5 Tried-and-True Tips for Storing Seeds

Updated: Jul. 03, 2024

Save those seeds! Our volunteer field editors share their proven tips for storing garden seeds for the next growing season.

Grow More Varieties From Seeds

storing seeds salvia hummingbirdCourtesy BILL MCCLURE
Hummingbird at salvia blooms

“One of my top favorite flowers for hummingbirds is called firecracker salvia. I can never seem to find it in local nurseries, so I’ve been growing it from seeds from my original plants. Toward the end of the season, I let the seed heads dry out on the plant, and then I cut the flower stalks and put them into a labeled bag that I use for storing the seeds over the winter,” says Birds & Blooms field editor Sue Cassidy of Hughesville, Maryland.

Did you know: Salvia is popular for hummingbirds. Look for both annual and perennial options out there.

Store Seeds in Paper Bags

“I leave about half of my seeds on their flowers to feed the birds in the winter, but the other half I save in paper bags. (I always use paper instead of plastic for storing seeds. Plastic can hold more moisture, which may cause the seed heads to mold.) Once everything is packaged and labeled, I keep the bags in a cool, dry place until it’s time to sow,” says Connie Etter Martinsville, Indiana.

Storing Pumpkin Seeds After Halloween

pumpkinsCourtesy Sherry Holbein/Country magazine
Save pumpkin seeds after carving.

“We keep seeds from our pumpkins at Halloween. When the kids are scooping out the guts, we take a handful of seeds and put them on a paper towel. After the seeds are completely dry, we put the towel away with the rest of our seeds for spring. We start the seeds in cups and then replant in the garden,” says Rebecca Williamson of Bushnell, Illinois.

Here’s how to recycle pumpkins for birds and wildlife.

Don’t Forget to Label Seeds

“Label, label, label! I save lots of seeds from flowers and veggies, and make packets well ahead of time, so I can label everything right away. There have been too many times where I’ve said to myself, “Oh, I’ll write it down later,” only to be scratching my head in the spring, trying to figure out which variety is which!” says Melanie Theisen of Rocky Point, New York.

Swap Seeds With Other Gardeners

Onion and carrot seed packets, free plantsJohn Block/Getty Images
Swap seed packets with other local gardeners.

“After the pods on my milkweed plants open, I take the seeds and shake them into envelopes that I’ve labeled with the year the seeds were collected. I take these seed envelopes to my local seed swap. I get all my vegetables and flowers this way,” says Patrick Hogan of Temperance, Michigan.

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