I am found of letting things go to seed and collecting from the plants I have grown. I think it is fun and wise to collect from successful plants in your garden. This year, I grew dahlias for the first time from seed, and I am hooked. Dahlia seed doesn’t stay true to the parent plant, which is why you often buy tubers instead of seed to get a true plant. This element of surprise is fantastic.
I have an orange one, a red one that turns salmon, and a yellow that I kept for my garden. My favorites are the red and the orange. The yellow has had a bit of trouble, making me think it doesn’t necessarily like our shady garden. I will dig up the roots and put it elsewhere next year, but I will be collecting seed as well as digging up tubers of the orange and the red. What will the next generation grown from seed look like? Who knows? Dahlias are not tolerant of our harsh cold in zone 5, so you have to take some time in Fall after the first frost to dig up the tubers and store them for the winter.
Now, I have also found that petunias don’t grow true from seed. Last year, I fell in love with a blue-ish purple fragrant one. I collected seed from that guy and got all sorts of white/pink/purple/pink veined plants with only the white as fragrant. Crazy right?! I love it.
Another mysterious seed is canna. So, I am keeping seed from this year’s plants and plan on starting them this winter. I went a little over the top with the tropical plants around the dog fountain after I discovered that wasps were living under it. I wanted to keep their flightpath somewhat hidden to help the dogs (and the people in this household) not get stung. I believe the two girls, Rosie and Gertie, got stings this week, but that is pretty good considering they are always over by the “dog fountain.” After every walk, Rosie goes “swimming.” If a frog moves in, Yarrow goes “fishing.”
This canna is a sweet yellow and seem similar to the others I grew in PR, so maybe they will be true. Only a year to find out. (Side note: I still cannot get over the remarkable marketplace of plants mainland compared to Puerto Rico. I searched low and high for canna in PR. Here, they are readily available.)
The excitement of gardening is in the unknown and the beauty that comes from that unknown. Try collecting some seed from your garden this year. Some easy plants to collect from:
Hyacinth Bean Vine