As I look out over my landscaping plants and observe their growth patterns and textures, I am reminded that many are at the end of their growing cycles.

When this occurs, plants turn their energy to the survival of their species by producing seeds.

Many times this part of a plant’s cycle is missed, either because the seed pods are small or camouflaged or because we aren’t tending plants as closely.

Seeds are nature’s means of survival, and what many of us don’t realize is, it is very beneficial to collect seeds from our favorite or strongest varieties.

The plants we grow adapt to our individual conditions, and this is passed along in the seeds.

Whether it’s the natural defenses against the pests a plant encounters, the pH of our soil or the longevity of its genetics in our landscaping, these seeds contain much or all of this information.

As opposed to store-bought seed packets that come from “who knows where,” harvesting seeds greatly increases the odds of having highly successful plants year after year.

By gathering seeds, you know they’re fresh, that they haven’t been genetically altered as some seeds are by scientists trying to alter or create new hybrids, and they are already acclimated to your specific growing conditions.

While we care about seeds that grow beautiful flowers or great-tasting vegetables, seed growers must sell seeds that ship well and can be stored for long periods of time, both of which may compromise and/or diminish beauty and taste.

Gathering seeds also saves money and promotes a sense of satisfaction, knowing you maintain much of the control over the quality of your plants.

One last and fun advantage of gathering seeds is you can share with your local friends and neighbors, being confident of the seed quality you give and receive.

There are some specifics you must know to be successful at growing plants from seeds.

Next week, I will discuss the specifics of harvesting and storing seeds properly.

Darla Horner Menking is a Texas Master Gardener and Master Naturalist. Contact her at

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