How To Save Marigold Seeds For Next Year (Harvesting Tips)

Bursting with bold color, marigold flowers bloom all summer long and attract beneficial insects. These gorgeous flowers are easy to grow and drought tolerant- a perfect plant for the busy gardener. Learn how to save marigold seeds for the next season here!

orange french marigolds growing in a raised bed

Marigold flowers will bloom prolifically when deadheaded, and you can easily save the seeds for next year.  Doing so saves both time and money in the garden!

This step by step guide will teach you how to harvest marigold flower seeds and how to properly save them for the next season! 

marigold seeds are black and white when they are ready to be harvested

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How To Save Marigold Seeds

Harvesting marigold seeds is one of our favorite money savings hacks for the garden!  You can easily save marigold seeds from the parent plant and use them to grow NEW plants. 

Harvesting seeds is simple: remove the flower seeds at the right time and keep them in a cool, dry place until you want to plant them. Wait until the flower heads have dried out and the seeds are well developed, then pull out the seeds from the dead heads.

Let the seeds dry for a week on a paper towel.  Then save the marigold seeds over winter in an airtight container in a cool, dry place!

dry marigold flower heads that are ready to be harvested for seeds

Marigold seeds are so prolific that you can plant your own seeds and have plenty left over to give away.  There’s no reason to buy new marigold plants-simply follow our detailed instructions below! 

When To Harvest Marigold Seeds

You can harvest marigold seeds any time throughout the season, but the seed needs to be fully developed in order to produce new blooms next spring.  Make sure do it at the right time with these tips:

  • Wait until the marigold has dry flower heads before harvesting.  The seeds must be two-toned  (half white, half gray) to be viable and grow the next season!
  • Marigold seeds can be harvested throughout the season as they fade.  Regularly deadheading marigolds will keep them blooming all summer, and you can save seeds from some of the flowers as you go. 
  • The best time to harvest an individual flower is when the flower petals have faded and the seed pod has turned completely brown.  The flower will have dried petals that look wilted and worn.  The flower seeds will be very easy to harvest from the flower bud at this stage (they may even just fall right from the seed pod!). 

​Important Step:  Fully developed seeds will have a grey-brown tone to have of the seed.  If they are only white, the seed has not developed and it will not produce a new plant!

back and white marigold seeds

Marigold seeds are small and thin with half white and half grey tones.  (Pictured above).

The flower seeds will be two-toned:  they will be white on one end and black on the other end.  The darker section is the seed.  If the flower seed is all white, it has not developed enough to be harvested and will not produce a marigold plant the following year. 

How To Harvest Seeds From Marigold Seed Pods

Harvesting marigold seeds is one of the EASIEST tasks in the garden!  Here’s how to harvest marigold seeds, step by step:

1. Wait for the right time to harvest

The flower head should be dry with the petals faded and even a little bit crispy.  Look for the dry seed heads (pictured below).

2. From here, locate the seed pod

 The seed pod is located at the base of the flower and meets with the stem. It should be brown and dry looking to ensure he seeds are ready. This is where all the seeds are stored!

3. Remove the seed pod

Deadhead your marigold flower using this method, or it’s the end of the season just nip off the seed pod at the base of the flower

4. Transfer the seeds to a plastic bag

Gently shake the seeds from the dried flower heads into a plastic or paper bag

marigold flower heads that are ready to be harvested
These French marigolds are at the perfect stage for harvesting.  Notice the seed pod is brown and dry.  (Photo was taken in July- no need to wait until Fall!)

That’s all you need to do to harvest your seeds.  Next, you’ll want to give them time to completely dry out!  Keep reading to learn how.

Supply List

Here are a few ideas for saving + storing your marigold seeds:

How To Dry After Harvesting

To dry marigold seeds simply set them out to on a flat surface like a paper plate or a paper towel.  Set them in a location out of direct sunlight where they will not be disturbed.  Allow the seeds to dry out for at 7-10 days.

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marigold seeds being harvested from the seed pod

Deadheading marigold flowers will keep plants healthy and encourage blooms all summer long.  Learn how here!

What To Use For A Seed Packet (Saving Seeds)

​Storing marigold seeds properly over winter is essential- you don’t want them to rot during damp weather.

You can use any container to store your seeds, but we prefer to use an airtight container such as a small glass jar or plastic bag.  Make sure your seeds are fully dry before transferring to their container.  

Choose from the following options for storing marigold seeds:

Make sure your seeds are fully dry before putting in your container.  Label the container with the name of the seed and date for future reference.

Marigold flower heads can produce 30 to 35 seeds!  It’s crazy to think that so many plants can come from a single flower.  You could easily fill up your flower beds with new flowers from just one plant!

Get our complete guide to growing flowers here!

How To Store Marigold Seeds 

Store marigold seeds over winter in a cool, dark place, such as a rarely used close, basement or attic space.

Did you know?  Marigold flowers have many benefits for the vegetable garden.  Their notable scent repels deer, rabbits and nematodes, and they attract beneficial bugs like bees and butterflies.  They are the perfect vegetable garden companion plant!

When To Plant Marigold Seeds

Marigold seeds can be sewn directly into the soil in mid to late spring, well after first frost.  (Learn about your zone here).  

You can also start marigold seeds inside about 6-8 weeks before the last frost.  Then plant them in a full sun location with well draining soil. 

yellow marigold flowers

Types Of Marigolds (And Their Seeds)

Not all marigold seeds will grow into the same variety as the parent plant.

Hybrid varieties may revert back to one of the original plants used in the hybridization.  When taking seeds from a hybrid variety, you will probably end up with a different variety than grown in your garden. The flower may revert back to one of it’s original varieties that was cross bred to create that specific type of marigold.

Heirloom marigold varieties, however, will always give you the same plant as the original parent plant. 

french marigold seed pods

In addition to saving you time in the garden, marigold seeds make a wonderful gift.  A collection of various seeds such as zinnias, marigolds and sunflowers would make a charming and impactful Christmas or birthday present.  Make sure to share some with your neighbors, too!

Fun Facts About Marigold Flowers

  • Marigolds grow best in full sun and need well draining soil
  • Marigold blooms attract many pollinators, such as bees and butterflies
  • There are over 50 different varieties of marigolds, available in many colors and shapes
  • Marigolds are not fussy flowers and can survive life in poor soil
  • With their bright colors, marigolds represent positive energy, warm feelings and good luck
orange marigold flowers

Final Thoughts

You can skip the seed orders and collect marigold seeds from your own garden for free plants!

Marigolds are beneficial for the vegetable garden and boast beautiful blooms throughout the entire growing season.  Though marigolds are grown as annual flowers, you can easily save the seeds and re plant them year after year!

red marigold flower

The best way to harvest seeds is wait until the pod is dry, then simply pull the seeds out, dry them, then store them.   Marigolds are one of the easiest flowers to grow and these beautiful flowers produce a lot of seeds.

Make sure you harvest some this season!

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