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Collecting Dahlia Seeds

Updated: Apr 6, 2022

Collecting Seeds.

With the resurgence of interest in dahlias, and because I’m currently harvesting seeds for the shop , I thought I’d pop up some information on how to collect seeds to grow.

First and most importantly is to remember that

( and I’m going to use caps because this is really really important! )

* DAHLIA SEEDS DO NOT GROW TRUE TO THEIR PARENT. * Just like Frangipani, the seeds can grow to be any colour. However, Dahlias can also grow to be any size or shape, so there’s no guarantee that the red floofy dinner plate dahlia seeds will bloom to be a red dinner plate dahlia. It might be a single yellow, a regular-sized red, or something completely different. while some growers might be disappointed to learn that the cafe au lait seeds they paid $30 for isn’t guaranteed to bloom in the expected shape or colour, it’s actually a wonderful thing that they don’t as it’s one way that new dahlia varieties end up in our gardens.

The good news is, that you’re more likely to get beige dahlias if you had them planted near other beige dahlias. ( cross-pollination is a wonderful thing )

The better news is, that this is your gateway into hybridization. But we will leave that topic to the experts- I highly recommend you follow Dr Hammett on Facebook, he is an expert in dahlias and in hybridization.

COLLECTING SEEDS. Please note there are other ways of doing this, including keeping green pods in water. This is simply the method that I prefer to use.

The first thing that I do is remove the petals from the spent flower head - WITHOUT removing the head from the plant.

This opens up the stamens for the bees to access allowing them to pollinate and preventing the petals from drying out over the top of the Center and blocking the bees, as well as rotting the seed head, like in this photo below

Then I wait for the seed head to completely dry out to a crisp, before harvesting in the afternoon on a dry sunny day once they’ve completely dried out.


Above I have laid out on paper five examples for those who are visual learners like myself. Seedheads 1 and 2 are not dried out and won’t give seeds if harvested unripe and not placed with stem in water. Seedhead 3 is covered in dried petals which are rotting the seed head. Seedhead 4 is perfectly dry and about to fall apart.

Number 5 is a seed.

below is a close-up of the dried seed.

And finally, here is the seed head split open with the dark seeds visible. This is what I prefer to harvest as it's easiest with my schedule.

If you would like to order seeds, they can be purchased directly from me at https://www.auntsgarden.com/product-page/dahlia-diablo-dwarf

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Mar 20, 2023

Loved this article. Especially the fact that you recognised the difference in learning styles. I to am a visual learner and found your article informative and easy to take in. I'm definitely addicted to dahlias.


Hi Awhina, thanks for this great article on harvesting dahlia seeds. Any tips on how to easily separate out the papery bits & the seeds? At the moment, I loosen the seed head, then out it into a container & give it a good shake (need to do this a few times). I find this a bit time consuming. If you have a much more efficient way please let me know. Thanks, Ravi

Aunts Garden
Aunts Garden
Mar 09, 2022
Replying to

Unfortunately there’s no fast way to do it other than winnowing or using a chaffing box ( winnowing = on a windy day, head outside and winnow the seeds by lightly tossing the seeds in a large box and allowing the wind to catch the paper shells. You lose some seeds in this method so I recommend doing it where any fallen seeds can grow ) . A chaffing box is a d.I.y device made to allow a fan to blow the chaff off the seeds as you tip them down a small zig zag shoot inside a box. The fan is low powered, just enough to blow the chaff off in one direction while allowing the heavier seeds t…

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