Different salvia have different seedheads, but as a general rule you should look for a trumpet or vase shaped thing attached to the stem where the flower was. It may be hard or spiny in some species. At the bottom of the "vase" will be several oval or round seeds a bit larger than poppy seeds.
The easy way to get at them is to collect 4" segments of stems bearing the "vase" capsules, and put them in a ziplock. Shake it hard, and you will see lots of seeds collecting in the bottom of the bag.
Don't store them in the plastic-- let them dry out thoroughly and store in paper envelopes.
The same collecting method -- if you can call it that -- works for snapdragons.
well i know how to collect for annual varieties and from what i can tell it's the same for perennials. but when i look there is nothing there. are the seeds falling out before i can get them? if that is true then the seeds are there before the flower head dries up and turns brown?
I'm having the same problem: no seeds on my lipstick salvia, either of the two blues (that I can find) - and is the procedure the same for hyssop?(Sunset and Coronado) I did find two, yes two, seeds (I think) from an entire dried stalk on my Friesland. Can't even begin to wonder if the Carpet Sage or Russian sage does the same thing! I either need better contacts or I'm not catching the stalks on time (sigh)
LOL Mamajack, you sound as frustrated as I feel! On another thread someone said if our plants are hybrids, they may be sterile, or, if they set seed it might not come true to form. I like every salvia I've seen so far so I don't really care about true to form or not, I just want a seed darn it!
and i can't find salvia seeds locally except for annual varieties. i knew they all made seeds because there was some lady in north carolina with a ton of seeds but i had nothing to trade with. i keep going back to my plants. i can never feel a seed inside the flower. i have shredded them but see nothing. the annual varieties get a little brown and you can FEEL the seeds. i can't find anything inside the perennials. and i don't care if they come true from seeds either. i just want some seeds.
I'm going to try your method greenjay, about taking the stem and putting it in a ziplock. Mine are usually dry at the bottom but still blooming at the top and if I wait until the top stops, then the bottom ones are always empty it seems. Maybe they will at least re-seed freely! :)
I love dwarf red salvia... but can never find dwarf seeds, so I collect the seed in the fall and plant them the next year... the seeds on the dwarf red are quite firmly stuck inside the leftover bloom.. I pick them one by one and roll the dead bloom in my fingers over an envelope... I too sometimes have to tear the bloom apart and carefully pluck the lil' seeds from the base. Another method would be just to pinch off the spent flower heads and plant the whole thing next year. My Transylvanian salvia (blue stalks, big flowers) have looser seeds, and I have been mini-mulching with aluminum foil at the base of the plant and building ridges at the edge of the foil to catch the seeds because I can't seem to get to them before they fall, or knock the seeds out when I try. I take a ruler and build the foil around it then stick it under the plants where you cannot really see it. Then brush the stalks whenever you pass until you see enough seeds to make it worthwhile.
Consider saving toes from nylons and pantyhose, so the flowers can still 'breath'. Drape it over the flower stalk. Twist-tie at the base.
Or you can buy "organza bags", used for favors at weddings, at Wal-Mart or craft stores. It has a very fine mesh fabric ("organza", I guess). The nice thing is that there are drawstrings. I bought some big enough for wine bottles, and now I store dried peppers in them.
I haven't done this myself yet, but that is what I think happens.
One person suggested wrapping a bit of cotton around the stem, and then closing the drawstring or twist-tie around the cotton. That way, you can get a "tight" seal without crushing or pinching the stem.
I have also thought about putting styrofoam or china plates under plants, hoping they catch a few of the scattered seeds.
It turns out that my main problem is not seeds escaping before I can catch them. It is having the whole pod turn squishy, moldy or rotten before the seeds mature!
One surprising success was the time I let some cutflower zinnias stay in the vase until they turned brown and dead. Then I let them dry slowly. Pulling them apart, I found a few mature-looking seeds in some of the blooms. Just a few from each bloom, but that's better than a mass of mold! I'll give them some time to sit, then try a germination test.
Now I am starying to think in terms of no-blow-away plastic row covers or umbrellas to shield the plants from incessant October rain .