Collecting Moonflower Seeds for Next Season
The moonflower vine is a beautiful climbing plant that opens its large white flowers just before dusk. This tropical vine is grown as an annual in most zones in the United States. Unlike many annuals, moonflowers cannot reproduce from cuttings. Leave a large number of spent blooms on the vine in order to produce seed heads.
Moonflowers planted soonest after the final spring frost, as seeds or from seedlings, will produce the most viable seeds. These splendid white flowers require at least six weeks to extend their vines, bloom, form seed heads, and allow the seed pods to mature on the vine. Collect the seeds and store them to ensure you have the healthiest seeds for germinating and transplanting next spring.
Step 1 - Collect the Seeds
The moonflower vines produce seed heads, which remain on the twining vines. Harvest these in one of three ways:
- Remove and dry the seed heads, leaving them intact.
- Break open the seed heads immediately to harvest the seed pods.
- Allow the seed heads to dry fully on the vines, and gather the seed pods.
Inside the seed heads, the seeds are encased in black, hard-shelled seed pods, with three or four white seeds in each pod. Make a tiny cut in the seed pod to check for a healthy, green lining. Discard the seed pod if the lining is black, brown, moldy, or has been infested by insects.
Step 2 - Prepare the Seeds for Storage
Moonflower seeds need to be dried for storage in the seed pods, so they can germinate effectively later. When correctly dried and stored, santana moonflower seeds will remain usable for up to a full year.
- Dry seed pods in a paper bag placed in direct sunlight, till they appear light brown on the outside.
- Inspect the seed pods after two or three days, checking the lining again.
- Discard pods with small, immature seeds or discolored linings.
- Save only the best and healthiest seeds.
Step 3 - Store the Seeds in Optimum Conditions
For the best growth outdoors in cool climates such as Zones 5, 6 and 7, moonflower seeds benefit from chilling while in storage. (Keep in mind that moonflowers can be grown indoors as well.)
- Place the paper bag of seed pods in a jar or plastic bag.
- Label it with contents and date stored.
- Store it near the bottom of the refrigerator where the temperature conditions are consistent.
In the warmest growing zones, chilling the dried seed pods is not necessary. Store them in a cool, dry location away from direct light. Be sure to keep all moonflower seeds and seed pods away from small children and pets, as they are poisonous when eaten, and can be fatal.
Moonflower seeds thrive best in Zones 6 and 7 when germinated indoors for transplantation outdoors. In warmer growth zones, especially Zones 8 to 11, many moonflower varieties are perennials, so they will self-seed at the end of the season. In spring, "volunteer" seedlings will sprout up, which can then be carefully transplanted, if necessary, to the section of the garden where you want them to spread.