The ICPS Seed Bank survives on seeds donated by members. If your growing conditions allow you to collect seed, please do so and send it to the ICPS Seed Bank.
By donating seed to the seed bank, you benefit by obtaining credit for seed you want from the seed bank. Donating seed benefits other members of the ICPS as growing CPs from seed allows them to learn about and enjoy species they may not otherwise be able to obtain.
The ratio of donations to free packets is 15 packets worth of seed donated for one free packet of seed. The major benefit of donating seed is access to the seeds in the seed bank available only with seed donation credit. Expand your collection with these rare species available in very limited quantity.
Members outside the USA: Sending seeds to the Seed Bank requires the use of our seed import permit and shipment to an inspection station. Seeds must also be very clean and packaged according to the permit instructions. Please read the permit requirements and contact the Seed Bank manager on ClubExpress for the required permit and mailing labels. The permit and labels will need to be mailed to you before you can send the seeds.
USA Members: Please send donated seed to:
International Carnivorous Plant Society
2121 N. California Blvd., Suite 290
Walnut Creek, CA 94596-7351
USA members also note that with the 2007 and 2011 changes in postal regulations, padded envelopes are treated as packages instead of over-size or non-machineable envelopes. They require a minimum postage of $4.70 (2022).
When collecting seeds, please remember these guidelines:
- Seed of endangered species cannot be shipped internationally without a CITES permit: If you do not live in the USA, please do not send seeds of these species to the Seed Bank: Sarracenia oreophila, S. rubra ssp. alabamensis, S. rubra ssp. jonesii, Pinguicula ionantha, Nepenthes rajah, and N. khasiana.
- The ICPS discourages wholesale collection of wild seed. Please read the Wild Seed Collection Policy if you plan on collecting seed from wild plants.
- Don't collect seed from a hybrid unless your purpose is to create a new hybrid. Hybrids generally don't breed true to type and other growers won't know what to expect. If the seeds are hybrids, please carefully note the details. Seeds of hybrid Sarracenia may be mixed. Please do not mix any other hybrids or any species. The Seed Bank will not distribute mixed species to members.
- Be careful about pollination. Many species will self-pollinate. This can be good. Others require cross-pollination with an unrelated plant or a different genetic individual of the same species. If the unrelated plants don't flower at the same time, try freezing the pollen in aluminum foil until it can be used.
- Collect the seed in paper envelopes. The reason for paper is the seeds need to dry out. You can buy small envelopes or fold your own. I recommend you fold your own and have a page with instructions to make your own envelopes. These envelopes work MUCH better than any you can buy and they are essentially free if you use paper that would otherwise be recycled.
Many members use wax paper envelopes. I don't particularly like them because they tend to trap seed in the seams and leak at the corners. If you do use wax paper envelopes, make sure you get the kind where the seeds can not leak out.
Plastic bags can be a serious problem for seeds. Static causes the seeds to stick to the plastic. Seeds in plastic bags can get moldy and die.
Don't use tape. A lot of seed is lost to tape. Use envelopes that work! You won't get seed credit for seeds lost to tape or that spill out of envelopes.
- Separate the seed from other material. Most countries require that imported seeds be cleaned of all chaff. The other plant material with the seeds also can be a source for mold during storage and when the seed is sown. A set of small sieves comes in very handy when cleaning seeds. The Seed Bank has a collection of sieves with different mesh bought at kitchen stores. They work great. Here are instructions for cleaning seed.
- Record the date you collected the seed. Seeds of some species of Nepenthes and Pinguicula have a very limited lifetime. Send them to the Seed Bank immediately; don't test germinate them first.
- Except for Nepenthes, store the seed in the refrigerator after it has dried and until you can send it to the Seed Bank.
- Please help the Seed Bank by folding packets of seed before you send it in. There are instructions on how to fold packets. Please use wax paper or translucent baking paper. These specialty papers are safer for the seeds and easier to handle. Printer paper or bond paper tend to be too stiff and you can't see the seeds inside. Use of those types of paper result in more accidents handling the seeds. Don't use tape to make your packets work. Tape is bad.
Put the packets in the make-your-own envelopes made with 8.5 inch square printer paper and label the envelope with a description of what is inside, how many packets, your name, and the date. There is no need to put a label on each packet or to put the packets in small coin envelopes. The Seed Bank uses standard envelopes and labels to minimize handling problems and errors. You are not helping me by doing this extra work yourself.
Folding the packets of seed yourself allows you to know exactly how much credit you will get. The main question to ask yourself is "how many seeds would I need to get a reasonable number of plants?" and then add a few more because you are an expert and the seeds could be going to a novice member. Remember, you are sharing seeds with your friends, one packet per friend.
For species like Darlingtonia, Dionaea, Nepenthes and Sarracenia, include about 40 seeds per packet. For Drosera and Utricularia species with tiny seeds, it is best to include 50 to 100 seeds depending on how confident you are about germination and growth of seedlings. For rare species, species with large seeds like Byblis, Drosophyllum, Ibicella and Roridula, or hand pollinated Pinguicula and Utricularia it would be appropriate to have fewer seeds per packet.
- Use a padded envelope when you send seed to the Seed Bank to protect the seed from postal machines. You can put the envelopes of packets in plastic bags to protect them for moisture during shipment. Please use standard first class or international air mail to send the seeds.