Collecting Hellebore Seeds

April 26, 2012

If I had to pick a favorite flower, I would probably pick a simple Hellebore. That’s no surprise, since they provide such beauty and hope in the otherwise desolate wintertime, just when we need it the most. But now as the weather warms up, the blooms begin to fade and the mating starts to happen. Hellebores are crazy about cross pollinating with each other. They have their own little love fest in the garden, producing countless color combinations. Now is a great time to collect the seeds.

Start by plucking off the flower heads. I noticed these three different stages of the seed pods, any of these are great to collect. The first stage, the seeds are likely still developing but you can harvest them. I’ve read that their last few days in the seed pod are for developing an outer shell that protects and feeds the seed. The second stage, the pods have begun to open on their own and the seeds fall out on their own. And the last stage, the pods are completely dried and few seeds remain.

I took the pods in the first stage and gently popped them open to reveal the seeds. Each pod had anywhere from seven to nine seeds. The pod itself dried out very quickly, going from bright green, to a little brown as I worked open the pods, to completely brown as soon as I detached it from the petals.
The seeds that had fallen out on their own or that I was able to shake out (below) were already much darker than the fresh seeds (above) which appeared white and clean. Two days later, the white seeds are beginning to darken a little. Maybe it’s something about that protective coating…
Store your seeds in a cool, dry place or go ahead and plant them and see what happens. I’m going to do both – plant some now and save some for fall – to see which fare better. Good luck!

Copyright Whitney Curtis 2010-2013

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