I'm sure you will think this is a really dumb question..but here goes anyway. When I deadhead flowers, are the seeds viable and worth saving or do they go to the compost. How can I tell if they have been pollinated or am I just missing the big picture on seed saving from flowers? I just haven't saved any seed in the past that wasn't completely obvious, like sunflowers or beans.
Dead flowers don't necessarily have viable seeds in. The seed is the next stage in the plant's growth, after the flowers. After pollination, the seed capsule will swell as the seeds inside grow. They won't be any good until they are mature and then ripe.
If you leave the dead flowers on the plant, you should be able to notice the seed capsule getting bigger. When the seeds are ripe, the seed capsule will get dry and brown, and then you can harvest the seeds.
The flower is only there to attract pollinators, so it's only the beginning of the seed production process.
Yes,Mary is completely right. You must leave the dead flower on the plant until it is brown and dried. Sometimes it is necessary to cover the ripening seed hesd with a piece of panty hose,or something similar so that you won't lose your seeds if the capsule is the kind that pops open.
On something like zinnias,you will ahve to break the dead flower head open and the seeds are in the center of the flower.
They are in the part that is yellow when the flower is in bloom.If you look closely at a living zinnia you can see the stamens and pistils all clumped together in the yellow part.
Your seeds will be in this area.Just like a miniture sunflower.The seeds will be flat and not like a sunflower of course,but it is the same principle.