Kelly Lehman is the owner of Cranbury Fields Flower Farm and shows everyday gardeners how to grow amazing flowers on her YouTube channel.
Today I'm going to show you how to harvest your celosia seeds from your flowers to plant in your garden for next year. Celosia is one of my absolute favorite annual flowers.
Do Celosia Plants Come Back Every Year?
No, they don't usually come back every year like perennials. That being said, celosia has a habit of self-seeding, so you may see new plants pop up next spring. In that way, it's a super easy plant to grow—once the seeds hit the ground and are kind of left alone, chances are they're going to come back the following year.
Tips for Planting Celosia Seeds
The problem with self-seeding is that a lot of times we'll go out to our gardens in springtime and we'll kind of churn up the soil or we'll do some planting. And then the seeds that were dropped from your celosia flowers in fall get buried too deep.
Celosia seeds don't like to be buried too deep; they like to kind of be on the surface with just a little light sprinkling of soil on top of them. So if they're planted too deep from some of the churning, you're not going to get your plants to come back. Luckily, there's an easy fix for that—simply harvest your own stash of free celosia seeds right off your flowers in fall.
We wait until there's no more threat of frost (usually a little bit after Mother's day, when the ground warms up) and then we sow the celosia seeds directly into the ground, cover them very lightly with a little bit of dirt, water them in, make sure that they're in a place that gets full sun, and then we get beautiful, beautiful flowers all summer season long.
How to Collect Celosia Seeds in Fall
Fall is a terrific time to do a lot of your seed harvesting. Here at the flower farm, we harvest our sunflower seeds, our echinacea seeds, and tons of other seeds each fall. There are a couple of different ways that you can harvest your celosia seeds, so let's dive right in.
The Cardboard Box Method
One of the easiest ways is just to get a cardboard box and hold it next to your celosia plant that's kind of drying out. Now, if you take a look at your flowers, you'll see they have a lot of browning going on, but that's actually good! What you're really looking for is the tiny black seeds that are in there.
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- Get a cardboard box and hold it next to your celosia flowers.
- Bend the flowers down over the box and give them a shake. You'll actually be able to hear the seeds popping off the plant!
The Cut-and-Dry Method
Now if you want loads and loads of celosia seeds like I do (I love to gift them!), there's another method that you can try. You can clip the celosia, which also makes a great dry-cut flower for arrangements.
- Cut a whole bunch of your flowers.
- Try to strip the stalks of a lot of the leaves because sometimes the leaves have moisture in them.
- Tie the stalks up with a bit of twine and hang them upside down in a cool, dry place.
- Now here's the thing. So you can either hang it upside down and put a box underneath it so as the dried seeds start falling off, they fall into the box. OR you can put them right into a paper bag. That's how I like to do it. Label your box or bag with the date and leave it in a cool, dry place for about two weeks.
- When the flowers have dried out, give them a good shake into your box or bag. The seeds should come flying out!
How to Save Celosia Seeds
I love to put these seeds in jars and little containers so that you can store them over the winter and replant them in your garden or give them as gifts so your loved ones can plant them in their gardens next summer.
- Put the seeds in a sieve and start sprinkling them through. This will keep the leaves and the bigger chunks behind, leaving you with mostly just the seeds.
- Do this a few times.
- Repeat with an even finer sieve.
- Store in a container (anything from a Tupperware or a mason jar to a paper bag or cardboard box) in a dark, cool place.
While I like using progressively smaller sieves (as you can see in the demo video at the top of the page), the end result really doesn't have to be perfect, especially if you're just storing the seeds for yourself. Some of that other plant matter can be planted along with the seeds. It's important, however, that you make sure there are no bugs in there, firstly because you don't want to kill the bugs—let's be kind—but also because you also don't want the moisture from any insects in there.
I have to say, for the last couple of years, we've been storing our seeds in boxes. We normally label the box with the date and the seed type and then just leave the seeds alone until spring when we come back and plant them.
Giving Flower Seeds as Gifts
I love to put the seeds we harvest in little mason jars and use them for Christmas. They're so cute and they have these adorable labels too.
More Fall Gardening Tips
- How to Prepare Your Garden for Winter (9 Dos and Don'ts!)
From planting bulbs to fertilizing your lawn, Kelly Lehman shares tips on what to do (and NOT to do) to prepare your fall garden for winter.
- When Is the Best Time to Plant Perennials? (Hint: It Isn't Spring!)
Though most people associate spring and summer with planting garden flowers, fall is the best time to get your perennials in the ground. (It's also the cheapest time to buy plants!)
- How to Plant Allium Bulbs in Your Garden in Fall
Learn how to plant allium bulbs in the fall. Alliums are easy to grow and look gorgeous in the garden or a vase. What's more, rodents tend to avoid them!
© 2021 Kelly Lehman