How to Collect Scented Geranium Seeds?
Besides cuttings, scented geraniums can be propagated from seeds. Harvesting the seeds, however, is not always easy, but once you manage to collect scented geranium seeds, you can easily germinate them and grow new scented geranium plants.
The difficulty of collecting scented geranium seeds is how easily they’re carried away by the wind. You need to act fast, otherwise you risk missing the opportune window to harvest them.
In this article I will teach you how to identify scented geranium seeds, where they’re located, how to collect them, and how to propagate geraniums from seeds.
Where are Geranium Seeds Located?
If you’ve been deadheading scented geranium blooms right after they fade away, you may have never come across the seed heads that form a couple of weeks after the blooms have faded.
Therefore, the first step in identifying scented geranium seeds is to leave spent flower clusters on the plant and wait for seed heads to form. This can take a couple of weeks, so be patient.
The seed heads look like a crane’s or stork’s beak. They start off green, then slowly dry out. As they dry, you may notice a little hook at the end of the seed head.
Touch the hook and you will see it launch the seeds to long distances, basically acting like a self-launch mechanism that can be triggered by insects getting on the seed head or even by something as simple as the wind.
It can take several weeks for the seed heads to form seeds that become ready for collection. You need to wait until the seed heads start to dry a bit before you can collect them, just to make sure they’ve formed seeds inside and they’re viable.
What do Geranium Seeds Look Like?
Geranium seeds are dark brown, oval-shaped and have a mark in the middle. They somewhat resemble oat seeds, so they’re easy to identify once you know where to harvest them from.
They also have a pointy end and a tiny spiral appendage that comes out the other end. As the seeds dry, they form white hairs above the spiral-shaped appendage, allowing them to travel even further in the wind.
Supposedly, when they fall onto the ground, the pointy end sticks into the dirt getting access to moisture, which will help with germination.
If the seed heads aren’t well dried when collecting them, you will need to dry them out for a couple of weeks in a warm, dry and well-ventilated place.
Once the seeds come off the seed heads, they’ll need to be dried out further on a sheet of paper. It’s important to allow them to dry properly.
The seeds that are firm and plump looking are viable. Seeds that are shriveled or even deformed should be discarded as they will not germinate.
Do All Geraniums Have Seeds?
No, unfortunately, not all geraniums have seeds. If you’ve been deadheading geraniums regularly, as I mentioned before, they will not have a chance to produce seed heads.
Then there are scented geraniums that were grown exclusively indoors and weren’t pollinated. These too will fail to produce seeds.
Sometimes, if you allow scented geranium seed heads to dry for too long and you don’t harvest them on time, then winds or the self-catapulting mechanism may blow away all the seeds, leaving you with nothing to plant.
Therefore, if you want to harvest seeds from your scented geranium, stop deadheading, wait for seed heads to form, be quick to collect seed heads before they dry out too much, and make sure that your scented geraniums are pollinated (those grown outdoors usually are).
Harvesting & Storing Geranium Seeds
When collecting scented geranium seeds, cut the seed heads into a paper bag, and allow time for them to dry out so that the seeds can easily come out.
As I mentioned above, leave the seeds to dry for two more weeks after they’ve escaped the seed heads, just to make sure they’re well dried and that you can select the viable seeds to keep.
If you don’t sow the seeds right away or only plan on sowing them in the next season, place them in a paper sachet and keep them in a dry, well aerated place.
If they’re kept in a moist place, they tend to develop mold on them, which will render them unviable.
So best to find a paper sachet or paper envelope to store them in and keep them in a cool and dry place.
Propagate Geraniums from Seed
After properly collecting, drying, and identifying viable seeds, the next step in propagating scented geraniums from seed is to germinate them.
Luckily, the most difficult part is over, because germinating them is easy. Geranium seeds don’t require much to germinate, but do pay attention to the following aspect to ensure the success of the propagation:
- Plant in a seedling container and barely cover them with potting mix.
- Keep them moist but not wet. If the potting mix becomes overly wet, fungus can form on the surface.
- Keep them in a warm location (ideal temperature conditions should be around 70-75°F during the day and 60-65°F at night).
- Keep in a sunny spot and make sure they receive light for about 12 hours a day.
You can sow them indoors in February. After 12 to 16 weeks your scented geraniums propagated from seeds should be ready to bloom for the first time.
There you have it — propagating scented geraniums from seeds can take a bit of time and effort, but the most difficult part of the whole process is probably harvesting the seeds.
If you already have seeds ordered off the internet, you can skip the seed collecting phase and get right to germination.
And if the whole process seems like it takes a lot of time, there’s always the other propagation method — from cuttings.
Cuttings take less time to root and since it’s already a formed plantlet, it will also bloom faster compared to scented geraniums propagated from seeds.