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20.8.07

When I Collect Cleome Seeds

Cleome Seed Pod, When I collect Cleome SeedsIn between the scattered rain today I was out in the garden checking on the Cleomes and trying to collect a few seeds so I could scatter them into other areas of the garden. One of these annual plants can produce more seeds than you know what to do with, the trick is knowing when the seed pods are ripe so you can collect your Cleome seeds.



I've learned that the pod of the size isn't an indication of ripe seeds and sometimes you also can't rely on the color of the seed pods to guide you either. The seed pods turn a pale green or mustard yellow when they are ripe, the problem I've encountered is that by the time the color looks right the pod may have split and the seeds have been dropped.

The size of the pod also doesn't seem to be much of an indicator of being filled with ripe seeds. Today I noticed that a seed pod the size of my index fingernail had split and only one seed remained hanging on. On the same plant there are pods that are the length of my index finger that have not yet ripened.

One trick that I've come across that works well for me is cupping the seed pod in one hand and gently pressing it between the pad of your thumb and the palm of your hand. You don't need much pressure to do this-if the pod is ready you will feel it split in your hand. If you feel the seed pod split gently and swiftly pull it towards you and you'll have a hand full of small dark seeds. I find that when I collect Cleome seeds I may have to check on them twice during the day, once in the morning and again in the evening. Seed pods that didn't give in the morning may be ready to release their seeds in the evening or seed pods that weren't ready last night will be ready in the morning.

Update:
I've created a small video showing you how to collect Cleome seeds. I hope this video helps in illustrating what I described in text and still picture here.

24 comments:

  1. MBT - this is great! I wanted to save seeds from my pink and my white Cleome and now I have instructions! These look like bean pods or something. Do the pod thingys stick up or hang down on the plant?

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  2. Since I've had great luck with Cleome - the first time ever! - I will try following your instructions and see if I can collect some seeds. It would be great if I can start them next spring! Thank you!

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  3. Gina,

    Sorry for the late reply...most of the time the pods will stick out sometimes they'll hang down though.

    Kate,

    Good luck saving seeds.

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  4. I grew cleome this year for the first time and am so happy with them. I started mine indoors in the spring and planted them out. I don't know whether to do this again or let them seed themselves outdoors. Maybe I'll do both! Thanks for the info.

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  5. VICTORIASF20006:51 AM

    Should I save the cleome seeds in the freezer like we do bulbs to plant next spring?

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  6. Anonymous9:25 AM

    Thanks for the photos. Now I know what to look for. Barb

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    Replies
    1. I could never find the seeds in the store this spring ,I had a few that came up from last year,so I am so happy to learn how to save the seeds, just wish I had some different colors, would love to have all white

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  7. I love cleome! Last year I harvested seeds from 3 small plants. Scattered them in the spring and had an amazing patch this year. My neighbors are impressed how these prolific bloomers defy the dry heat of the NC summer. I just finished harvesting seeds again for next year to double the area of my planting!

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  8. Victoria sorry about the late reply but you don't need to store them in the freezer.

    Barb glad you found it useful.

    Jim, that sounds awesome. A couple of year ago some planters in Chicago were filled with Cleomes and they looks awesome.

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  9. Whaddya know. Googled "collect Cleome seeds" and this was the first hit. :)

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  10. @Xan, What a small world, eh?

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  11. Anonymous5:12 PM

    thank goodness the plants that showed up in my yard are cleome. when i first saw them sprout up i thought it was a certain illegal plant variety!

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    Replies
    1. Ditto! I panicked and everything! Now I'm fascinated by this flower.

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  12. @Anonymous,

    LMAO. Yeah, I thought that cleomes look a lot like cannabis when I first started growing them from seed.

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  13. I work at a greenhouse in the Berkshire of Massachusetts. We started these indoors in October. By now, they are 6 feet tall and have come home with me! It appears as though their 'musk' is unpopular. I LOVE IT! I plan on using the seeds to create a fantastic hedge of cleome. I think they will not only draw attention for their beauty, but due to the thorns, keeps people from cutting through my yard!!

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  14. @Colette, You're very luck! Some people don't like the musk, but to them I say don't get so close that you smell it. :0) That's a good way of keeping people from trampling your yard, lol.

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  15. Joni in Michigan8:41 AM

    can I plant cleome seeds outside in august?

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    Replies
    1. Joni, You can plant cleome seeds in August, but they likely will not have enough time to germinate and bloom the same year. If you're lucky, some of the seeds will remain dormant and sprout the following year.

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  16. Anonymous1:37 PM

    Can you start cleome seeds in water.

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    Replies
    1. Starting cleome seeds in soil is probably a better option.

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  17. Anonymous10:27 AM

    I had beautiful cleome plants last year that were given to me by a gardener I no longer have contact with. I was told that would reseed by themselves and I foolishly didn't do anything to save the seeds. Now I am wondering if they actually took or maybe got blown away. When will they start to come up if they did take? I am afraid to plant anything else there until I know about the cleome. They were perfect for the spot I have and hope they will come back. (I will save the seeds next time if they do!) Can you tell me when I can expect to see them? I live in northwestern NJ. Thank you!

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    Replies
    1. If your cleome seeds haven't produced a plant by summer it's probably because they didn't set seeds, or maybe the seeds didn't get enough moisture to germinate. If I were you, I would continue to garden and see what happens in the spot. Although, I have noticed that sometimes cleomes will grow again from a little tiny "bulb" produced at the base of the plant.

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    2. Anonymous12:22 PM

      I just saw your reply from this spring when I went to check on what to do this autumn! I thought I checked but I guess I missed it, so a belated thank you for your reply. I found two plants in a garden center and put them in but then my previous cleomes came up in mass and the garden was beautiful!, It was later than I expected, I think it was in late June. And most came up exactly where they were last year. I am looking to scatter some seeds elsewhere now and wonder if there is anything special to be done.

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  18. Anonymous8:02 PM

    Why are some of my seeds dark and some light? Also do the seeds inside the pod freeze, it froze last night, but turned into a sunny nice day, so I collected seeds hoping they are ok.

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