Is it too late to collect seed?

pixie_louDecember 26, 2013

My friendly groundhog ate my Tithonia down to the ground at least half a dozen times this summer. He finally moved on and I actually got a few tithonia flowers in October. I left the spent flowers on the plants in hopes of letting the seed heads dry out. In the meantime, life got in the way and I never collected the seed heads. The ground is now covered in snow, the temps have steadily been below freezing (I'm in Boston MetroWest FWIW). Is it worth my while to trudge out back and collect those seed heads still on the plant? And plant them in Feb or March (when I sow my other annuals)? I can see seed heads thru my binoculars.

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If there are still seeds on the plants it is definitely not too late. You will have to trudge back there to look close to be able to see if the seeds have dropped out or not. Like many annuals, they self sow easily so if you didn't deadhead them you may have lots of plants volunteering in that spot in spring with no need to sow them at all. You could also sprinkle the seed on the ground and work them into the top layer of soil with a trowel after the snow melts when you clean out the garden.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 2:05PM
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terrene(5b MA)

I would think that the birds have eaten any mature seeds by now. The Goldfinches love the Tithonia and Zinnia seeds, and whatever seeds I don't collect they seem to eat them in the fall. Might be worth checking them out though.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 8:57PM
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em247(5a IA)

I collected seed from my grandmother's garden back in late November when it was really cold and there was snow on the ground. I wasn't sure about it either , so I germination tested them when I got home and they grew just fine. Hope that helps. : )

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 9:48PM
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docmom_gw Zone 5 MI(5)

I'd go out and snip off any flower heads left and bring them in to look for any seed left. If no seed, just toss in the garbage. If there are seeds, place them on a plate or paper towel to dry for a few weeks. At least in my area, I need to get Tithonia started early, if I want blooms before frost. So, I wintersow them in the warmest, most protected part of my yard and transplant as soon as risk of frost is done.


    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 10:03AM
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Thanks for the input. I trudged out today and got 3 or 4 seed heads. They all look like they have seed in tact. The rest are buried under snow. I've never had tithonia self sow. I'd be thrilled if I did.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 5:16PM
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