How/when do I harvest the seeds?

RubyHummerLover(z5CO)August 18, 2005

Hello to everyone.

I have a few hummer plants that I would like to harvest the seeds from, i.e. batfaced, salvias, million bells, snapdragons, etc. but I don't have a clue when is the right time. Does one wait until the flower is completely dried out? Its been raining here and the flowers are not given the chance to dry up. Do I have to take the seeds out of the "pods" or can they hold out until spring? I always just buy new annuals every year but I would love to grow my own. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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Rudy let the pods dry out in a open container and area. I bring mine inside as the climate is controlled. Don't worry about the pods will split when dried and the seeds will fall out. Then seperate.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 9:52AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

As a rule million bells don't make seeds but occasionally they will form a seed pod where the flower was after it has dried and fallen off. Seeds develop after the flower has dried and fallen off. salvia seeds can be tricky and it depends on the salvia that you have. Salvia coccineas (lady in red, ect) are easy to collect after the flower dries and falls off and the calyx that held the flower turns brown. Some salvias will drop their seeds quickly as soon as they are ripe. Salvias will have 3 to 4 seeds to a calyx. Snaps will form a little round ball after the flower falls off. when it turns brown and dry pull the ball off and drop it in a paper cup, envelop etc. Each of those ball shaped pods holds hundreds of tiny tiny seeds.
bat faced cuphea is tricky. when the flower starts to dry, it will split at the top of the flower where it connects to the plant. Pull it off carefully and drop it on a paper plate, envelop etc. When you are done for the time being collecting your seeds spread them out on something like a paper plate (separate plate for each type of seed and label so you know what you have) to let them finish drying and then package them in paper or ziplock baggies. I usually let mine dry several days. All your seeds should be a nice rich brown or dark brown color.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 10:48AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Penny - what about B & B seeds? Haven't really checked mine out to see if there are any seeds forming but I guess I should.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 11:01AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

The black and blue seeds have to be watched carefully because the calyx is big and when the seeds are ripe they just fall right out. The calyx will also turn brown when they are ripe. What I do with my potted B&B is to keep a large plant saucer under the pot (largest I can get) and that way any seed that falls into the saucer I can easily retrieve. Also some will fall into the container and will sprout in spring.

Depending on where your hummers have been and what other salvias they have visited will determine if the seed comes true or not. Salvias are notorious for crossing. I have one right now from my original B&B that has a pale almost white lavender flower (when it blooms which is iradic). So far when it has bloomed there have been no hummers to pollinate it. It is loaded with spikes right now waiting to open so I am hoping I can get it blooming and pollinated before the hummers leave this year. It smells like a B&B, the leaves are a bit more chartreuse and smaller than the B&B but the leaf texture is the same but the plant overall is very short and bushy with very short flower spikes. I have no idea what was crossed with it as the B&B was the only salvia I had at the time.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 11:24AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Thanks for that Penny. My B & B is mostly blooming while suspended in mid air (that's how they grew in order to get to the sun), so if any seeds have formed and fell out, they're way down on the ground or maybe on top of the holly trees that are down below... LOL

I do have a few blooming stems that haven't grown through the balcony fencing and are pretty much centered over the container, so I can at least check those out. My little hummers have been coming back and forth in such short intervals now that I don't know if they have time to fly all around to some other salvia source on the ground before zooming back up to my spot to get to the feeder, the B & B, and the Agastache that they seem to be enjoying. In fact, I've caught them perching for quite some time on my shrubs and even on my plum tree rather than zoom back down to the ground!

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 12:26PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

That is awsome! You are a real credit to apartment dwellers. I am so glad that you have been successful.


    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 1:54PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Thanks Penny! :-D Hope to inspire others like so many of you have inspired me. Now to find more room! LOL

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 3:57PM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

Jenny There is never enough room. I have dug up more yard space and filled even more containers and planter boxes this year and still don't have enough room. You would think I would quit when it takes most of the day to water the plants.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 4:08AM
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oubliette(z7 MS)

I have been remiss in collecting seeds -- and I had such good intentions this spring!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 5:58AM
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Thanks to all for the great tips. I will be starting my harvesting this weekend.
Penny 1947, thanks for informing me about the million bells, I thought they were just tiny petunias. They are so cute. I will definitely be buying more of those next season.
Here's to everyone having a great hummer weekend!!! Happy harvesting!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 8:38AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

You should still have plenty of time to start collecting. I don't start until mid to late July once I know that the flowers are being visited and pollinated.


    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 8:39AM
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oubliette(z7 MS)

Thanks, Penny. Is it too late to collect the seed heads from Jacob Cline Mondarda? That did well for me, as well as the Cleome you sent me. The Cleome was just spectacular!! I'm sorry to tell you the Lobelia Cardinalis did not do well. It was just too hot and dry, even though I watered it almost every day. Then some kind of bug chewed it up.

The only other things that have bloomed well for me are the pentas, Salvia B & B, and the Agastache Apricot Sprite. The Apricot Sprite seed packets were everywhere this spring. Do you think they are as easy to find in other parts of the country? I could try and collect seeds for exchange if you think others couldn't find them in the stores.

Salvia B & B doesn't come back true from seeds, so it doesn't seem right to collect these seeds for trade.

What about pentas? How do you collect those seeds? I have been cutting off the spent flower heads all summer long to keep it blooming.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 10:06AM
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penny1947(z6 WNY)

If the flower heads on Jacob's Cline are dry you can break them off and shake into a paper bag on large envelop. If there are any seeds they should fall out. They are very very fine. Cleome seeds can be collected as the pods dry and start to burst open. Apricot Sprite isn't available everywhere and a lot of people look for the seeds. I only know of one source for A/S. Black and Blue, like most salvias will cross easily with other salvias growing nearby. I always tell people that they probably have a 1 in 4 chance of getting a plant that will come true from seed but some people don't mind if they get a open pollinated hybrid seedling. I have never grown pentas but I assume you would let the flowr head dry and then shake it into a bag, etc. similar to the way you would collect jacob's cline seed.


    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 11:31AM
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oubliette(z7 MS)

Thanks Penny -- will try this out.

Disclaimer: I do not agree with nor endorse the use of "Sponsored Links" possibly embedded in my posts by the owner of this or any other website and would never purchase anything from any advertiser that used this deceptive type of advertising.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2005 at 2:53PM
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