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help with zinnia seeds(?)

Posted by pastvast z5 NW Ohio (My Page) on
Wed, Oct 27, 04 at 8:01

I just received seeds back from a swap. There were some really nice things in it. However, I have questions about the zinnia seeds. In fact, in one packet, I think I just have chaff. And in the other, I think there's a lot of unripe seeds. This is my first year collecting my own zinnia seed, so I don't yet know if what I collected will germinate (maybe I've collected the wrong stuff).

From reading other posts, zinnia seeds should look like relatively large arrowheads (~1/4" wide) and should be dark in appearance.

One packet, labeled zinnia- purple, is comprised entirely of very thin, cylindrical plant bits (supposedly seeds?) that are 1/4" long. I think this person mistakenly collected chaff (stamen?) thinking it was seed, due to the long thin appearance. What's your opinion?

The second packet, labeled zinnia burpeana giants, does have arrowhead shaped seeds in it. However, many are really thin and cream-colored. Are these unripe seeds? Because there's still some of what I had guessed were mature zinnia seeds, the creamy colored ones (possibly unripe) could just be chaff. However, if they're actually ripe seeds, and just a different color, then I've been tossing out lots of seeds from my own seed collecting efforts.

I'd appreciate those of you who've successfully collected and germinated zinnia seeds weighing in on the matter.


P.S. Maybe zinnia could be added to the FAQ? It seems lots of folks ask about it.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: help with zinnia seeds(?)

I just got some fresh zinnia seeds from someone I trust locally, and they were cream coloured, so I think those are okay.

RE: help with zinnia seeds(?)

I've had both light and dark colored--all okay.

RE: help with zinnia seeds(?)

To collect these seeds, do you wair until the flower is completely dead, but before they start falling off?

If I cut some flowers, should I put them in water and let them die that way, or can I just leave them setting out and collect the seeds once they start falling off?


RE: help with zinnia seeds(?)

Seems my red spider were more rectangular. Others look like arrowheads in varying degrees of color.

TIA, my advice is let the flower die on the head before collecting. That's traditional advice for most plants. Maybe some zinnia expert can advise otherwise.

RE: help with zinnia seeds(?)

different type zinnia seeds from park seeds were all the same somewhat flat shape, but some were dark colored and others lighter--kind of tan (not so light that i would call the color cream).

RE: help with zinnia seeds(?)

  • Posted by Polka 7b/8a E TX (My Page) on
    Wed, Aug 24, 05 at 20:22

as long as they are thicker - a bit of substance to them - they are seed. if they are flimsy, and quite light colored, you have chaff.

as you collect more, you will know the difference

yes they come light and dark, but they won't blow away as easily as chaff. Puff lightly with your breath. do they move quite easily?


RE: help with zinnia seeds(?)

This is a picture I found. I'm still having a tough time telling the difference.


RE: help with zinnia seeds(?)

The only way I can tell when to harvest seeds is when the goldfinches begin pecking on the dead heads ;)

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