Seeds From Hellebores
Location: Oregon, Willamette Valley
Posted: Mar-07-2005 at 10:19am
Last month, in the hellebores threads, someone mentioned getting seeds for hellebores--What is the best way to do that? I have several baby seedlings and have successfully trasplanted them to a new site, but I want to learn how and when to collect the seeds. I have pressed the flower and realize the fat seed heads that I pulled off aren't just a nusiance, but the "key" to this quest. When is the right time to go seed collecting? Do you need to chill them or store them or plant them directly into the ground or start them inside?
Location: Oregon, Greater Portland Metro
Posted: Mar-07-2005 at 1:29pm
Good question! I have wondered the same thing myself. I have lots of baby plants. I finally have gotten a flower off my first (accidental) seedling, two seasons later. But I didn't collect the seeds, and know nothing about how that works for Hellebore. Good luck!
Location: Western British Columbia
Posted: Mar-08-2005 at 5:09pm
Cj--the seeds are indeed fun, and quite easy, to gather and germinate.
Here in Surrey, BC we might be a bit later than most of you south of here, but the seed capsules are already swelling on a lot of the hellebores that are now in full bloom, (maybe even a bit past it now).
The capsule of seeds, actually several separate ones on each old flower, will swell then eventually turn yellow then brown while the seeds inside mature. I usually pick the old flower head off and put it into an envelope when the capsule part gets quite yellow, noting the colour of the parent's bloom on the envelope for my records.
Wait too long and the old brown capsules will be discovered to be empty, having split open and scattered their shiny black seeds underneath somewhere. The yellowed stems will mature the seeds inside even after picking...just make sure the seeds inside have begun to turn dark, not still white or green.
Once totally mature and loose in the envelope, the seed can be sown right away...these are very short lived so the sooner the better.
I place them in moist sand/peat moss in a ziploc and keep them indoors somewhere till fall. Ideal temp. is supposed to be 70-75F to mature the embryos inside the seed.
When weather turns cool in the fall, I sow the seeds in gallon square pots and keep them beside the house outside to avoid excessive rain. A cold frame would also work great. They begin to germinate anytime from Nov. on.
My seed pots right now are nicely germinated, with seedlings just starting to show a true leaf. Time to pot them up...I put each one into a 2.5 in. pot and keep them growing till summer when they will be big enough to pot up a size.
Hope this helps anyone interested!