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During this past summer I grew a plant with beautiful small, round, bright purple flowers that looked like puffballs. I was told it's called Globe Amaranth. Its height was about six inches, and much of what I read said they're generally much taller. That probably depends on the variety, so I'm comfortable with the identification. I believe it's a perennial in some areas, but is considered an annual here in Massachusetts, zone 6a.

Three weeks ago I picked the last two flowers and brought them in for the purpose of harvesting seeds. I ignored them and they dried without losing their color, so I put them in a container on a shelf in my living room.

Even after an internet search, I don't actually know what the seeds look like or where they're located, so that's my first question. My second is, now that the flowers are dry, are there still viable seeds? Finally, if so, can I leave them alone for six months until it's time for germination?

If there's a general rule of thumb for whether or not a dried flower can store seeds, I'll gladly ask that as a separate question!

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Time to take your flowers apart:

Separate the individual bracts and look at (or feel) their base. If they contain a seed, you can feel the hard lump inside. Pull the bract apart and you should find the seed embedded in some "fluffy" or "hairy" material. (see here for a close-up)

Each bract may contain one seed if its flower was pollinated.

Instead of plucking the flower apart now, you may as well just make sure it is dried well to prevent mold and store it as you would for seeds in general in a cool, dry and possibly airtight place. My favourite storage material are tea-bags for loose tea because they are cheap, easy to write on and allow the seeds to dry in case there is some moisture left. After a bit the bags go in groups in canning jars or similar.

Come spring, separate the seeds from their bracts (try rubbing them between your palms) and proceed as you would with store-bought seeds.

If you prefer to keep the dried flowers out in a vase, warm temperatures, exposure to sunlight and humidity may to some degree reduce the germination rate of your seeds. Besides, I don't know how well the dried flowers hold up, some fall apart after a short while. If you notice such signs, it would be better to pack them up.

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    Hopefully you had old mature flowers, otherwise you may not have mature seeds. I just put them in a paper bag and store in a cool dry dark place. When I want to plant I crush the flowers and the seeds with their covering come out. I sort of work these around in my hands to break them out and then plant them. They need warmth to germinate. The germination rate is rather low so plant thickly. This photo show seeds enclosed in their chaffy coating (Utricles) - lower right allthingsplants.com/plants/photo/35735 – Eric Deloak Nov 29 '15 at 22:02
  • Lots of great advice, thanks. I like that website, it didn't come up in my search. I pulled one flower apart and actually found some seeds! I drink a lot of tea and hadn't thought to store seeds in those bags, probably better than the envelopes I use! I left the second flower whole and will dry it through the winter in a paper bag. That will give me more options in the spring! – Sue Dec 10 '15 at 0:44

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