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Flower Seed Viability Chart for Gardeners

Flower Seed Viability Chart for Gardeners

Jeena Lugo Jeena Lugo
6 minute read

Flower seed viability is a crucial factor to consider when planning a garden or landscape filled with vibrant flower plants. Viability refers to the ability of a seed to germinate and develop into a healthy, thriving plant. For gardeners, understanding the average lifespan of flower seeds is essential to ensure the successful growth and blooming of their favorite flower plants.  Keep in mind that this chart is just under normal circumstances and seeds can be saved for many more years than the chart below will indicate.  Germination rates typically go down each year, but you should still be able to germinate some seeds for quite some years.  Let's take a look at the flower seed viability chart we made.

Factors Affecting Flower Seed Viability

The viability of flower seeds varies significantly depending on the species. Some seeds, like those of the Phlox and Rocket Larkspur, have a relatively short viability period, ranging from one to two years. On the other hand, flower seeds like those of the Nasturtium, Lavender, and Johnny Jump Up can remain viable for up to five years. Gardeners should be aware of these differences when storing and using seeds to optimize their gardening efforts and avoid disappointment.

Proper Storage for Seed Viability

Proper storage plays a vital role in maintaining flower seed viability. Learning how to store heirloom seeds will help you keep them viable longer.  Ideally, seeds should be stored in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight, with a consistent temperature and low humidity. Using air-tight containers or resealable bags can also help preserve the quality and viability of flower seeds. By adhering to these storage practices, gardeners can ensure that their seeds remain viable for the longest possible time, allowing for the successful propagation of flower plants.

Harvesting and Seed Viability

In addition to storage conditions, the seed harvesting process can influence flower seed viability. Collecting seeds from healthy, mature plants typically results in higher viability rates. Additionally, allowing seeds to dry thoroughly before storage can help prolong their lifespan, leading to more robust and thriving flower plants.

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Germination and Seed Viability

The germination process is another aspect affected by flower seed viability. Highly viable seeds often have higher germination rates, meaning that a greater percentage of seeds will successfully sprout and develop into flower plants. Monitoring germination rates can provide gardeners with valuable insight into the overall health and vitality of their seeds, helping them make informed decisions about when to sow new seeds or replace older, less viable ones.

Using a Flower Seed Viability Chart

The flower seed viability chart can serve as a helpful reference for gardeners, providing information about the average lifespan of various flower seeds. For example, SunflowersZinnias, and Cosmos are known for their impressive viability, with seeds remaining viable for three to four years. Knowing this information can help gardeners plan their gardens more effectively, ensuring they have viable seeds on hand for each planting season.

Limitations of Seed Viability

It's essential to note that flower seed viability is not a guarantee of successful germination or healthy flower plants. Many factors can influence the growth and development of plants, such as soil conditions, water availability, and sunlight exposure. However, understanding seed viability can provide gardeners with a solid foundation for optimizing their flower gardens and enjoying the beauty and variety of these stunning plants.

Below is the flower seed viability chart in alphabetical order for the flowers we currently carry on our website. The chart indicates the average number of years for which the seeds will remain viable under proper storage conditions:

flower seed viability
Flower Viability (Years)
African Marigold – Crackerjack (Tagetes erecta) 3
Alyssum – Carpet of Snow 4
Alyssum – Royal Carpet 4
Baby's Breath – Annual (Gypsophila elegans) 3
Bergamot – (Monarda fistulosa) 4
Black Eyed Susan – (Rudbeckia hirta) 2
Calendula – Ball's Orange (Calendula officinalis) 3
Calendula – Pacific Beauty Mix (Calendula officinalis) 3
California Poppy – Mikado (Eschscholzia californica) 2
Candytuft – Annual 4
China Aster – Powder Puff (Callistephus chinensis) 3
Coleus – Rainbow Mix (Coleus blumei) 2
Columbine – Blue (Aquilegia caerulea) 3
Corn Poppy – Red (Papaver rhoeas) 2
Cornflower – Tall Mixed (Centaurea cyanus) 2
Cosmos – Candystripe (Cosmos bipinnatus) 4
Cosmos – Dazzler 4
Cosmos – Purity (Cosmos bipinnatus) 4
Cosmos – Sensation Mix (Cosmos bipinnatus) 4
Creeping Thyme 3
Daisy – English 3
Daisy – Painted (Chrysanthemum carinatum) 3
Daisy – Paper 3
Dianthus – Sweet William Pinks 4
Dwarf Cornflower – Polka Dot Mix (Centaurea cyanus) 2
Forget Me Not – Blue 5
Four O'Clock – Formula Mix (Mirabilis jalapa) 3
Foxglove – (Digitalis purpurea) 2
French Marigold – Dainty Marietta (Tagetes patula) 3
French Marigold – Petite Mix 3
French Marigold – Sparky Mix (Tagetes patula) 3
Hollyhocks – Single Mixed 4
Hollyhocks – Summer Carnival / Alcea 4
Johnny Jump Up – Helen Mount (Viola cornuta) 5
Lavender 5
Lupine – Russel 3
Milkweed – Broadleaf 3
Milkweed – Butterfly 3
Milkweed – Common 3
Milkweed – Narrow-Leaved 3
Milkweed – Rose/Swamp 3
Milkweed – Showy 3
Morning Glory – Grandpa Ott (Ipomoea purpurea) 3
Morning Glory – Heavenly Blue 3
Nasturtium – Alaska Mix 5
Nasturtium – Dwarf Jewel (Tropaeolum nanum) 5
Pansy – Swiss Giants 2
Phlox – Mixed Annual (Phlox drummondii) 1-2
Phlox – Pastel Shades Mix 1-2
Poppy – California 2
Poppy – Iceland (Papaver nudicaule) 2
Rocket Larkspur – Imperial Mix 1
Rockcress – Purple 4
Shasta Daisy – Alaska (Chrysanthemum maximum) 3
Snapdragon – Tetra Mix 3
Sulphur Cosmos – Bright Lights (Cosmos sulphureus) 4
Sunflower – Autumn Beauty 3
Sunflower – Chocolate Cherry (Helianthus annuus) 3
Sunflower – Dwarf Incredible 3
Sunflower – Dwarf Sungold 3
Sunflower – Earthwalker 3
Sunflower – Grey Stripe (Helianthus annuus) 3
Sunflower – Henry Wilde (Helianthus annuus) 3
Sunflower – Lemon Queen 3
Sunflower – Mammoth 3
Sunflower – Mongolian Giant 3
Sunflower – Skyscraper 3
Sunflower – Sunspot 3
Sunflower – Velvet Queen 3
Sweet Pea – Royal Family 3
Yarrow – Western (white seed) 4
Zinnia – California Giants 4
Zinnia – Dahlia Flowered Mix (Zinnia elegans) 4
Zinnia – Envy (Zinnia elegans) 4
Zinnia – Lilliput Mix 4
Zinnia – Orange King 4
Zinnia – Purple Prince (Zinnia elegans) 4
Zinnia – Thumbelina (Zinnia elegans) 4

Conclusion - Flower Seed Viability

In conclusion, flower seed viability plays a critical role in the success of any garden or landscape filled with vibrant flower plants. By understanding the average lifespan of various flower seeds, properly storing them, and monitoring germination rates, gardeners can maximize the potential of their seeds and enjoy the colorful, fragrant beauty of thriving flower plants. Whether nurturing SunflowersZinnias, or other flowering favorites, knowledge of flower seed viability can significantly enhance a gardener's experience and the visual appeal of their outdoor spaces.  Our survival seeds already come packed ready to store for a future garden. 

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