I have a couple of seed...ish things I seem to remember getting last fall and hence saving for the spring. But looking at them now, I don't know what they are or if they have any chance of survival.

This is a sample of a bunch that were kept in a Ziploc bag. It doesn't look promising to me:

Seeds 1

And this was received at some event or other:

Seeds 2

I'm mostly curious as to what these were/are. Any hope or should I toss them?

2 Answers 2


The seeds are from Lunaria annua, or Honesty in English. The black seeds look fine to me. Best is to sow them in early springtime, but maybe they will succeed still sown now? Depends of course on what season it is now where you live.


The first are the seed pods from Lunaria annua. But you need not worry if they are crushed, the silver papery things are just the seed pods. The real seeds are the black disks and they look perfectly fine to me. If they are from last year, they are not what we gardeners call “old”, but the standard1 case: Collect in fall, store indoors and start the next generation in spring. Storing the seeds in a ziploc bag or other airtight container is good, provided they were really dry - which also seems to be the case here, I see no traces of mold.

The second is some unknown seeds (which we can’t identify unless it’s written somewhere on the card) that have been encased in paper. It’s a novelty thing, but works actually fine. Just sow as directed. Usually the manufacturers will use more “robust” plants, so even if the card is not brand-new, you have a good chance that at least some seeds will germinate.

1 This is a bit of a generalization, of course. Some seeds need the winter frost (stratification) and can be sown in fall to germinate in spring or can even survive winters as seedlings.

  • When I'm in doubt of viability, I soak seeds overnight in 2g/L (20mM) potassium nitrate. speeds up germination something awesome. Sprouting on damp paper towels in warm dark prevents Fusarium and its buddies from killing your seeds. Jun 10, 2018 at 14:37

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