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Herb Garden
Published September 27, 2023 by Nicole Burke

The Simplest Way to Save Your Own Calendula Seeds

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calendula seeds

Save Your Own Calendula Seeds

What saves you money, teaches you about life, and allows you to spread the wealth?

Seed saving, of course.

Few flowers are easier to start from seed and grow than calendula. Once those calendula plants have completed their life cycle, it's super simple to harvest and save the seeds for next year. In fact, calendula is one of the easiest plants to save seeds from.

calendula flowers

It's important for gardeners to experience the magic that is seed saving for three reasons:

First, you'll witness the full cycle of the plant. You start at the very beginning with this year's plant and then watch it fruit and produce its final product, which is the plant's attempt to create hundreds, if not thousands, of exact replicas of itself for next year.

Second, you get to save money. Just one plant, as I said, will produce enough seeds to keep you supplied for years, and third, because you'll have way more seeds than you could ever need (unless, you know, you're getting 50 times your current gardening space next year), you get to share the magic with others. You can wrap your extra seeds in little packets and give great gifts to friends and family and neighbors who want to try growing their own plants.

Let's look at how to save your calendula seeds.

calendula blooms in different stages

How to Harvest Calendula Seeds

In the picture above, you can see calendula flowers in different stages of growth. There are some flowers in full bloom, reveling in all their floral glory, and these will be the pollen centers for the plant. For other flowers, their petals have already dried and become papery. Those dried petals will soon fall to the ground.

Eventually, the flower will completely dry out and turn brown, like the one you see in the picture below. At this stage, the seeds are ready to be collected. To protect the seeds, pieces of the stem curl up around them, but all you need to do to release the seeds is turn the dried flower upside down and ruffle the dried stem with your fingers.

dried calendula bloom

Calendula seeds are shaped like little squids. The more you garden, the more you'll notice that larger seeds are easier to collect, save, and sow. Think of bean seeds or nasturtium seeds that you can easily hold between two fingers, separate from others in the palm of your hand, and plant to the right depth.

Pull the seeds apart to see how many you've collected. Each bloom will likely yield six to ten seeds. 

The Simplest Way to Save Your Own Calendula Seeds

How to Save Calendula Seeds

Now that you've harvested the seeds, you have two options for what to do with them. You can either sprinkle them in your garden like confetti and lightly cover them with soil to let the garden "save" your seeds for next year, or you can store your seeds inside.

If you're bringing your seeds inside, pour them into a seed container or envelope labeled with the plant type and date of collection.

Store in a cool, dry place for next season.

Shop Our Favorite Seed Organizer

Keep seeds organized and ready for sowing with this handy seed organizer tin. The galvanized finish lends timeless style, and calendar dividers ensure seeds are in hand at the perfect time for planting. 

Will Calendula Self-Seed?

Even if you don't go through these simple steps to save your seeds, you'll probably still end up with more calendula plants next year; you just won't have any control over where they come up in your garden.

Calendula is a powerful self-seeder in the garden, which means it will drop seeds that grow on their own if you don't collect all of the dead flowers. A lot of gardeners end up with calendula growing along their pathways or right next to their flower beds where seeds have fallen and nestled over the winter. As soon as the temperature is optimal again, those seeds will germinate and start new life cycles. We call these volunteer calendula plants. (You can see one by my feet in the picture below.)

volunteer calendula

Time to Save Some Calendula Seeds

Like I said, saving calendula seeds is super easy. No gardening skills required. Keeping the plants alive? Also easy. I do very little to care for my calendula plants (and nothing to care for the perfectly nice plant growing in the gravel!).

If you're still not convinced to plant calendula in your garden, here's how this helpful little herb acts as a trap crop to protect your other kitchen garden plants from pests.

So save those seeds and gift them to other gardeners and even gardener-hopefuls in your life to spread the magic of the kitchen garden. Here's to making the most out of your gardening time and space! Thanks for bringing back the kitchen garden with me one seed at a time.

Leaves, Roots & Fruit Teaches You the Step by Step to Grow as a Gardener

Do you dream of walking through your own kitchen garden with baskets full of delicious food you grew yourself?

Nicole Johnsey Burke—founder of Gardenary, Inc., and author of Kitchen Garden Revival—is your expert guide for growing your own fresh, organic food every day of the year, no matter where you grow. More than just providing the how-to, she gives you the know-how for a more practical and intuitive gardening system.

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The Simplest Way to Save Your Own Calendula Seeds