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A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Wednesday - May 14, 2008

From: Canyon Lake, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Propagation
Title: Seed collection from rain lilies
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

Hello, I have some rain lilies growing in our yard. I've collected some seed heads, but am not sure what steps to take now. They were all off of broken stems (the dogs are not as cautious as I am), but range in color from green to dark purple. How do I know if they are developed enough? Do I need to clean them?

ANSWER:

Cooperia pedunculata (Hill Country rain lily) and Cooperia drummondii (evening rainlily) are very special flowers that pop up and surprise you with their beauty right after a rain. It is possible to grow them from seeds, but the seeds you collect need to be mature. The green ones you have are probably not going to be viable. The ones that will be viable are the ones that are dark and nearly dry. In fact, your best bet is to let the seed pods become very dry on the plant before you collect them. You will see under "Propagation" on the Hill Country rain lily page that they don't store very well so they should be planted soon after you collect them. Remove them from the seed cases and spread in a single layer on paper towels or newspaper to dry. You can store them in a paper bag in the refrigerator until ready to plant them. Also, they will reseed themselves if you let the seed pods dry completely on the plant and naturally disperse.

 For general directions on seed collection, please see our "How to Article" Seed Collecting and Storage.

 


Cooperia pedunculata

Cooperia pedunculata

Cooperia drummondii

Cooperia drummondii

 

 

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