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When I Collect Cypress Vine Seeds

Ipomoea quamoclit is native from South America up to Northern Mexico. It has naturalized in some warmer zones in the United States. This annual twining vine is commonly known as 'Cypress Vine' but also goes by the name of Hummingbird Vine and Star Glory. It is also sometimes confused with Ipomoea sloteri "Cardinal Climber." While the two vines and flowers look similar they have some pretty obvious differences. In my opinion Cypress Vine is the better of these two plants because of the softer foliage and star shaped flowers.

Cypress Vine flower pictures, Cypress Vine seed saving, ipomoea quamoclit

I purchased a packet of 'Cypress Vine' "Valentine Mix" because it contains red, white and pink blooms of this flower. I must not have saved any seeds from the pink or white blooms last year because this year I've only noticed the reds blooming. Here in Chicago I grow this vine in full sun in poor soil where it blooms profusely well into the fall.

This vine has been the subject of conversation many times in my garden because people are really attracted to the flowers though the white and pink seem to get the most attention. The second characteristic that is commented on is the dainty foliage that just provokes you to reach out and touch the vine. I like that in my small urban garden it provides cover and interest without being overbearing.

If you click and enlarge the image above you can look at the visual clues I use when I collect 'Cypress Vine' seeds. If you press the browning seed pods between your thumb and index finger you should feel a little resistance from the hard seeds inside and the pod may start to break apart. If the seeds aren't ripe they will be pliable and if you open the pod the seeds will be a light color or white. Saving 'Cypress Vine' seeds is very easy once the 'Cypress Vine' seed pod ripens.

Related: 'Cardinal Climber' Vine Ipomoea sloteri.


  1. Do you start the cypress vine seeds in pots in early spring? The one time I tried them by seed sowed in the ground, it seemed like they finally started blooming just in time for the first frost.

  2. I am glad that you clarified this lovely plant is called the Cardinal Climber. When I saw your post starting with "Ipomoea quamoclit," I thought, "Wow, Mr. BrownThumb got his fingers on the wrong keys and published without noticing."

    Lovely plant though. I'm wondering how much it grows in a season. Is it perhaps as vigorous as the Black Eyed Susan vines that I grow? That would be ryeeinfaof xeoioifu to you. ;) What kind of structure does it need to climb?


    1. Anonymous4:46 PM

      I have some that I have grown from last year seed of a friend. I have 1 single vine on my porch in a 4 inch pot, it winds around a cord that we attached to table and ceiling of porch. It has grown to 10 ft tall, and has had tons of flowers, so in turn it has hundreds of seeds. I put the seeds in a small bowl in house, uncovered, shake it every day or two. I have seeds to supply myself and friends who want starts off it. I also clipped off some of the runners that it had, put them in potting soil, within 3-4 days they also had started growing and bloomed in 5-6 days. The top of the plant is probably close to 5 foot around, and attaches itself to anything, including the wood strips in ceiling. This is where I cut the runners, because they did not get enough light to stay green.

  3. Hi iboy,

    You know I had that problem with these last year. But the other way around...I sowed them over the winter and they didn't get going until much later in the season and were at their height of blooming when an early frost hit. It killed off the vines and blooms. So this year I started them in the ground and made sure to keep them well watered and now they're taking growing like gangbusters.

    One thing I forgot to mention was that at least one seed must have overwintered from last year because I found a vine growing the area it was growing in last year. The rains we've been having must have encouraged it to break dormancy.

    You know I have to admit to having a bit of a schoolboy fit when I was typing that name and had to double check it because I was certain I was typing it wrong.

    Last year I grew it on bamboo stakes that I fashioned into a tee pee, this year it is growing on a wrought iron fence, sunflowers, and a little metal trellis I bought at a grocery store. I grew BESV last year and I have to say it is as vigorous but like Iboy pointed out you may have to start them early because they can be slow to get going.

  4. I love this plant, too. I have saved seed and had this plant somewhere in my yard for about 4 summers. I start some in gallon milk jugs in the winter-winter sowing method. I also find plenty of plants growing from seed in the place I grew them the summer before. Thank you for always providing such great information and photos.

  5. Anonymous3:07 PM

    Help! I have tried three times to start the cypress vine indoors in a little greenhouse. They look beautiful for a couple weeks, then they start to droop and die. I keep them watered. Do they need less water? Thanks!

  6. Anonymous,

    Maybe you are giving them too much water? How long are you keeping your seedlings covered in the little greenhouse? After my seed sprout I start to acclimate them to the air almost immediately.

  7. Martha10:03 AM

    What can I do when the leaves on the Cypress vise turn brown..what is happening.. it looks healthy other than the brown

    1. Martha,

      I can't say with any certainty because I can't see what the leaves look like on your cypress vine. It could be lack of water, heat stress, it could be that they normally are changing color because of the end of the growing season.

  8. is seed found before flowering or after i have them growning in my back yard but try to re-plant they will not take

    1. You will find the cypress vine seeds after the flowering period.

  9. Anonymous1:10 PM

    MrBrownThumb, Hello my name is Karen and trying to figure out when to start collecting my seeds from my cypress vine plant. It is in full bloom right now and this is the first year I grew them so I am quite happy hoe they turned out. If you could kind of guide me along the process I would appreciate it very much. Also want to know do you sell the seeds since Iwould like to have the white andpink colors along with the red. Whatever you can teell me I would be happy to hear.

  10. Anonymous10:24 AM

    Hello Mr. Brown Thumb,

    I love to grow cypress vines and have found that they do best in warm temperatures. When they are too big for their first seed home I transplant them to a pot with a water bottle cloche on top. I have found this method to be successful but am wondering, does it weaken the plants? Are they stronger when grown without a dome or terrarium like environment?

  11. Anonymous2:39 AM


    I had 5 seeds of cypress vine seeds (red), of which 2 sprouted last week.They had 4 leaves each. While trying to shoo away an insect sitting on it, I touched the sapling by mistake. since then the sapling has been drying from the top. Its the 4th day since then and the sapling is almost gone. This is the second time its hapening. Are these plants so delicate? How would I transplant them later, if it cannot handle even a slight touch?

    Thanks in advance




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