The Q&A Archives: reseeding Hardy Hibiscus

Question: I have several varieties of hardy hibiscus (lady baltimore and luna..with with pink stripes) that I would love to collect the seeds and start new ones. I am a certified garden associate and would love to pass this one to my garden club members at our store.

Answer: Rose of Sharon (Hibicus moscheutos) seeds are easy to collect and sow but before you get too involved, you should know that some hybrids are patented, and that the seeds of hybrids won't always come true - you'll have a new plant, but there's no telling what color the flowers will be!

Allow the seed pods to turn a tannish brown before harvesting. If you look carefully you can see the top opening slightly when the seeds are ripe. Carefully cut off the individual seed pods (or cut off the entire cluster of seed pods) and turn them upside down in a paper or plastic bag to release the seeds. If the seeds do not fall out readily you can slice or peel open the seed pods to release the seeds.

Some gardeners have success planting the seeds immediately in the garden. Most gardeners report greater success when starting the seeds in spring. Collect and store the seeds in a cool dark place such as an opaque airtight jar in the refrigerator, until you are ready to plant. You can plant the seeds directly outdoors in the garden in spring. Wait until the danger of frost has passed. Or sow indoors in peat pots, about 8 weeks before your last frost date. Soak the seed for 1-2 hours in lukewarm water before sowing. Set the seeds on the surface of a good, free-draining, damp, seed sowing mix and barely coover with seed starting mix (1/16in). Cover over the top of the tray or pot with plastic wrap to help hold in moisture and keep at 75-80F.

Harden off and move transplants into the garden after the danger of frost has passed. Then wait to see what colorful surprise may develop since the offspring of hybrid plants do not always come true from seed.

Enjoy your project!

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