color of hellebore seeds?

rosemctier(z5/6 waynesburg PA)May 24, 2010

i have a pink hellebore that has large seedpods that are starting to split open, but the is no sign of the seeds turning brown at all-- they are white as snow with a speck of dark where they connect to the pod. they are very firm. all of the pics i have seen show the seeds to be darker. i am hesitant to harvest just yet, but i have read that fresh seeds, even immature seeds, germinate better than older seeds. is the pod splitting open enough of an indication that the seeds are mature enough to plant? or do the have to darken up first? thanks!

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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I've never seen them any color but dark brown, charcoal or black when ripe - but I don't find pods beginning to split open before the seeds are more mature either so I can't tell you what's going on there. I should add, I don't find immature seeds in pods opening on their own, that is not to say I haven't rushed the process poking and pinching at them myself :)

You might take one pod off, lay it on a plate someplace dry and see if the seeds begin to develop more color. It doesn't sound as though they are ripe and ready to drop out into your garden but you can always take a square of nylon stocking and a twist tie and bag them on the plant to insure you don't lose them too.

There are a few seeds I try to sow same day collected like trillium, vining bleeding heart, but hellebore seeds collected and sown in July and August, left outdoors, will reliably begin to germinate in Dec/Jan in my mild winter zone.

Be careful handling the fresh pods with bare hands, a burning reaction to finger tips is not completely uncommon.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 11:33AM
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rosemctier(z5/6 waynesburg PA)

i pulled off a few flowerheads and have them in a bowl on my mantle. this morning they are a little darker, perhaps a pearly grey. i have tried to collect seeds with hose in the past but have discovered that the chickens seems very attracted to plants with pantyhose, so i'll just keep checking them to see what is happening. at this point, it's more of an experiment than anything else. it produces pink flowers, and from what i have read the offspring will more than likely be white, but it seems like a good gardening challenge. i figure at the very least, a few years down the line they'll be good for christmas presents or trades or something, if it works at all :)

do you have the yellow bleeding heart vine? i ordered seeds for that and after your comment am concerned that they will not sprout. they came with no planting instructions either. so i guess i'll just see what happens. looks like i will be spending th evening on google again LOL

thanks for your advice!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:00PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Yes, the yellow bleeding heart dicentra scandens. I had miserable luck with purchased seed, and mentioned that to the owner at Lazy S's Farm when I ordered the plant...she said theirs are cuttings, they had poor germination from seed too :)

Clothiers database says "Dicentra scandens , Sow at 20ºC (68ºF), if no germination in 3-4 wks, move to -4 to +4ºC (24-39ºF) for 2-4 wks "

I find I have best luck if sown immediately harvested from the plant. One pot sown last Sept quickly had a couple of seedlings that I then lost to an unusually hard freeze in early December in a semi protected place outdoors, there are half dozen more seedlings in that same pot now that just germinated in April.

Bad news is, I lost the original plant (about 5 years established) to that same freeze and this is a Z8 - you are borderline 5? We had several consecutive days with temps that stayed below freezing day and night, unusual for us.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 8:17PM
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rosemctier(z5/6 waynesburg PA)

such a shame about your frozen plant :( i was thinking of doing it in the greenhouse in a large pot with a trellis. if it works, yay, if not, oh well LOL. i had never even heard of the plant until recently. perhaps when the fall semester kicks in i will splurge and try and buy one from somewhere online.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 9:53PM
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