producing seeds that are not going to be potentially viable. Production of seeds can be as energy consuming as producing flowers.

There are times when not producing seeds is more convenient than producing them.

In this case, the seed head will not go through the process of producing  all the necessary accessories to allow the geranium seed to be dispersed by wind. The whole seed head will therefore start to dry and the seeds will fail to develop as plump, fat geranium seeds with their distinctive marks.

These seeds will also fail to develop their spiraled tail necessary to allow successful implantation in fertile soil. Instead, they will shrink and dry along with the seed head.  If removed from their coating, the seeds tend to appear underdeveloped and partially shriveled. There is no embryo, or it is only partially developed. Planting these seeds will likely not be rewarding as these seeds will likely not be viable.

 Viable Geranium Seeds

Viable seed getting ready for being blown away from seed head.

Viable geranium seeds are nice and plump. Once removed from their outer coating, the viable seeds are characterized by the distinctive geranium seed shape as seen in the bottom picture. Geranium seeds tend to be oblong and have a special mark in the middle which makes them somewhat resemble an oat seed only that they’re darker.

Healthy and viable geranium seeds tend to develop from the plant over the course of several weeks. The geranium plant forms a seed head that resembles a stork or crane’s beak. The seed head will remain somewhat green while the seeds will start to gradually dry up.

Once mature, the outer part will start curling up and you may notice the seed is getting ready to be blown away by the wind when you notice its spiraled tail as seen in the picture.

Fat, plump and viable seeds are dispersed by the wind when they are mature. The plant dedicates a good amount of energy in providing these viable seeds with all the means to allow successful germination.

Once blown by the wind, the seed should ideally land on soft soil. Its spiraled tail allows the seed to twist into the soil anchoring it to the ground in a corkscrew-fashion. Planting these seeds will likely result in successful germination provided the right temperatures and ideal growing circumstances.

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