Water Viability Test On Seeds?

I just collected a few thousand seeds off of a dried up aster type flower in a pot from a nursery. Can I test the seeds now (Sep 29) so I know which ones to keep. Will it hurt to test them now if I thoroughly dry them again before storing the viable ones? Or do I have to wait till spring?


One last question. The plant was left in the sun without water for a couple of weeks. Could that effect the seeds ripening? I actually did throw a few hundred in a tall glass of cool water and they are all floating (even after stirring vigorously) except for about 20 of them. I really enjoy collecting seeds and have had fair success in the past. I want to make sure I use my time, money, space, and efforts on seeds that will grow as I don't have a lot of it to spare. Any advice or experience in regards to these questions is welcomed.

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October 3, 20160 found this helpful

Yes, you can test the seeds, now. You cannot test seeds for viability and then save those same seed to be planted, later. It doesn't work that way. Also, you cannot know which seeds are viable until they have germinated. What you will know after testing the seed is the approximate percentage of viable seed in the untested batch.


Do your testing this way:
Clean and dry the seed in preparation for storing til Spring. Separate a small amount of seed for testing. Let's say you have 1000 seed and you separate 100 for testing. If you have 50 of those 100 seed to germinate, then you can expect 50% of the remaining 900 to germinate when planted next Spring (assuming the seed were properly stored during Winter).

The plant going without water for a period of time could affect seed maturation. If the seed were mature before the dry period, that period would not affect the seed.

Do not wet the seed you plan to keep til Spring. It will reduce the viability, greatly. Self sown seeds may go through many wettings and dryings during the Winter and still remain viable, but you cannot duplicate the natural conditions that make this so.

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October 4, 20160 found this helpful

Thank you that answered all my questions.

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