is aster ready to harvest?

deanna_in_nh(5a/4b)October 18, 2009

First of all, thanks so much for all the fantastic info on this site. This is my first year of seed collecting and I have so much to learn.

I got on your FAQ section and got information on collecting from New England Asters. I have an Alma Potschke tall aster and I'm checking EVERY DAY for seeds! It's still at the end of its bloom time, but the reality of an early very hard frost up here has me anxious. In the FAQ section, the picture and text illustrate the white fluff that develops when the seed is ready. I have just gotten a couple of white fluff buds. But, the entire plant and the stem leading to the fluff is still healthy and green, no brown dieback at all. The seeds at the inner end of the fluff are still very light, just barely darker than the fluff.

Is the fluff a signal that the seed is ready, regardless of the stem being dried? Or, do I need to let the fluff keep developing until the stem has dried up a bit. Since the wind can whip the fluff away so easily I'd like to harvest it as soon as I can, so I don't want it to sit on the plant unless it needs to ripen more.

Thank you!


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Hi Deanna,
The white fluff is usually a sign of being ready or almost ready. Many plants and stems of flowers do not turn brown when seed is ripe. Most often only where the flower was turns brown. I usually inspect the base of the flowers looking for browning. In a few instances though, it stays green. I'm not sure if the base of the flower turns brown or not with New England Aster.
If you are unsure if the seeds are ripe and worried about the seed flying away when they are, there's an easy solution. Bag the flowers. Little organza gift bags work great. Then when you see the fluff loose from the flower, you can harvest then.
Good seed should look like the pic on the site below. The pic to the left is clickable to enlarge.
Hope that helps,

Here is a link that might be useful: New England Aster Page

    Bookmark   October 18, 2009 at 8:24PM
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Thank you, Remy, for helping me. I've gotten two heads so far. Let's hope for an abundance of seeds!


    Bookmark   October 19, 2009 at 3:59PM
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I would like to clarify re collecting seed for New England Asters.

I have been watching my New England Asters closely for several days now. First there is the flower, then the fluff appears, then with the fluff gone a brownish pod as in the attached pic. Only a few times have i been able to catch them with the fluff evident.

When the fluff blows away are the seeds gone? or are there seeds in these brown pods? I suspect that seeds are still there but i would, of course, like to know for sure. Thank you.

I also posted a link to my video FallTime in My Meadow. On my YouTube site i have 5 meadow videos, one for each season plus one showing the Spring preparation. Enjoy these if you like. It is really a Savannah, not a meadow; but when i planned it several years ago i did not know that, and "meadow" seemed romantic to me.


Here is a link that might be useful: FallTime in My Meadow

    Bookmark   September 28, 2012 at 6:48PM
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I got the answer to this. No need to respond now. I had mis-interpreted the fluff. Thank you all for being here and helping.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2012 at 10:06PM
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