Texas Gardening forum: Flame Acanthus Seed Help?

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Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Oct 6, 2017 2:15 PM CST
I know I can (and maybe will) also post this to either the Seeds or Propagation forum but this forum seems more active and I think this is a relatively popular plant here.

I'm lucky to have a couple of Flame Acanthus that the pollinators have graciously visited. I'm now trying to find the best way to harvest the seeds and either make some more for me or share with others. All I've read so far is that your supposed to pick them while brown and still on the plant. Ok...but gosh, what appears to me sure is a hard outer covering - and I'm guessing the seed/seeds are inside? Anyone have any experience here they can help me with? Am I overthinking this or making it too hard?
Name: Donald
Eastland county, Texas (Zone 8a)
Region: Texas Enjoys or suffers hot summers Raises cows Plant Identifier
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needrain
Oct 6, 2017 8:57 PM CST
There are two photos of seeds in the database and one includes the husks.


These are both shown under the entry for anisacanthus quadrifidus var. wrightii. There is also a photo of the seeds after several germinated, but that photo is found under anisacanthus quadrifidus. They are all posted by Cameron @TexasPlumeria87 so maybe he will chime in. On looking at his photos, I'd guess you just shell them out of what look like something along the lines of a small pea pod. Maybe Cameron will see this post and chime in. I think you are correct about the seeds being inside. I can't tell from the photo how hard the covering is, but often those 'containers' will crack open easily when the seeds are mature. If yours are brown or turning brown, if it were me I'd collect some and put in bowl or something. If they start cracking open while still on the plant, you'll likely lose the seeds.

Just my thinking. Good luck.
Donald
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
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TexasPlumeria87
Oct 7, 2017 5:41 AM CST
Hi Larry and Donald. The bottom picture is the husk like Donald mentioned, and the seeds were inside. The seed coat/pod sort of split open easily when I pressed the two halves together. Then I was able to pull the disc like seeds out. You have to be careful when pulling them out because I managed to break some in half when I was removing them. I hope that helps some? They germinate fairly quickly. Good luck with them. Thumbs up
Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Oct 7, 2017 6:55 AM CST
Thanks. I did pull off one and let it dry a couple days. It was hard as a rock. I was thinking if I resorted to force I likely would damage. Sounds like I'm on the right track I maybe just need to try a few more. The good news is the hummers liked it so it was well pollinated. Thanks to @needrain and @TexasPlumeria87 for your help!
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
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Bulbs Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Region: Texas Bromeliad
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TexasPlumeria87
Oct 7, 2017 12:29 PM CST
You're right, I should have said I gently pressed the halves together, and some I just pried apart because the pod had split open a little. Thumbs up I can't wait until my flame acanthus plants grow larger. I have about 5 little seedlings that I may give to a couple of local gardeners because I don't have much room in my flower beds lol. Thanks Donald for saying my pictures were under two different entries. I'll move them all to the wrightii one because I got my plants from GrammaChar. Thumbs up From my notes, mine germinated in 4 days.
Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Oct 7, 2017 3:02 PM CST
I have 2 pretty large ones and the hummers love them! I'm mostly gathering seed for others or in case something happens to mine (hard frost, psycho deer attack, etc)
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
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TexasPlumeria87
Oct 7, 2017 6:19 PM CST
I'm thankful I don't have deal with psycho deer attacks lol.
Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Oct 8, 2017 10:58 PM CST
Well for posterity in case someone else stumbles across this curious, here's what I did...I waited until the "husks" were brown, then picked them. I found that gently sticking a pocket knife in the seam at the very top of the husk, allowed me to divide/split the husk in half relatively easily; the seeds then either pop out or are easy to extract at the point. The seeds are usually 2-3 to a husk and resemble pepper seeds in their shape & appearance.

For where I'm at here in northern Bexar county, this plant took the heat well and was a favorite of the hummers...and important for me, the deer - who seem to have at least browsed most of what I've planted - have never touched it. It was not an early bloomer; I can't remember when but it probably didn't flower until late June or July.
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Butterflies Salvias Houseplants Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
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TexasPlumeria87
Oct 9, 2017 7:33 AM CST
Wow you're lucky mine didn't start flowering until last week lol.
Texas (Zone 8a)
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GrammaChar
Oct 23, 2017 11:08 AM CST
Okay, I'll jump into this conversation.
Flame acanthus: great small shrub but a rampant self-seeder. I pull and discard dozens of volunteers every year. Excellent source of nectar for hummingbirds and butterflies. Host plant for the Crimson Patch butterfly, although I've never seen one here. I USED to collect the seeds and found that the best way to remove the husk was to leave them alone and let them do it by themselves. Put the seeds in a container and cover lightly (not airtight). As the outer shell dries out, the seeds will *pop* (hence the cover or you'll have them all over the floor). One day I kept hearing a clicking sound and couldn't figure out where it was coming from....Then I remembered the seeds on the windowsill. D'Oh! Drying time probably depends on temperature and humidity, but figuring that out gets too technical for me. If you don't have room in your flower beds @TexasPlumeria87, plant some in the outer reaches of your yard. The flame acanthus are pretty drought tolerant and don't need a lot of attention.
The deer don't browse these plants once they're established.
Good luck @ricelg! Psycho deer Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing
GrammaChar
Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
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TexasPlumeria87
Oct 23, 2017 11:30 AM CST
@GrammaChar I have a few spots in my yard that get morning sun and mid-late afternoon shade. They're neglected areas so maybe I can plant a couple there? I didn't know that about the seeds popping. Hilarious!
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
Oct 23, 2017 11:53 AM CST
The deer around here like the White Mistflower foliage they can get to! Must be yummy! And I've had the Crimson Patch caterpillars and butterflies. I'm hoping they return this fall...they came last year, but were already here by this time. Then a couple of cats returned this spring when the foliage grew again, starting the cycle again...all disappeared by summer.
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad
[Last edited by LindaTX8 - Oct 23, 2017 12:05 PM (+)]
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Name: Larry
Hill Country TX (Zone 8b)
Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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ricelg
Oct 23, 2017 12:17 PM CST
GrammaChar said:Put the seeds in a container and cover lightly (not airtight). As the outer shell dries out, the seeds will *pop* (hence the cover or you'll have them all over the floor). One day I kept hearing a clicking sound and couldn't figure out where it was coming from....Then I remembered the seeds on the windowsill. D'Oh! Drying time probably depends on temperature and humidity, but figuring that out gets too technical for me.


Hmmm...that's an interesting approach. Think I'll try it for the remaining few that are left. Thanks, @GrammaChar !
Texas (Zone 8a)
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GrammaChar
Oct 23, 2017 12:18 PM CST
The deer don't mess with my White Mistflower much. Maybe that's because it's all over the place so I don't notice when it's eaten.
Yes, @LindaTX8, I have heard that there are Crimson Patch butterflies in your area. How I would love to see one!!! I've actually been thinking about making a drive to the nursery in Medina where the butterflies are reported to be.
GrammaChar
North Central TX (Zone 8a)
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tx_flower_child
Oct 28, 2017 12:26 AM CST
I'll just jump in here to say that my Flame Acanthus (what's the plural? Oh, never mind) are slow to bloom but not as late as October. Maybe next year I'll make a note for posterity.

I didn't grow them from seed. I grew one from what looked like a stick that was in a styrofoam cup. @Frostweed gave it to me one fall. And it grew. And grew. I finally had to split it in two. Since I couldn't expand my perennial bed I planted each in what I think are 30 gallon containers.

Still in the ground in April 2016 and not yet divided:

Thumb of 2017-10-28/tx_flower_child/8754fe


Now it's been divided in two and potted up. Here's the smaller half in Oct. 2016:


Thumb of 2017-10-28/tx_flower_child/111f29

Name: Cameron Allen
Plano, TX (Zone 8a)
Winter Sowing Butterflies Salvias Houseplants Native Plants and Wildflowers Birds
Bulbs Amaryllis Cactus and Succulents Tropicals Region: Texas Bromeliad
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TexasPlumeria87
Oct 28, 2017 4:29 AM CST
@tx_flower_child It's amzazing how quickly yours grew. Mine is being shaded by a Texas sage bush so I'm going to have to prune the sage back so the flame acanthus gets more sun.
Name: josephine
Arlington, Texas (Zone 8a)
Hi Everybody!! Let us talk native.
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frostweed
Oct 28, 2017 7:53 AM CST
I will jump in since this is a very dear subject to to my heart.
Flame acanthus is a wonderful plant and I love it for many reasons, but I never plant the seeds, they are rather tricky, and why bother with seeds when cuttings root without fail. The best part to take for cuttings from is the young wood, the part that has turned white and has many nodes, although the the younger wood will root as well.
Also it self seeds once it gets a little bigger and you will have many seedlings which you will have to pull and transplant.
This plant has a taproot so be sure to wet the ground well before you try to pull the seeding, so you don't break the root.
Mine bloom in June and get very tall so they have to be pruned back during the growing season.
I just love this plant. Smiling
Wildflowers are the Smiles of Nature.
Gardening with Texas Native Plants and Wildflowers.
Name: Linda
Medina Co., TX (Zone 8a)
Charter ATP Member Salvias Herbs Bluebonnets Native Plants and Wildflowers Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
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LindaTX8
Oct 28, 2017 2:19 PM CST
Yes, I have to prune mine back also. Best time is when they've seeded out, because that will encourage them to bloom again! Butterflies and hummingbirds just love it!
I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. E. B.White
Integrity can never be taken. It can only be given, and I wasn't going to give it up to these people. Gary Mowad

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