Will planting non-heirloom seeds near heirlooms affect them?


If I am planting a few seeds that are heirloom and also planting some that are not heirloom, will this affect the heirloom seeds? I am not planning on planting the the same species of plants.


Abi Griffith, Horticulture Community Education Assistant

If you are planning on saving seeds from these heirloom plants, and they are self-pollinating (meaning the flowers of the plant have both male and female parts, and the flowers are often constructed in a way that prevents pollen from other plants from entering), you shouldn’t have too much of an issue with cross pollination. If we are referring to vegetables, this includes beans, peas and tomatoes. Also, if the species of heirloom/non- heirloom aren’t the same, this will not be an issue at all.

It is important to note that cross-pollination does not impact the quality of the current crop, which will have all the characteristics of the desired variety regardless of what it was pollinated by, in case that was your question!

If your question is mostly concerned with the quality of the seed you are trying to save, this article – How do I Save Seeds For Next Year from UNH really walks you through the basics of anything you may be concerned about. Which hopefully will be helpful, since I’m not sure what kind of plants you are referring to and that may make a difference!