How to Harvest Iris Seedpods


Thousands of iris varieties provide a wealth of jewel-toned beauty in gardens around the globe. Highly adaptable to numerous environments, iris plants grow from rhizomes, which multiply easily producing lush, colorful stands ranging in height from inches to several feet. The multitude of iris varieties, easily propagated through rhizome division, can also be cross-pollinated to create interesting hybrids, using the seeds to produce a new variety. Whether you want to create new iris hybrids or see the results from an iris seed of unknown origin, collecting seeds is the first step of the colorful journey.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper or plastic bag
  • Twist ties or kitchen twine
  • Garden scissors
  • Bowl
  • Aluminum pie plate or tray
  • Envelope or glass jar with lid
  • Label
  • Marker
  • Allow seedpods to mature on uncut stalks of existing iris plants. The pods typically reach maturity from mid- to late summer. Pods are ready for harvest when they partially turn brown, begin to crack open at the top and feel slightly dry to the touch.

  • Place a paper or plastic bag over the seedpod and tie it shut with a twist tie or kitchen twine a few days or immediately before removing the mature pods from the iris plant.

  • Cut the covered pods and several inches of stalk from the plant.

  • Untie bags and dump seed pods and any loose seeds into a large bowl.

  • Break the seedpods open and gently use fingernails or a fork to scrape mature seeds loose from the spongy material inside. Mature seeds should be glossy and dark brown.

  • Lay clean seeds in a pie plate or tray and place in a cool, dry location without sunlight to dry for at least five to seven days.

  • Store dried seeds in an envelope or airtight glass jar and label with the date and any hybrid information.

Tips & Warnings

  • Harvest seeds from only the healthiest iris plants.
  • Iris seeds have a short shelf life; therefore, it is best to plant them immediately after drying.

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