picking flower seeds

I've never been good at this but will try again this year harvesting seeds from the plants. Do I need to harvest after the plant dies or can I snip the seeds off now? I have a lot of moonflower and morning glory seeds just waiting sitting there all closed up on the vine.
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On Sat, 1 Nov 2003 14:06:56 -0600, Mark Anderson

Most flower seeds, in my experience, express their readiness to be planted by starting to spill from the plant. That is, if they're enclosed in pods, the pods dry and split; on others, the petals drop off and the center 'seedy bits' become more prominent and dry. As I recall, morning glories form a round pod that gradually turns papery and dry, and begins to split, exposing the black seeds within.
If the flower seeds are "ripe" -- usually tan, brown or black, not green, and dry -- they are ready to be harvested. Of course, given the variety of the plant world, there is no single rule for this.
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And so it goes for morning glories. As you mentioned, there will be smallish round pods (often in clusters, as are the blooms that open mostly one at a time in each cluster). When these are ripe and dry, a slight pinch to the pod will send the hard black seeds into your palm. Or you can cut them off and sort the seeds into paper bags for storage. Keep 'em cool and dry and they'll be fine for next season's vines. (Moonflower pods are much bigger, but the principle of seed gathering is the same).
Mark: It's an excellent idea to remove most of the pods before they're ripe (if you haven't been deadheading, which is a job-and-a-half on morning glories), unless you want beaucoup de seedlings next year. Or just pull the vines down before the pods have dried and toss 'em.
Best, Tyra nNJ usa z7
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In article snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnoway says...

I had planned on harvesting a lot of seeds to start seedlings indoors next Spring for my garden and to give away. I have a lot of morning glory and moonflowers and there are a lot of pods. If I understand right, I should let them sit out there and ripen on the vine for awhile and then cut them free. It is very tempting to just snip them all off right now and place them in a bag but I feared that maybe the seeds aren't quite ready yet and they wouldn't germinated if harvested too soon.
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Mark Anderson snipped-for-privacy@nospambrandylion.com wrote:

What I was suggesting was that you cut off the RIPE pods into paper bags (or any temporary container, really) so that the seeds won't scatter when you're handling them.....to save you some headaches next spring. The ripe pods will be dry, brown, and papery, with hard, blackish seeds within that will be released easily when you pinch the pod. If they're not ready, leave 'em a bit longer.....there's no rush. You should have plenty of ripe pods by now if you had a good season of blooms. You can save these and then pull down the vines, or continue to harvest seeds as they ripen. You can also cut pieces of the vine with clusters of unripened pods, hang these in a sunny spot, and allow these to ripen in a more controlled manner.
After you've gathered a good supply of seeds, my suggestion is to pull down the vines and dispose of them, to avoid excess germination of the seeds that are still present.
Keep the ripe seeds in a cool, dry environment; I keep most seeds in paper envelopes and store the envelopes in shoeboxes in an unheated garage.
Best, Tyra nNJ usa z7
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Mark.. if your morning glories are like mine, you will have plenty of volunters next spring. i have been, even this late in the year, scruffing out sprouts! ...but still...it's a good idea to save a few just in case!
lee h
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