Bluebonnet Seed Harvesting

olphart(Zn8 Bastrop TX)April 24, 2007

I have a question about harvesting bluebonnet seeds. The pods are forming now, and many are rather large. Is there a point prior to their opening naturally that they can be picked? Do they have to be fully mature, and the pods dry? If you pick green ones, will they still be fertile when they dry?

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denisew(z8 TX)

Wait until the pods are tan and dry and starting to open on their own. Then the seeds will be ready for harvesting.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 8:43PM
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olphart(Zn8 Bastrop TX)

I plan to "borrow" some seeds from plants down the street, and it will be difficult to catch them at just the right time. I was hoping I could pick them before they split.

BTW, I can't believe how many people have mowed their bluebonnets before they had a chance to go to seed. I guess they don't know nothin' about birthin' no bluebonnets.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 8:58PM
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bonediggers(8b, Gladewater)

Oh boy, I'd love to have some bluebonnet seed! I need to just go buy some somewhere, I guess. And I won't mow it down til it's gone to seed. :)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 9:00PM
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olphart(Zn8 Bastrop TX)

I bought 5# from Seed Source two years ago, but not a single plant grew, mainly because of the drought. This year, some of those seeds did produce.

Seed Source seems to have raised their prices. I believe the best deal on bulk BB seeds would be the Texas Bluebonnet Seed Company. Seeds run $13 per pound, and $62 for 5#. That's a great price.

Here is a link that might be useful: Texas Bluebonnet Seed Company

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:06PM
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jardineratx(zone 8, Texas)

My bluebonnet seeds will be ready to harvest in a couple of weeks. I will be happy to share via SASBE. Email me.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2007 at 10:19PM
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G'day from Australia. I have bluebonnets in bloom right throughout summer here. It was sown in the wrong season (Oct in Australia is late Spring). They survived our scorching summers, and are still in flower in the 2nd month of fall. I have started a new batch of seeds.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2008 at 9:31PM
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Lynn Marie

Thought I'd bump this up... Is anyone going to harvest any seeds this year? Has anyone had any luck harvesting "public" seeds? I want some, but I don't want to pay THAT much! But I don't mind working for them!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2010 at 5:47PM
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rambuncjust(7 TX)

We just visited Wildseed Farms near Fredricksburg TX two weeks ago and their price schedule is a higher. 1#=16.50, 1/4#=7.45, 1oz=4.95 and one packet= 1.25 plus shipping and handling. The 5 pound bags are not listed here is the phone number if you would like to call, 800 848-0078. They claim (not a guarantee) 60% success rate. My own torment with bluebonnet seed harvesting goes back 30 years. Collecting dry and open pods (usually late April in San Antonio) from the roadside. Our success rate is around 15% but your only costs are gas and time. On the other hand, you do get to see a lot of pretty country. We buy now.

Here is a link that might be useful: Wildseed Farms

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 1:18PM
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After many dollars and many years with similar low % germination, I have found the secret. Plant seeds in crushed granite. You can spread the granite on your native soil and just drop the seeds in. They'll start growing as soon as they hit the ground. The granite seems to provide the necessary aeration and also acts to hold condensation underneath. Guaranteed.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2010 at 2:26PM
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I grow hundreds of bluebonnets and never have done anything but throw the seeds out. That's what the highway department does along the highways.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 12:05AM
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The problem most people have is that they buy the seed in spring and then say "Oh well in sept-oct, I'll put them outside so that theyll sprout and overwinter." However what they never realize is that BB seeds are tough and need to be on the ground from when they leave the pod over spring, summer, and then fall until they germinate. You can from what I hear put them in a rock tumbler so that the seed coat gets scratched and allows the seeds to take in water.
As for harvesting, you harvest the whole plant when the lowest pods on the plants are turning brown and scaly and the rest of the pods will come along. Cut off the root part and get rid of it. PUT THE PLANT IN A BAG OR THE SEEDS WILL GET FLUNG EVERYWHERE! Seriously though unless its a rare form of bluebonnet, dont go picking them off the highway. I've found a white one so I'm only going to take a few seeds from it.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 4:38AM
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I do this. I collect the seeds and throw them around in places they haven't taken. At first I had a small patch, now I have solid waves slipping down my hillside.

Tip for harvesting: Watch the weather. When the outside pressure changes the ready seed pods start popping like crazy! It sounds exactly like Rice Crispies. It is a great time to harvest a lot very quickly.


    Bookmark   April 26, 2010 at 9:30PM
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jardineratx(zone 8, Texas)

I've grown BBs this section of my flowerbed for many years and have found that the seeds need no particular treatment for successful germination. I have soaked them in hot water before sowing them, but the majority of them self-sow. I think for those wanting to start a BB patch, the timing of the sowing is more important than the treatment of the seeds. Seeds sown September-October do best for me. I will be harvesting seed in a few weeks, and anyone interested in SASBE can email me to get some seeds.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 8:57AM
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Molly, that is just too cute

I don't get why people mow wildflowers either but everyone around here did

    Bookmark   April 27, 2010 at 9:14AM
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The wildflowers have been amazing this spring! And after the long drought we had here, it was really overdue! Info on growing bluebonnets:

Here is a link that might be useful: Growing Bluebonnets

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 12:18AM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

I leave a portion of the donkey pasture unmowed each year until after the wild flowers seed.... especially the wine cups. The donkeys don't seem to mind.......LOL>

    Bookmark   April 28, 2010 at 8:51AM
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Thank you all so much! I had no idea the seeds pop out! In the past I have bought plants and harvested and scattered the seeds. I have had slight success, just 2 or 3 plants. I wonder if letting them scatter themselves will give me more plants. It will be worth the try!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 3:13PM
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Molly,Thats such a cute patch with the flag decor. Loved it.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 4:23PM
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rock_oak_deer(8b TX)

I put together a blog post on how we plant bluebonnets from seed. I've linked it here for those who might reference it in the future.

Here is a link that might be useful: Bluebonnet seed harvesting

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 3:41PM
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