Snapdragons (Antirrhinum majus) are a cheerful and colorful addition to any garden. Growing them from seeds is an economical way to stock your garden with these vibrant flowers. But in order to keep the seeds viable for future planting, proper harvesting and storage methods must be followed.
When to Harvest Snapdragon Seeds
Snapdragon flowers are ready to harvest when they have begun to dry and turn brown. This usually happens after the last flush of blooms has faded in late summer or early fall. You can collect individual pods as soon as they start to look dry, but it is best to wait until most of the pods are mature before harvesting a whole stem.
How to Harvest Snapdragon Seeds
Carefully cut the stem of the flower, leaving several inches of stem attached to each pod. Place the stems in a paper bag and hang them in a warm, dry place away from direct sunlight. Allow the pods to completely dry before attempting to open them. When they are ready to open, you will hear a rattling as you shake the pods.
Open the pods by hand and gently remove the seeds, being careful not to break them. Place the seeds in an airtight container with a desiccant pack inside for seed preparation for storage.
Preparing Snapdragon Seeds for Storage
After harvesting, it is important to prepare the seeds for storage according to proper protocols. Clean the seeds by gently rubbing them with a soft brush or paper towel and discard any chaff or debris. Place the clean seeds in an airtight container, along with a desiccant pack to remove excess moisture from the atmosphere and prevent molding.
Shelf Life and Storage Conditions
When stored properly, snapdragon seeds can remain viable for up to two years. It is important to keep the container in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. Temperatures should not exceed 75°F (24°C). The optimal temperature range for seed storage is between 41-50 °F (5-10 °C). Seeds should be checked periodically to ensure that the desiccant pack is still active and replaced if necessary. If the seeds are exposed to moisture during storage, they may become moldy or deteriorate in quality. Therefore, it is important to keep a close watch on seed conditions and conditions of the storage environment throughout their shelf life.
Snapdragon seeds remain viable and ready to plant for up to three years, depending on seed quality and storage conditions.