How To Save Seeds From Tall Flower Spikes? Suggestions?

NoSecretNow(Z9a SO-LA USA)April 28, 2005

In my back yard I have these wild flowers that have rich red blooms that grow in a spike. The flowers start at the bottom of the spike and work their way up.

I have a few spikes that are almost finished blooming and I can see that the seeds at the bottom of the spikes are beginning to ripen. I also have about 30 more spikes that will begin blooming before much longer.

Does anyone have any suggestions what to use that is long and narrow I can place over the spikes and tie in place to catch the seeds as they come loose? Is there a supplier that provides something for this every purpose?

Embarassingly the only thing I've come up with so far that will work is a thoroughly cleansed (to remove the lubricant and nonoxynol-9 spermicide) condom, but I fear my neighbor may be offended if they look out their living room window and see several two foot tall plants with dozens of unrolled condoms on them. And of course, I can only imagine the look I'd get going to the drug store and purchasing a couple 30-pack boxes of condoms. :)

All joking aside though, this is important, as the seeds are going to be very plentiful and are large enough they will be easy to manage if only I can find a realistic way of catching the seeds as they fall from the flower spikes.

Here is a link that might be useful: The No Secret Now Garden Blog

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As the last flowers bloom, cut off the flower spikes, roll them up in some newspaper, put them on top of the fridge and forget about them for a month or two. By then they will be dry and probably have already let loose of the stalks, if not a few gentle shakes should do. It has worked for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: New Dawn Gardens

    Bookmark   April 28, 2005 at 11:33PM
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sinner_gurl(LA z9& HUMID!)

You could use a knee- high pantyhose/nylon or one cut off at the leg and tie it around the flower spike, that way air can circulate and won't mold your seeds. Then when they fall off they should remain in the nylon (also the birds can't steal them all that way). Perhaps a friend could give you an old pair (or you could get some cheap ones at walmart (that may be embarrassing as well, lol but not as bad as nieghbors spying condoms in the garden rotflmao!!) Then when they fall off they should remain in the nylon (also the birds can't steal them all that way).

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 2:11PM
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NoSecretNow(Z9a SO-LA USA)

Both suggestions are good. I was afraid to cut the stalks off because by the time the bottom seeds have ripened the top is just finishing blooming, so there is a strong likelihood that half the seed will cure under-developed or infertile.

The pantyhose idea is good because I can allow them to dry on the stalks, allow air flow to prevent mold, and also they will not appear as "obvious" as condoms would, like you say sinner_gurl!

Although, toward the end of the blooming season cutting the remaining stalks and drying them in newspaper is a great idea I'd not considered Keith.

Thanks both of you for your input.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2005 at 3:30PM
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lisa455(z9 LA)

I am almost certain that the plants are some type of salvia. A neighbor has a pink variety that looks almost like yours. She has more seeds than she knows what to do with. (Each spike makes about thirty seeds.) They really don't fall off real easily do you should be able to harvest them after they dry on the plants. Also, some that fall to the ground will probably sprout. Maybe try the pantyhose on one or two spikes and leave the rest and collect the seeds. Also, you can plant the seeds and grow another batch for bloom in the fall. The frost might kill the plants in December depending on how protected the plants are. Hers are near an azalea and are perennial.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2005 at 3:07PM
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