Collecting French marigold seeds (c) Rianne Mason

Saving Tagetes patula (French marigold) seeds

I had a great time collecting the seed heads of these Tagetes patula (French marigolds) and then popping them open to reveal the match-stick like contents when I got home!

How to collect the seed

I pinched the whole seed head off of each plant on a dry sunny day and placed them in a paper bag. You could take the time to take out the seeds at this stage but I was in a hurry to make the most of the sunny weather, so I emptied them at home indoors.

If you have any that are damp make sure you dry them out fully (e.g. in a tray) before storing them.

How to store the seed

French marigold seed heads in a tray (c) Rianne Mason
Drying out Tagetes patula (French marigold) seed heads (c) Rianne Mason

Each seed head needs to be opened up and emptied of those brilliant seeds, this is my favourite part.

Before storing the seed make sure that any chaff or dust are removed. You might also notice a lot of creepy crawlies in the bottom of the bag and these are best left outside of storage!

These are orthodox seed, so they need dry and cool conditions to be stored effectively. Storing them this way (e.g. in a fridge) will increase their chances of remaining viable.

What to do with the seed

Home-made seed packets (c) Rianne Mason
Creating home-made seed packets (c) Rianne Mason

The seed will store for at least a year in the right conditions until you’re ready to sow them. Learn more about the benefits of planting Tagetes patula (French marigold).

As it’s so close to Christmas, and I gathered so many seeds, I decided to create my own packets using printed compostable stickers and a little bit of creative design so that I could give them away as Christmas presents. They’re perfect for slipping inside a card and popping in the post.

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