Collecting seeds from your rosemary is perhaps the simplest way to make sure that you can grow a lot more of the tasty herb for free. The seeds develop with the flowers, so if your rosemary is flowering right now, you might already be able to collect a lot of seeds from it.
I want to share my method for collecting rosemary seeds in this article since I have found it to be not only the most reliable method but actually also the easiest. Let’s get into it.
To have the highest chance of success when you collect seeds from your rosemary, you have to know about the four steps I cover now, but don’t worry, they are very easy to follow and understand.
Step 1: Make sure the seeds are fully developed
Before you collect your rosemary seeds from your plant, you have to make sure that they are fully developed and ready to be collected.
If you collect seeds before they are fully developed, they won’t germinate and will be wasted. It is easy to be impatient when you see the seeds forming and you want to collect them, but if you are not sure if they are ready to be collected, don’t do it. It is not worth it.
So how can you know if the seeds are fully developed and ready to be collected?
The easiest way to make sure that rosemary seeds are ready to be collected is to wait until they turn dark brown inside the flowers and the flowers dry out. Once the flowers are dry and the seeds are dark brown, they should be ready to be collected.
That said, don’t pick the seeds just yet, because I will share some more tricks that will make it easier and most likely also more successful.
In this photo, you can see some green seeds on the left that aren’t ready to be collected yet and some brown ones on the right that are almost ready.
The seeds should actually be ready to be planted when they are brown and the flowers are dry, however, if you want to store them so you can sow them later, I recommend that you follow the last 3 steps.
Step 2: Cut the flowers and dry them for 1-2 weeks
Rosemary seeds (and other seeds for that matter) should be dry when they are stored. To make sure they are completely dry, I have a small and easy trick.
I usually cut the entire flowers off the plant instead of just picking the seeds one by one. I then put the flowers in a dark and dry place where they can dry out for about 1-2 weeks.
I do this to be completely sure that they are dry before I store them because if there is any moisture left in them, they can develop mold which can destroy the seeds and whatever else is around them.
Remember that you don’t have to cut all the flowers from your rosemary. Each seed pod usually contains multiple seeds, so you probably don’t need to cut that many. Removing the flowers has certain advantages and disadvantages that you can read about in the article on this link.
You might be able to just snap the flower stems off your rosemary plant, but in my experience, it is much easier and better to use pruning shears. With those, it is much easier to make a clean cut without damaging the plant and if you just use your fingers to break the stem, you risk shaking the flower and causing it to drop some of the seeds.
I use these pruning shears from Amazon, as you can see in a lot of photos on my website. They are inexpensive but really good for a lot of jobs including this.
Step 3: Collect the seeds from the flowers
When the flowers have dried out completely, the seeds are ready to be collected.
You can either pick the seeds from the pods one by one with some tweezers or a similar tool, but I have a much faster method.
I usually grab the dry flowers at the base and hold them inside a paper bag where I shake them relatively hard for some time. If the flowers and seeds are sufficiently dry, this should loosen most of them, making them fall into the bag.
You probably have to remove dry petals and other parts of the flowers from the bag when you do this but it still saves a lot of time compared to picking the seeds one by one.
Now you just have one step left.
Step 4: Plant the seeds or store them for later
Now that you have collected your rosemary seeds, you can either sow them right away or save them for later.
If you want to sow them right away, you should head over to the article on this link where I explain everything you need to know to have the highest chance of success.
If you want to save the seeds for later, you should store them in a dark, dry, and relatively cold (although not freezing) place. I usually put my seeds in small paper bags and keep them in a drawer. They can usually last for a couple of years like that.