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Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Posted by susanlynne48 OKC7a (My Page) on
Tue, Oct 9, 12 at 9:43

I don't know if my seed pods will ripen before we freeze here, so I am wondering if I can take cuttings with the seed pods attached, put them in water indoors, and allow them to continue ripening indoors. Will that work or do you have any other suggestions?

The pods are still green with a couple developing a rosy brown cast to them.

Appreciate it!

Susan


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

I started mine early so I brought in 3 that were pretty "rosy" I'm not sure if I should open them or wait to see if they open themselves.

I also brought in a cutting for decoration and it looks like that is going to last for awhile. The seed pods on that are still green though, so they probably won't develop

I also brought in one plant to overwinter...I would try that. Than, as soon soon as the seed pods are done developing, you can cut the plant way down for the winter.

It will be interesting to see how large the plant gets in year 2! Tony


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Three years ago I had a bumper crop of seed pods that hadn't opened by the time we had our first frost. I cut stems and wrapped them in a damp cloth and put them in a warm place. I kept the cloth damp (wrap something around it, or place it in a large baggy) and the seed pods did mature and open. And, they were viable the next spring.


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Woo-hoo! Thank you guys for the helpful info. I will do just that.

Tony (and Sandy), do rosy colored seed pods mean that ripening is in progress?

Susan


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

I think so, Susan. Can't really remember, except that it takes the pods a long time to mature.

Sandy


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Yes Susan,

I have had 3 pods that have opened at a seam (by themselves). Two pods I cut off and brought in and the third I noticed while it was still on the plant. Another I cut open myself wasn't ready so I had to toss those seeds.

Here in Minnesota we have had TWO hard freezes of 28 degrees and all 6 of my physocarpa plants are still alive with green viable leaves( could it be due to the high level of cardenolides???). I've still got lots of seed pods outside turning redder every day! (and yes...they turn red as they further develop)

I'd say you've got PLENTY of time for your seeds to develop based on my experience. no need to start plucking yet. Tony


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Sorry I'm so late to respond. My computer crashed and I had to invest in a new one that I got today. It is Windows 8 and I'm having a heck of a time finding out how to use it. I finally managed to open this website.

I don't think the hardiness of A. physocarpa has anything to do with the levels of cardenolides found in the plant tissues, but I could be wrong. I have mine located within a sort of "microclimate" in the yard, but who knows how long it will stay alive and growing. No ripe seeds yet for me. I started mine late, but the pods are pretty large.

We've had a couple or three freezes, too, but the ground is still much too warm for anything to bite the dust yet.

Susan


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Susan,

It's really interesting here as my Physocarpa gomphocarpus was really late putting on seed pods. The seed pods are growing at record speed, and one has that rose tinge. Looks like I will get seeds. I am waiting until a hard frost to take the stems in.

One another note, I dug up the two remaining A variegatas and put them in pots and replanted them. The screening fabric I had put around the roots had holes chewed in them. It was just a matter of time before these two plants would have been a gopher meal!

Sandy


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Sandy, one of the pods' "skin" is thinning and becoming "crackly" to the touch. Does this mean it is ripening and will soon be ready to harvest?

Remember I pointed out that a few more tiny pods were developing? Those, too, as you mentioned about yours, are growing at record speed. I wonder if they sort of sense that time is running out?????

I wonder if you could plant a "trap crop" for the gophers. I don't wish that you attract more of them, but did not know whether they would find a root crop more appealing than your variegates, e.g., turnips, beets. I'm sure you've researched it thoroughly. Are you planning to just grow them in pots in the ground?

Susan


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Yes, Susan, for the time being I'll leave my Asclepias, including the variegata, sullivant's, and purple in pots. I'll have to watch them and change out pots as they get larger. I bought some hardware cloth to try to make trenches and line them so I could plant in the ground. But it will take time to dig the trenches and cut and shape the hardware cloth. I hate working with the hardware cloth as it will slice your finger off if you don't have gloves on. And, I feel clumsy in gloves.

When the seed pods get papery, they are close to maturation. See if you can easily press open the seam. If not, wait a bit longer. When the pods are ripe, the seam will pop open with a little bit of pressure.

I've done a lot of research on the gophers. There are gopher and mole eradicators that advertise here in town. But, they don't guarantee eradication. Not going to spend my money on something that is guaranteed! Hopefully one of these days they'll just move on.

Sandy


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Thanks for the tip on the seed pods.

It would be nice if you could re-direct the gophers, huh? They sure LOVE your Asclepias roots! I did read this article about planting Narcissus/Daffodil bulbs around problem areas, and it seems simple enough to try. Gophers and other root eating critters won't go near them because of the toxins they send out into the surrounding soil. It burns their mouths. Worth a try, if you haven't already tried it.

Susan

Here is a link that might be useful: Planting Daffodils to Deter Gophers


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Just wanted to post my thanks for suggesting I cut and bring in the inmature seed pod I'd been watching for several weeks.

baby seed pod just beginning to grow on 9-5-2012 ... the tiny little ball in middle of photo


same Asclepias Physocarpus Oscar Seed Pod, matured and just opened this morning, 11-23-2012. These seed pods do take a long time to mature! I'd guess there must be at least 100 seeds inside this one pod. It is sharing a container of water with Penta Cuttings I'm rooting for next spring.


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Great photos, Mary! Some of mine ripened before the frost, so I had already harvested them. Others are still on the plant, and are still green and looking fine. One popped open but the seed was still white, so I just left it there and it is finally turning dark brown. I don't know if it will be viable seed or not until I do a germination test.

Boy, they sure do take forever to ripen, don't they?

Susan


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Susan,

These plants don't overwinter in our growing zones, do they? My 3 plants are still growing and green but we've not yet had a hard freeze. One plant even has a small cluster of open blooms again. This plant is one of the best growing milkweeds in my area. The leaves stay cleaner/ fresher looking and don't get mottled like some of the other milkweed leaves do. I'm planning to grow a lot more of this variety next year. Also planning on increasing the number of Asclepias tuberosa plants next year. All the flying things seem to enjoy their blooms.

I ended up raising and releasing 57 Monarchs this year and for the first time, had enough milkweed leaves to feed them without worrying if I'd have enough food.

Mary


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

I agree totally with you, Mary. The Oscar milkweed doesn't get near as "tattered" looking as the Tropical. I grow mine in 6-inch pots, set the pots on the ground and let the roots grow into the ground. I fertilize them 1X per month with an organic vegetable fertilizer and they looked so healthy. The plants branched out and got pretty tall - about 5'.

I think it will come to an end tonight because we are supposed to get a huge freeze. I'm gonna try to get out there and take cuttings of what is left. I have several pods still. My plants are grown in a microclimate area of my garden, but I am not certain they would survive the freeze we are headed for tonight. No, they haven't been even ground hardy here in OKC. They may be for you, if grown in a protected area. You're a bit warmer than we are.

Well done! On the Monarchs you raised!

Susan


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Susan and Mary,

Great news on your physocarpa. After reading your post, Susan, I have got to go out and bring in the pods left on the plant before tonight. It is cool and drizzly here this morning, a really gray day. I've got some seed I need to bag up to stratify. Keep looking for variegata seeds, and there just isn't any. The last two plants are in pots in the ground, but I read that the gophers will actually come up above the ground and eat something they like. I will be putting in half inch hardware cloth under the plants and around them this winter so to make a bed to protect them. Purchased Castor Bean seeds, and have treated the soil with castor oil. This has kept the gophers out of the tuberosa so far. Mary, like you, I love the tuberosa. I especially love the "Hello Yellow". The leaves are heartier than the orange. I find eggs on the plants in the spring.

It seems I am finding lots to do this season. I have collected seeds from different plants and have been trading and sharing them. It was a good season for plants to put on seeds. I also am cleaning out seed pods from the Passiflora incarnata--they are everywhere. Looking at a new portable greenhouse called a "Convertible greenhouse". It works like a car convertible, and looks like something I could handle and store. Haven't taken the step to purchase it yet.

That's the news here in BA. Saw butterflies last week in Austin, but didn't get to get out and chase them.

Sandy


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Hi everyone, just an update on my experience with the physocapa seed pods.

what worked BEST for me was taking a cutting and placing it in a vase. I did this just for an interesting flower arrangement and was amazed that one of the seedpods actually matured and broke open!!

If you just take the seed pod, and you do it too early, the seeds will dry up and not be viable.

People supposedly pay a lot of $$$ for these 'hairy ball' flower arrangements so if you take the cutting you get 1: a free flower arrangement 2: ripe seeds I think we had our cutting up for about 3 weeks...they last a long time. Tony


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RE: Collecting Seed Pods of Asclepias Physocarpa

Sandy,

Speaking of Asclepias variegata seed, I've yet to see any for sale anywhere. Next spring, I'm thinking of pinching the tips of my wild A variegata to slow down the growth. My plant blooms before we really have pollinators flying about here. I get blooms each year but never a seed pod. Someone posted that because of the shape of each flower, this particular plant is more difficult to pollinate so that also might be a reason for no seed pods. I even tried pollinating some blooms with a tiny paintbrush but still no luck.

Good luck with your remaining Asclepias variegata plants and keep us posted as to the success of the hardware cloth protection.

You know, I tried germinating and growing 'Hello Yellow' and had terrible results. I don't know if I didn't tend to them properly, poor choice of growing site or what, but they just didn't grow for me. I think I'll rummage through my seeds; if I have any seed left, I'll give them another try. I do have one young plant that I think might be a 'Hello Yellow' survivor but it didn't bloom so won't know until next season.

Can everyone believe it is almost Christmas!

Mary


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