How to Save Coleus Flower Seeds

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You can save coleus seed, but for hybrids next-generation plants will differ.
You can save coleus seed, but for hybrids next-generation plants will differ.

Coleus are grown for the boldly colorful, decorative and often scalloped leaves. A tender annual, coleus makes a very useful bedding plant. The insignificant and modest flower spikes are usually cut off as soon as they appear. However, if you allow them to develop and then carefully pick the flower spikes after they bloom and then turn dry and brown and develop seed pods, you can harvest the tiny seeds to plant for next year's coleus crop.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean glass bowl
  • Full-sized sheet of newspaper
  • Clean, empty pepper shaker
  • Envelope
  • Pencil or pen
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Instructions

    • 1

      Carefully cut the dried, brown flower spikes from the coleus and move them carefully into the glass bowl, taking care to avoid shaking them or breaking the delicate seed pods on the spikes.

    • 2

      Spread the newspaper sheet across a table or other flat surface.

    • 3

      Pick up a flower spike by the stem, and hold it upside down, over the center of the newspaper. Starting at the base of the spike, strip the seed pods from the stem using your thumb and forefinger. Repeat with all the spikes.

    • 4

      Mash all the pods on the newspaper using your fingers, or squeeze the pods until they break open. Make sure you work over the newspaper so that it will catch all the tiny seeds.

    • 5

      Pick up each side of the newspaper, causing the dried pod husks, seeds and all other material stripped from the coleus flower stems to slide into the center fold of the newspaper page. Join the two edges and fold them over at the top.

    • 6

      Pour all the coleus seeds, husks and other dried material from the newspaper into the pepper shaker. The newspaper fold will serve as a guide to direct the material into the shaker with minimal spilling.

    • 7

      Put the lid back on the pepper shaker.

    • 8

      Label the envelope using a pen or pencil.

    • 9

      Shake the seeds from the pepper shaker into the envelope. The shaker head will sort out the seed pods and most of the dried material, allowing only the seeds to shake into the envelope.

    • 10

      Seal the envelope and store it in a cool dry place.

Tips & Warnings

  • Seed from hybrid coleus plants will not grow true to the hybrid, but instead will revert unpredictably to plants that exhibit traits, both desirable and undesirable, of the coleus plants that were crossed to develop the hybrid.

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References

  • Photo Credit Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images

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