In the previous post about growing Black-Eyed Susan Vine I posted a picture of a developing seed pod on my Black-Eyed Susan Vine. If you're growing Black-Eyed Susan Vine then chances are good that soon you'll have Thunbergia alata seeds-if you know where to find them on the vine and how to collect them. Knowing how to collect Black-Eyed Susan Vine seeds is more important than knowing when to collect the seeds.
Black-Eyed Susan Vine flowers are tubular-shaped and pollinated by pollinators with long tongues. After the bloom fades you'll be able to tell whether it was pollinated or not within a day or two.
The developing seed pod is covered by a sepal that looks a bit like a tomatillo husk. Identifying the seeds and seed pod is easy. The Black-Eyed Susan Vine seed pod looks a bit like, well, you know.
If your bloom wasn't pollinated it will quickly start to turn brown and the sepal will fall off the vine. The Sepal of a flower that has been pollinated will remain green longer as the seed pod inside develops.
Here's why saving Black-Eyed Susan Vine seeds is hard and why buying any Thunbergia alata seeds are so expensive. They're hard to collect! The seed pods burst open, sending the seed inside the pod a very long distance. One day you have a developing seed pod.
The next day all you have is a stem where your seed pod was. So, how do you collect Black-Eyed Susan Vine seeds? The easiest way to ensure that you'll collect seeds is to learn to identify where the seeds develop and encase the seed pod in something. Wrap it up.
Yes, this looks funny, but it is necessity. As I said: Thunbergia alata's seed dispersal mechanism will send your seed flying across the garden. The ejected seed will land in soil, but most of the time the seed will go to waste. Do not rely on the color of the seed pod to determine if the seed is ripe. Don't wait until the seed pod looks "crispy," like with so many other plants in your garden. If you wait until the seed pod looks just right it may be too late. Normally I would've used something like muslin or a piece of old nylon hoses, but when I spotted this seed pod I was in a hurry and a napkin was all I had to hold my seed pod in place. Used tea bags work great: just open one up and cover the seed pod with it. Use the string to secure the opening so the seed doesn't fall out.
Here is that your seed looks like. Thunbergia alata seeds are small, round, dark and resemble peppercorn. The next time the price of a single seed pack of Black-Eyed Susan Vine seeds makes you wince consider how much trouble they are to collect. When you know how to collect Black-Eyed Susan Vine seeds you'll have more seeds than you know what to do with. The prolific blooming of this vine assures a healthy crop of seeds in a single growing season- if you know where to look for them and how to save them before they're ejected from the pod. One day you could be standing before your hanging basket of Black-Eyed Susan Vine admiring the cheerful bloom and the next thing you know one of the seeds has hit you in the eye.
Black-Eyed Susan Vine, Thunbergia Alata. Information on how to grow Black-Eyed Susan Vine. See my post on How to Save Seeds. In it you'll find tips for the beginner gardener who would like to save seeds.
Video on Collecting Black-Eyed Susan Vine Seeds.