I would like to save seeds from my hellebores, to trade, and I haven't the first clue as to how to do it. Can you please tell me how?
The easiest way is simply to collect them and store them in a fairly dry and cool area. If you have a basement or north facing room that stays fairly cool it should work fine. You can put them in packages or a drawer or closet. They will keep well like that for quite a while, even years.
Can you tell me what it looks like when the seeds form? I think I see 4 pods remaining in the center of the flowers as they fade. Will they get larger?
Should I be able to tell when the seeds are ready to harvest?
Mary, The pods will swell rapidly and then stop growing, but will not yet be ripe. When they start to crack, the seeds will be ripe. The seeds at that time will vary from a light brown to black, or even grey and will have a white strip down one side (elaisome) this is a fatty bit of food to get the ants to carry the seeds off and plant them. Check them regularly in late May and June, as they will drop out and be lost as the pods split. Some folks put a bag from an old nylon stocking around the flower head near ripening time to catch them.
Thanks, George, that's what I really needed, a guide for when to expect the seeds to ripen and fall so I can be prepared to collect them.
Bless you, Mary