Letting a perinnial Set Seed for the next year?

GROWCHEMOME(7a)August 3, 2014

Hi everyone :)

I'm very new to perinnial plants and I had a question about letting the plant reseed for the next season. I've tried to read up on the plants we chose to grow in our landscaping this year, but I'm a little confused when I come across something in regards to deadheading or removing spent blooms. Sometimes it will say something about leaving a few blooms or sed pods (or something like that) to allow it to develop seed for the next season. I'm worried I did something wrong already.

With the Stella de Oro lily as well as the Asiatis lilies i remove the spent blooms just under the fading flower and then when the bloom season ended I just snipped off the top "crown" where the stems for the blooms branched away from the center stem? Was that the correct thing to do?

I also have some balloon flowers and I read to just snip or pinch about 1/4" below the faded bloom. Is that correct and what do I need to do at the end of the blooming season? I'm not sure if I leave a few blooms to "reseed" or if that's what you do if you want to gather seeds to replant. Or, do you just trim them off and leave it like the lilies? I'm just not sure what I should do with these?

Also, if anyone knows of a good resource like a book or something I might be able to find on specific information for the flowers such as where and went to remove spent blooms, deadheading, pruning, etc that would be awesome! I can find the info online but usually there's no visual to show where exactly to cut or pinch or specifics on when.

Thanks so much in advance to anyone who can offer some advice or guidance!

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Have I got a book for you: The Well-Tended Perennial Garden by Tracy DiSabato-Aust. I just purchased this book this season and it has been a treasure for just the information you are seeking. I'm constantly referencing it for every plant I have in the garden in terms of pruning, deadheading, etc. You will not regret picking it up.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 7:21PM
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I'll second Dogg1967's recommendation of The Well Tended Perennial Garden and add another named Perennials for Every Purpose by Larry Hodgson. I keep it right beside me at my computer year round. My copy is falling apart I refer to it so often. I've also provided a link below to the Missouri Botanical Gardens website which is my "Go To" resource when researching plants.

Specific to your questions:

Many, though not all, blooming perennials & shrubs generally produce seeds/seedpods once they finish blooming each season. Sometimes the seed is viable; sometimes it isn't, meaning it won't sprout and produce more plants. Each plant is unique. Some plants will seed around and you'll find "volunteers" here and there the following year. If you mulch your beds, you'll see less of this.

Deadheading--removing spent blooms--encourages some plants to produce more blooms but that can't be said for all plants.

I'm worried I did something wrong already.

Gardening isn't a right or wrong activity; it's a journey. Have I made mistakes over the course of my gardening career? Lots of 'em. Do I lose sleep over them? I'll let you guess.

One of the wonderful things about Stella d'Oro and other daylilies is they need zero care. Let them do their thing and just enjoy them. More than 35 years ago my brother planted 30+ daylily varieties in this garden where I now live. I've done nothing to (or for) them since I moved here 10 years ago. They just come up every year, bloom in June/July/August and go dormant in fall.

Balloon flowers can be whacked/pruned back in early June to control height and prevent flopping. They will produce dozens and dozens of blooms in late July/early August. After blooming, seedpods will form. Once ripe, they'll turn grayish-brown and the ripe seeds will be shiny and black. They're very easy to grow from seed.

I harvest only those seeds from perennials I want more of, generally in September when most are dry and ripe. If you wish to stuff your perennial garden beds with seed-grown plants, check out the winter sowing forum here on GW or check out the winter sowing website: www.wintersown.org. It's a really fun way to stuff your garden beds with "free" perennials.

Good luck and have fun!

Here is a link that might be useful: Missouri Botanical Garden

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 8:31PM
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I always cut the spent bloom stalks on my Stella D'Oros, mainly to keep them tidy. If you want more plants, the easiest/quickest way is to divide the plant rather than futzing around with the seeds. Just lift it up and cut it in half or in as any divisions as wanted.

With balloon flowers, leave some spent blooms at the end of the season - the seed pods will dry hard and holes will open at the top like a salt shaker. Easy to scatter although I don't know about the actual germination rate - some gardeners get many new plants, others few. I must get some since I've got plants in places at a distance from the main clumps.

Cutting the "candelabra" off Asiatic lilies insures that all the energy goes back to the bulb - and not into seed production - for next season's growth and bloom.

Though I've never looked into it, The Well-Tended Perennial Garden book is highly regarded.

This post was edited by duluthinbloomz4 on Sun, Aug 3, 14 at 20:45

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 8:40PM
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Thanks to everyone for their advice. I will be looking up the books and sites mentioned to reference in the future. For now, I think it's safe to say after reading your comments, that I haven't done anything detrimental to my new very much loved plants.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 9:29PM
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