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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - June 10, 2011

From: Bayside, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Can wildflower seeds be stored in plastic from Bayside TX
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have been harvesting seeds from all of the varieties of wildflowers I'd planted in a raised flower bed. I had vacuum sealed them with my Seal-A Meal but a few days ago I was told that this was not recommended since the seeds were still "living and breathing". I have a large supply of wildflower seeds and would hate for a misstep to endanger their germination probability.

ANSWER:

Please read our How-To Article Seed Collecting and Storage. Since we don't know if you did the drying out of the seeds before you packaged them, we have no idea if your seeds are still viable. Of particular concern is this paragraph under "Seed Storage:"

"Do not store seeds in plastic bags or other non-breathable containers unless they are air-dried throroughly first."

Since we have no personal experience with testing for seed viability, we found this article from In the Garden Online on Checking Seed Viability. If you find some species that will germinate, we suggest you then follow the instructions in our How-To Article above to store them until you are ready to plant. If you find any indications of mold, we recommend you discard those seeds, being careful not to allow them to contaminate any other seeds.

 

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