Hibiscus Seed Collecting...help???

michiganaliceAugust 7, 2005


My best friend has a beautiful HIBISCUS, with big red flowers (I think it's a Mallow varierty). She said that I may harvest seed from it but I'm not sure what to look for.

Some plants, the seeds are so obvisous, others, like this one seem to be tricky.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

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magus(8a BC)

I haven't collected from a hibiscus before, but since it is in the mallow family, I would expect it to have a seed head that looks like one of those ring-arranged shimp cocktail platters, neatly packaged by the calyx almost like a flat gift basket wrapping. The seeds would be the shrimp, but fatter, if I remember hibiscus seeds correctly (some in the family really do look rather shrimp-like), and there would be a central disc where the dip would be. :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2005 at 12:47PM
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brian_k(z6 OH)

I have a large hardy hibiscus tree with dinnerplate sized pink flowers. After each flower is spent, look at the center of the cavity where the flower used to be. There should be a small green bump - thats the ovary. Be careful not to handle the plant too much, as the ovary falls off easily. The seeds are small and brown. Make sure to place them in a plastic baggie and seal it. Do this because sometimes a type of beetle emerges from the seeds - a JB I think. They'll die in the bag instead of escaping. Good luck!

1 Like    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 12:20AM
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Thanks Brian and Magus for posting a follow-up to my question. I will look more closely at the spent flowers and be patient. Thanks for taking the time to help another gardener. Brian, thanks for the tip on the beetle, that's all I need is beetles running our house.

Take Care and have fun in your gardens.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2005 at 9:53AM
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Nana4jc(z5 IL)

Oh Thank you Magus and Brian!! I have been admiring a hibiscus with huge dark pink flowers in my neighborhood. It is on a corner by the street sign, so I hope no one gets upset with me for snatching a little from it:)

Can I take flower as soon as it is spent (droopy and closed) or do I need to wait until it turns brown?


    Bookmark   August 28, 2005 at 3:37PM
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No, don't take a flower. A seed pod will form and it will be obvious. It's fairly large. It will turn brown and start to open at one end. The seeds are brown and more round than not. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 1:36PM
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I just collected my hibiscus seeds yesterday. They'll be easy to see once they dry. You know the little green 'pods' that form before the flower blooms? After the flowers are spent for the season, a brown pod will form at the end of the stem in the same place. When it starts to "break open" at the end a la "Aliens" - that's when to get the seeds!! You'll get tons of seeds from a single pod.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2005 at 9:07AM
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Thank you so much for all the replies! Again, it sounds like I've made something more difficult than it should be. I'm going out to my Hibiscus plant right now to take a look again. GWers are the best........thanks agian.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2005 at 10:37AM
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webkat5(Z6a MO)

If you have missed this round of seed pods, there will generally be a "round two" or a second blooming period, then you can watch more closely.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2005 at 4:50PM
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veta(z5 IN)

Go to the FAQs at the top of this forum. The second faq,"Saving your own seeds is easy to do" has a good picture of the seed pods of a hardy hibiscus. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2005 at 12:47AM
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lilliandesmond(NY New Windsor)

When I first sure a hibiscus Plants was in Amish country and I love then the moment I sure them I got some in red and yellow,white but They never grew back. We move and I have lot of space for my gardening and want to get all kinds of Hibiscus seeds to grow them. My last year plant didn't come back the deers kept getting at it but I think I got some seeds are the seeds the ones in the middle of the flower.Lillian

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 7:21PM
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I live in zone 5. Is hibuscus annual or perrenial in my area?

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 4:27PM
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From what I understand there are annual and perennial hibiscus or hardy hibiscus. I too live in Z5. I bought a bunch of hibiscus and grew some from seed, thye all came back this year....I would say they're perennials.

Anyone at a garden center or trading seeds/cuttings online should know if they're plants are perrennial or not.


    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 8:54PM
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webkat5(Z6a MO)

Hibiscus moscheutos, H. syriacus (Rose of Sharon) and H. coccineus are all perennials (at least to zone 5)....

If the foliage is variegated or the flowers are peach or yellow colored, there is a good chance they are an annual species in cooler zones. These are just general indicators, not rules.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 6:34AM
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I live in Minnesota and I've harvested seeds the last couple years from a hardy hibiscus in the SPRING. And they germinate beautifully! I saved the 14 best seedlings to give away next spring to family and friends.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2006 at 8:15PM
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I too have grown hardy hibiscus from seed and did so...sucessfully! Yes, they are great to grow from seed and the seedlings are easy to handle. Mine are going to bloom this year for the first time!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 12:58PM
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I've read that the Hardy perennial is recognized by the large heart shaped leaves that are dark green. Mine also appear to have a hint of purple in them.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2006 at 7:43PM
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Which do you experienced folk recommend, planting seeds in the fall or germinating & planting in spring?
I just acquired many seed pods from a hardy 'dinner plate' hibiscus & am thrilled!
Thanx for your input.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 12:41PM
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Hi Chrysalisunfurled,

I'm not experienced but might be able to share some good news. Hibiscus are extremely easy to grow from seed.

I've never planted seeds in the fall but I have started them indoors in the spring and had a lot of luck.

In fact, I just planted two seedlling today, permenately in the garden.

I have a couple plants I started about two summers ago and they're huge!

So, whichever way you go, you'll probably have some luck.

Take care! Alice

    Bookmark   September 14, 2007 at 3:10PM
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my mother had a nice big plant that came back every year for as long as i can remember . so when she had to move out because she couldn't be alone anymore my sister and i dug it up and took as many roots as we could find. I planted in early spring of this year and i seen life by June. Its been flowering for over 2 weeks now and have alot of seed pods forming. I was hoping i could grow the seeds and try to start a huge bush of them. I'm going to give it a try. thanks for all the information

    Bookmark   September 1, 2010 at 4:40PM
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celeegra(6 NYC)

I have a lovely Hibiscus with creamy whitish/peachish flowers & a peachy pink center. But all the flowers fall off as soon as they start wilting. I can see very tiny "ovaries" in the center, but again, they just break off the stem before a seedpod really forms.
Is there something wrong with my plant or is there a trick that I can use to help keep the ovaries on long enough to develop?
FYI, ants have been wandering around the plant a lot this summer. Does that have any effect?

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 10:54AM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana(zone 5/6)

I have a lovely Hibiscus with creamy whitish/peachish flowers & a peachy pink center.
It sounds like you might have a tropical hibiscus, which is not hardy in your area. Did you just get it this year? Was it bought in a pot? Are the leaves fairly shiny?

Might you be able to get a pic of it?

If it is a tropical, it might be hard to get seeds from it.

Taken from the link below:
Q. Can I propagate my hibiscus from seed?
A. Yes, but because of the complex genetics of today's varieties, unless yours is a species hibiscus (unlikely), any seeds your plant produces will likely produce seedlings that have different bloom and plant characteristics . If you used pollen from a different variety, the odds are that it will share properties of both parents.
To get a plant to produce a pod, it needs to be a variety that is a "willing" seed producer and you need fresh pollen from a variety that has potent pollen. With temperatures between 60 and 80F degrees and high humidity and these "willing" parents, your chances are improved. The fresh pollen is applied to the stigma pads at the end of the style. If you have been successful, after the flower falls off, a pod will begin to form. After 6-10 weeks this pod (about the size of the end of your thumb) will turn brown (ripen) and open -- exposing black seeds about the size of apple seeds. Sometimes, even with "willing" parents and ideal conditions, it can be very difficult to get seeds.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tropical Hibiscus

    Bookmark   September 2, 2010 at 3:12PM
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hi, im wondering, can i pick out the seeds of the hibiscus when they are still green, or do i have to wait till they are brown? I picked em still green so hopefully they are ok and will dry out in a baggy? And they will be good until next year to plant? whats the best storage to make sure of that? thanks!:)

    Bookmark   September 13, 2010 at 5:45PM
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No you can't pick the pods if the seeds are still green. They are not ripe enough and are no good. Think of seeds in a pod developing like a baby in a womb developing. If you remove the seeds too early, they haven't had the time to mature enough to be viable.
When you do collect them, and they are ready to be picked, you can store them in an envelope in a cool dark and dry spot.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2010 at 7:46AM
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I actually have pictures of what the seed pod looks like. I had never seen these before - even while living in the tropics during my childhood. My hibiscus bush have flourished and I noticed an odd looking "bud" square like.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 9:08AM
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I have a perianal Hibiscus plant. I am a first time gardener and want to save the seeds. All my flowers have dropped off after blooming, leaving the stalk look like they have been cut. I was under the impression that the seeds were in the green part of the flower and have been saving the flowers. Am I wrong? From what I have been reading above, I need to look for a pod, correct. what can I do to make sure that they produce pods, or are the seeds located in the bottom of the flower? Someone please help me get this straight in my head.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 4:01PM
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Gretchen Wood

The thread for Hibiscus is old and you may want to ask somewhere else.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 11:02PM
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I have the red dinner plate and would love to trade for the other colors. i suspect that many of the hibiscus flowers are good in teas and high in certain B vitamins (I know sadbilla or 'sorrel' is). Gathering the seed from the dried seed pods was easy. Also, I think I grew this from a cutting from the nursery I worked at. A woman from Jamaica came in and said her dad grew them from cuttings, so i tried it and it worked.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2015 at 9:42AM
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