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Seed-Saving And Cuttings From Favorite Annuals Mean More Beautiful Flowers Next Year

calendula flower
Flowers like calendula make for good seed saving.

Gaze out on your garden and take in all the beauty that you've planted! The annual flowers are really showing their colors now and perhaps you want to grow them again next year.Depending on the flower, you can either save its seeds or root them.

Saving seeds and taking cuttings is also a money-saver. Charlie can walk you through how to save seeds and also how to take a cutting and grow it in a sunny window this winter to have a "mother plant" for next spring.

More from All Things Gardening: The Rose Of Sharon Adds Late Summer Color


If you have annual flowers in your outdoor garden or raised bed that you really love and want to plant again next year, consider this seed-saving method! Seed-saving works best for flower varieties like calendula, marigold, zinnias and cosmos. Once you find a variety that you really like, make sure it is not a hybrid, as those won't work. If the flower is grown from seeds that are open-pollinated or heirloom, then you can save them.

Wait until the flowers go to seed, collect them, then bring them inside and put them into a brown paper bag or jar to fully dry. Remember to put a label on them!

Store them in a cool, dark place and next year, plant again!


Taking cuttings of coleus, geraniums, impatiens and begonias and rooting them also works to carry over your favorites from season to season without purchasing news seeds or plants.

This method is best for flower varieties like calendula, marigold, begonias and zinnias. You can also take cuttings of coleus, geraniums and impatiens and root them to plant next year. To do this, simply take 4-to-6-inch cuttings, dip the cut end in hormone-rooting powder and then put them in a container and place it in a bright room, out of direct sun.

More from All Things Gardening: Love Your Outdoor Coleus Plants? Propagate Them For Indoor Living

In a week or so, you should see roots. Once you do, you'll have a houseplant you can keep in a sunny window all winter long until spring, when you can replant in a container or in the garden.

With a little forethought now, you can save your favorites and look forward to them again in the spring!

Q: We have some beautiful acorn squash in the garden for the first time. What is the best way to determine when to pick them off the vine? - John, in North Ferrisburg

The first thing is to remember: What is the mature squash color for the variety you planted?

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When the outside of the squash becomes less glossy, that's a good sign it is ready. Then, take your thumbnail and press it in gently. If it seems there is good resistance, then is has a hard enough shell and is ready to harvest. Cut it off with a four-to-six-inch stem, bring it in and cure, if needed.

Q: I believe my tomatoes have come down with tomato mosaic virus and I don't know how to treat them. They are stunted and the skins are tough and mottled. Is there anything to be done? - Lois, via email

Firstly, confirm whether it is a tomato mosaic virus, which causes twisted leaves, mottling and yellowing.

It might also be stink bugs. When they feed on the fruit, they cause similar symptoms.

If you're sure it is the virus, you should remove the plant, as it cannot be cured, and the infection can spread to other plants.

When you do remove the plants, don't put them into your compost. Next year, be sure to look for virus-resistant varieties.

More from All Things Gardening: Squash Those Squash Bugs (And Mash Those Potato Beetles)

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All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a messageor get in touch by tweeting us @vprnet.

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Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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