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Life Expectancy of Seeds

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Save the Seed!

Saving seeds from your garden, or trading seeds with friends is always an economical and fun way to grow plants every year. The trick to growing these little treasures is not only how they are stored, but how long they are viable.

Seeds require a cool, dry and dark storage space so that they retain stored carbohydrates and minimize fungal infection. I like to keep my seeds in my door of my refrigerator in a sealed container, or in my basement where the temperature is a constant 52ºF. Storing your harvested seeds correctly can increase your luck with germination.

Remember, always label the seed well with both Botanical name and Common name to avoid any confusion in the future. Also, add the growing requirements so you don’t have to look it up later.

These figures reflect the amount of years before germinating becomes erratic.

 

 

Plant

Plant Type

Expected Storage Years with Good Conditions

African Daisy

Annual

3

Ageratum

Annual

4

Alyssum

Annual

4

Amaranths

Annual

4-5

Anemone

Perennial

2

Asparagus

Vegetable

3

Aster

Annual

2

Aubrieta

Perennial

2

Balloon Vine (Cardiospermum)

Annual/Perennial

4

Bean

Vegetable

3

Beets

Vegetable

4

Beggartick (Bidens)

Perennial

2

Broccoli

Vegetable

5

Brussels Sprouts

Vegetable

3

Cabbage

Vegetable

4

Calendula

Annual

5

Campanula

Perennial

3

Candytuft

Perennial

3

Canna

Perennial

3

Cantaloupe

Fruit

6-10

Cardoon

Vegetable

5

Carnation

Perennial

5

Carrot

Vegetable

3

Cauliflower

Vegetable

4

Celery

Vegetable

3

Celosia

Annual

4

Chervil

Vegetable

3

Chicory

Vegetable

4

Chinese Cabbage

Vegetable

3

Chrysanthemum

Perennial

5

Ciboule

Vegetable

2

Clarkia

Annual

3

Collards

Vegetable

5

Coleus

Annual

2

Columbine (Aquilegia)

Perennial

4

Coreopsis

Perennial

2

Corn (Sweet)

Vegetable

2

Corn Cockle

Annual

4

Cosmos

Annual

3

Cucumber

Vegetable

5

Dahlia

Tuber

2

Dandelion

Tuber

2

Datura

Annual

4

Delphinium

Perennial

1

Dianthus

Annual/Perennial

4

Dicentra

Perennial

2

Dog Fennel (Anthemis)

Perennial

2

Dusty Miller

Annual/Perennial

3

Eggplant

Vegetable

4

Endive

Vegetable

5

English Daisy (Bellis)

Perennial

3

False Chamomile (Boltonia)

Perennial

5

Fennel

Herb

4

Floss Flower

Annual

4

Gaillardia

Perennial

3

Garden Cress

Vegetable

5

Geranium

Annual

1

Hibiscus

Shrub

3

Hollyhock

Biennial

5

Impatiens

Annual

2

Kale

Vegetable

4

Kohlrabi

Vegetable

3

Leeks

Vegetable

2

Lettuce

Vegetable

5

Lobelia

Annual

3

Marigold

Annual

3

Marynia

Vegetable

2

Muskmelon

Fruit

5

Mustard

Vegetable

4

Nasturtium

Annual

5

New Zealand Spinach

Vegetable

3

Nicotiana

Annual

3

Okra

Vegetable

2

Onion

Vegetable

1

Painted Tongue (Salpiglossis)

Annual

5

Pansy

Annual

3

Parsley

Herb

5

Parsnip

Vegetable

1

Pea

Vegetable

3

Pepper

Vegetable

2

Petunia

Annual

3

Pimpernel (Anagallis)

Annual/Perennial

5

Phlox

Annual

2

Platycodon

Perennial

3

Poppy

Annual

4

Potato (real seed)

Vegetable

5

Pumpkin

Vegetable

4

Radish

Vegetable

5

Rock Cress (Arabis)

Perennial

3

Rutabaga

Vegetable

4

Salvia

Annual/Perennial

1

Scabiosa

Perennial

3

Screwstems (Bartonia)

Annual/Perennial

2

Shasta Daisy

Perennial

3

Snapdragon

Annual/Perennial

3

Spinach

Vegetable

3

Squash

Vegetable

4

Strawflower

Annual

3

Sunflower

Annual

5

Sweet Pea

Annual

2

Sweet Sultan

Annual

5

Sweet William

Biennial

2

Swiss Chard

Vegetable

4

Thunbergia

Perennial

2

Thrift (Armeria)

Perennial

3

Tithonia

Perennial

2

Tomato

Vegetable

4

Turnip

Vegetable

4

Verbena

Annual

3

Vinca

Annual

1

Viola

Annual/Perennial

3

Virginia Stock

Annual

2

Wallflower

Biennial

5

Water Cress

Vegetable

5

Watermelon

Fruit

4

Winged Everlasting (Ammobium)

Annual

2

Wisteria

Perennial

2

Yarrow

Perennial

4

Zinnia

Annual

5

 

Source: Various resources including Purdue University, Iowa State University, Washington State University, Oregon State University and University of Ohio

 

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