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How to Collect Larkspur Seed

collect larkspur seedLarkspur is an annual flower that blooms in late spring and is going to seed around the middle of July in southwest Idaho. This happens even if it is getting watered regularly, as mine does.

The seed pods begin as green tubes that look a lot like miniature pea pods. One pod forms at every point where there was a flower. When the top of the plant finally dries in the heat of July, the pods crack open, beginning at the top of the pod. In a while longer, the whole pod will split open, scattering the seeds everywhere, but for a few days it sits there, holding the seeds like a goblet.

It is easy to pick the seed pods, and as long as you keep them right-side-up, there will be a nice bunch of seeds in there. You should choose pods from the healthiest looking plants, which should still be somewhat clear, since the tops dry first and you can still see which plants were tallest and fullest. It is probably also best to get seed from a few different plants, if you want to continue getting all the same colors that you were before. You could try marking plants earlier in the season, to select for color, because most of the plants won’t have any flowers at the seed collecting stage. However, I’m not saying that collecting seed from a particular plant will guarantee that color, as the plants will have been significantly cross pollinated. That is why getting seed from a variety of plants is your best bet.

I made this YouTube video to show what the dry seed pods look like and how the seeds can be collected and saved.

Here is a link to the container website I mention in the video: Specialty Bottle. The array of containers could be used for a huge variety of things!

Larkspur does reseed here in Idaho quite easily, so if you learn to identify the young seedlings, you can nurture the volunteers in the following spring. The plants might need some thinning, and you will almost definitely need to weed them out of nearby garden beds. If you haven’t identified the seedlings before, this previous blog about identifying young flower volunteer seedlings has a good photo of a larkspur seedling in it.

Larkspur plants actually begin to sprout around my yard in the fall, after things cool off. Whether or not any of them survive into the next spring will depend on how harsh that particular winter is. But whether or not they do, there will usually still be plenty of sprouts in the early spring, filling your garden bed with a frilly green around the same time tulips and daffodils are winding down. Just the bright green is pretty in its own right.

Larkspur, in my opinion, looks best in broad swathes of plants, since a single plant tends to look a bit spindly on its own. I have one long section of larkspur in the back yard, in full sun along a fence that brightens my view from the kitchen window. Another more globular patch is halfway under a large pine tree next to the front driveway. So, you can see that larkspur is not super picky about soil or exact amount of sun, although none of it sprouts all the way under the pine tree. I recommend larkspur as an easy to grow, easy to maintain, and cheerful flower to have around.

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