Harvesting Lobelia cardinalis

knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

I have never harvested seed from Lobelia cardinalis before and wonder if anyone can tell me when to harvest the seed. I have the worst luck with seeds in that I often wait too long and the seeds are lost to the ground/birds/whatever.

Thanks in advance,

Barb

southern Ontario, CANADA

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Iris GW

I'm not so good with seeds either, but this one's been pretty easy for me. The seeds should ripen from the bottom of the stem up. So check the lowest seed pods first. Each pod is filled with dozens of small brown seeds.

As to when they are ripe, just check one, but I think the pod should look a little wrinkly/dry and should be easy to rip open. Bring an envelope.

I find they sprout well if sprinkled on a mossy area.

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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Thanks so much Esh!

BTW, I'm curious about your username. Every time I've seen it, it reminds me of MC Escher and I get Escher images in my head as I read your posts. Any connection?

Barb
southern Ontario, CANADA

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Iris GW

Nope, no connection to MC Escher. Good luck with the seeds.

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nyssaman(Z6 ON)

wait until mid october to collect the seeds Barb

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knottyceltic(S/W Ontario 5b)

Thanks Esh and Nyssaman! I went out and checked one of the lowest seed heads and so far they are still green inside. I'll check now and again but mostly look next month as Nyssaman suggested.

Barb

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Judy_B_ON(Ontario 5B)

Cardinal flower is relatively easy from seed; I have several dozen seedlings right now!

The seed does not usually need pre treatment but it does need light to germinate. If you want it to germinate in the spring, then store cold and moist over the winter (I sprinkle the seed on a small piece of folded moist paper towel, seal in a baggie and store in the fridge) then sow early in the spring in flats with the seed just sprinkled on top, do not cover with soil.

Bill Cullina's wildflower propagating and cultivating book is excellent with great advice on seed collection and germination for many species. You can buy it in bookstores or order from the New England Wildflower Society. Their seed catalogue, including germination codes, is on-line.

Here is a link that might be useful: New England Wildflower Society Catalogue

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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Lobelia Cardinalis seed pods turn brown when the seed is ready...and they don't have dozens of seed per pod...it's more like thousands. This is a short lived perennial with a low germination rate(in the wild, hence it's endangered status around here), so the plant compensates by putting out what I believe to be 10's of thousands of seeds per plant. The seeds are teeny, about the same size as the period at the end of this sentence. They are dust-like, and they drift in the air like dust. The birds around here don't bother with them, they're too small.

When the seed pods start turning brown, I put a bag or 1 gallon ziplock baggie over the entire seed head, bend it over a little, and shake the seed into the bag/baggie. I do this at 1 week intervals from late September until late October, mid November.

The seeds are very, very small, and a reddish-brown colour. Good luck in your seed collection! April

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offplumb

knottyceltic thank you for asking about this -

I would like to gather some seeds to try in the spring, but I'd also like to just cast a couple 'round the area to keep 'em going.
any pointers for a better chance of success - should I just lightly tap 'em into the soil?
when it gets colder, do you think the seed/seedlings would like a bit of leaf cover?
(I've read the plants do not like to be covered)

finding the rosettes (from bare root plantings) under the leaves this spring was a treat - like unwrapping a gift : )

not the greatest of shots, but you get the idea ....



some lobelia info from the seed site:
seed site page - scroll down to lobelia

Here is a link that might be useful: the seed site - index page

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Iris GW

Mine reseed well into a mossy area. You don't want to seed into a leaf covered area as they will not get the light they need.

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ctnchpr

Lobelia cardinalis in my creek bottom.

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ahughes798(z5 IL)

Just spread the seeds on top of the soil, right about now, and let what happens, happen. If you plant them in a specific place, and they get covered by leaves, gently pull the leaves off in spring. The first year basal rosettes are small..anywhere from the size of a dime to the size of a quarter. They will bloom the following year.

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