Question about Darmera peltata flowers/seeds

mark4321_gwMay 7, 2013


This is the second year I've been growing Darmera peltata. I bought it dormant in a 4 inch pot at Annie's Annuals. After some strong growth I moved it into a 1 gallon pot last year--perhaps not big enough.

When I saw leaves expanding this Spring I assumed I would have to wait until next year for flowers. Yesterday I noticed buds--at least 4 clusters/umbels.

My questions:

I thought flowers were supposed to appear first. Is the plant confused by this year's weather, or maybe by my climate (frost free in an otherwise "cold" winter? Or is this normal?

Can I expect seeds to form, even in the absence of a second clone for cross pollination? Will viable seeds form readily on a small plant?

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On the strange growth pattern of Darmera peltata: Mine is just now sprouting! pretty late, but it looks like it is going to bloom before it leafs out. I was at Sonoma Horticultural Nursery near Sebastopol a couple of weeks ago, and theirs was already finished blooming, so maybe it is seed variability? Just a theory. Mine is from Annie's too (it seems like all of my plants are!).

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 1:39AM
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Forgot to add that mine is growing in a non-draining ceramic container, that could make a difference too, but the one at Sonoma Hort. was in the bog area, so who knows?

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 1:42AM
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While I try to not let this one dry out, I would guess that I grow it at the dry end of what it prefers.

I know what you mean when you say all your plants come from Annie's. The picture above is actually unusual in that I see three other plants, none of which come from Annies: Jovellana violacea (Strybing), Cuphea ignea white (DIG Gardens, Santa Cruz, and I'm not sure about the wholesaler), and Cuphea 'Triple Crown' (don't remember the retail nursery; Soquel is the wholesaler). Cuphea 'Triple Crown' appears identical to Cuphea cyanea, which Annie's does sell.

The two Cupheas are hands down the most popular of the plants I grow, with the local hummingbirds.

Annie's is a truly amazing place. There are two ways I like to describe it. It's like a botanical garden, except with prices on everything. It can also be compared to being like a kid in a candy shop--except that the "candy shop" is Willy Wonka's. It really is that nice. For those locals who have never made the trip: prices are much less and selection far greater than indicated online. The neighborhood in Richmond is not perfect, however I have never felt remotely unsafe while in transit or especially while there.

Here is a link that might be useful: Annie's Annuals

    Bookmark   May 9, 2013 at 2:35AM
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I am definitely an Annie's groupie, though I have only visited the nursery a few times (50 min drive) I live near a nursery that carries many of their plants, though that doesn't even compare to the in-store experience. Wow, I sound like an ad, but I sure do love our Bay Area nurseries!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2013 at 12:52AM
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I only got a blurry photo of the plant in bloom:

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 4:20PM
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My plant appears to be forming seeds. It's making little pods--I cracked one open and it was full of immature seeds.

The Darmera leaves are those on the far left.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 4:22PM
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Just in case the above photo wasn't clear, the arrows indicate where pairs of seedpods have emerged from spent flowers.

There are other seedpods in the photo, not indicated.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Nice! Are you a seed saver? Just collected some seed from my Lupinus albifrons, now everywhere I look there's seed pods, just waiting to be plucked (especially if they're in someone else's yard... *rubbing hands together villainously*). Just sayin'

    Bookmark   May 25, 2013 at 10:26PM
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I will definitely be trying to collect seeds from this plant. From what I can find they must mature very quickly (see the link at the bottom--a really nice blog). It sounds like perhaps the pods dry, and then can be removed and/or crushed to liberate the seeds? If anyone has any different experience gathering seeds I would be interested. I would hate for 90% of the seeds to fall to the ground.

In theory, I should be on about the same schedule as the plants in the blog. He reports blooming in mid May; my photo of the flowers is May 14. Since he reports seedlings after 2-3 weeks on July 10th, that would suggest the seed pods should be ripe in mid to late June. I have a vague memory that these should be sown fresh.

Northbay12, if you are interested in trying some, I can definitely give you some. It's funny, but I would say that almost all of my plants that reliably produce seed are from Annie's. A lot of my other plants--vines from the botanical gardens and cloudforest plants--are much shyer when it comes to making seeds.

Here is a link that might be useful: Darmera is apparently stupid, but it can be grown from seed.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2013 at 11:57AM
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I think one Darmera is enough for me, thanks anyway! I definitely agree about Annie's though, could it be most of their plants are started from seed rather than cuttings or tissue cultured? Who knows? Also, thanks for the link, those seed pods look sort of like jester hats to me. Germination seems easy though, good luck! My seed sowing routine is something like this: Giddily collect seeds, forget about them for 6 weeks, accidentally put in washing machine, toss in nearest container with other plants, forget.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 8:01PM
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Oops, posted twice

This post was edited by Northbay12 on Mon, May 27, 13 at 20:03

    Bookmark   May 27, 2013 at 8:02PM
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The seed pods matured faster than I realized, splitting open while still green. I was able to collect about 100 seeds. I sprinkled roughly 30 on the top of moist soil, and after a week, there are already many signs of life.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2013 at 9:38PM
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