Harvesting seed pods

This topic contains 16 replies, has 0 voices, and was last updated by  Darren 8 years, 4 months ago.

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  • #13135

    Anonymous

    Can anyone give me advice on when to take the seed pods off the swan plants please? I’ve got some nice big swans, but don’t want them to pop when I’m at work. On the other hand, I assume I should leave them for as long as poss.

Viewing 16 replies - 1 through 16 (of 16 total)
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  • #27483

    Darren
    Participant

    bladderfruit is a great name! Great references.

    #27476

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Found an email today from entomologist Peter Maddison who has found a great site showing the difference between Gomphocarpus fruticosus and G. physocarpus:

    http://www.mozambiqueflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=145690

    http://www.mozambiqueflora.com/speciesdata/species.php?species_id=145710

    Noted that physocarpus means bladderfruit, referring to the inflated fruits, and fruticosus means shrubby or becoming shrubby

    #17791

    Swansong
    Participant

    “They came up in the ground where I had my plants last year”

    Yes I thought so, thats what happens to mine too.

    “I take it you are from the south as well are you further south than Canterbury?”

    Ooooh no Im not that far south, Im in the Manawatu, but we can get some pretty stiff frosts here. Taupo and Waiouru are waaay worse than us here though. One year I recorded here (unofficially) a -7 by putting the thermometer at ground level with the “measuring rod” poking up in the air … it seems to be the coldest just before sunrise. Last year was pretty cold here and we had a number of stiff frosts but nothing like you would get down there. -4’s are reasonably common here. Swanplants will tolerate 1 or 2 light frosts then SUDDENLY turn their toes up on you and thats IT!!!! they say NO MORE OF THIS.

    Good on you for getting a butterfly house! Hope it all goes well for you. You’ll be stoked to see your 1st new stock in it!

    Ive just got myself organized for winter too. I went around and FINALLY dug out various stages of swanplants that had come up here and there. I had 3 really nice ones that should make really nice plants next season and were a couple of feet high. I didn’t intend to leave all these so long but was waiting and wa-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-aiting for some decent rain. We’ve been in quite a serious drought here and it’s been hot as well but the drought MIGHT have broken in the last day or 2. Anyway conditions were as ideal as I’ll get and so I planted/potted them all where I can manage them behind my netted off area. It was quite a big job, so I’m pleased. I always have to allow for back-ups, which are my potted ones which get rotated inside for the faAAAatties to finish off in there. I also have to allow for my ‘pillar passions, which are running high at the moment. I always seem to get a bit more emotional about them at this time coz soon I’ll have no more and thats always a bit sad, though its good to have a break too.

    Swansong

    #17790

    margie
    Participant

    That’s a good idea Jacqui but I have heaps of them perhaps 50 or more and most of the folks down here have the same problem of keeping them alive in the winter with the frosts and snow. We have the alps near us and get some real hard frosts the coldest we recorded last winter -7deg so it is very hard to keep them going.
    Not sure how they would go sending them north if I could I would gladly send them free if someone covered the postage.
    Margie

    #17787

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Margie — why don’t you dig up those seedlings and either sell them on TradeMe or give them away to your local school, kindergarten etc – or friends – or a trading table at a market etc, etc. I would hate to think that they will die when the frosts/snows come!

    J.

    #17785

    margie
    Participant

    Hi Swansong,
    I have quite a few plants that have been self sown. They came up in the ground where I had my plants last year and yes the pods burst on those plants, but I don’t expect them to see the winter through as they are not as big as my potted plants. I am thinking that I will not worry so much about saving the plants this winter as I have plenty of seed and the plants I germinated last winter produced good sized plants for the pillars. I will concentrate my time this winter getting the butterfly house fitted out (my husband has finished the framing for it) and germinating my swan,nettle and zinnia seeds. I will cover some of the big plants that were new this season but the plants that are 2 or 3 years old I won’t worry about as they have gone rather stalky, they are the ones that have heaps of pods on.
    The stocking idea is great will adopt it this season.
    Have just planted some buddleia cuttings so hopeing they all take.
    I take it you are from the south as well are you further south than Canterbury?
    Cheers Margie

    #17782

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Margie,

    “it seems the older the plant the more seed pods they produce.”
    Yes I think that typically seems to be the case. I usually have an over abundance of seeds and sometimes Ive had plants laden with swans. Ive also heard somewhere on this forum that if you nip the swans off the plant, it will produce better/more leaves, which would stand to reason.

    Actually I’m going to keep my eye out now to refresh my memory properly on what the seed pods do, as far as colour go. As I mentioned earlier my one that’s just burst forth, was only a tad of a lighter green than what it has been for a while. I have another one that has slight tinges of a browny red, and the “spikes” on the swans are a lightish brown as well.

    One thing is for sure, if you have them loosly covered in some stocking, it wont go anywhere and it can do it’s thing as hard it likes. : )

    Margie, have you managed to grow seeds from swans that have just burst forth, and have them germinate straight away? (allowing of course for the regular germination period which I dont know what it is) I know us more Southern folk have to treat our plants as annuals and I have deduced that this indeed makes our whole scenario different to the folk up North or where they can treat them as perennials. Id like to know if their seed behaves differently to how ours does. Heh, you can tell I aint much of a green fingers!

    Swansong

    #17776

    margie
    Participant

    You are so right Swansong it is a real struggle to keep your plants over winter. I also have never seen them in the wild down here but have seen paddocks of them in Queensland where they class them as weeds so the farmer of one property we visited said of their masses of swan plants.
    The plants that I did manage to save from last year have plenty of huge seed pods on them that have taken on a pinky red shade but no where ready yet. My new plants from this year have very little seed pods it seems the older the plant the more seed pods they produce. Has anyone else found this.
    Cheers Margie

    #17773

    Swansong
    Participant

    “To everyone, and to Swansong in particular, a big THANK YOU for all your help.”
    Not a prob clair, glad to help : ) .

    “stop the spreed of the milk weed.”
    I can imagine they would be a pest up North, but down further south where theres frosts and what not we dont really have the same problem. In fact sometimes it can be all one can do to get them going. Ive never seen them “in the wild” down here. Do you have that problem up North?

    Swansong

    #17768

    Jacqui
    Moderator

    Oh ange – for a minute there I didn’t realise you were talking about seedpods, thought you were talking about BUTTERFLIES. ROFL, what a relief!

    Jacqui

    #17764

    I find once they lighten up, I give them a gental sqeeze and if they pop, I pick them and put them somewhere dry. I do this on a daily basic to stop the spreed of the milk weed. Dont want them to become a pest like they are in Hawaii!
    Angie

    #17752

    Anonymous

    Ah yes of course, old stockings would be perfect!

    And my first butterflies hatched yesterday evening – 2 big beautiful girls – spent the evening gazing at them 🙂 I think I will have to keep them in for a few days – the weather here is set to rain until Friday.

    To everyone, and to Swansong in particular, a big THANK YOU for all your help.

    #17738

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Clair, they do change colour a bit, like a bit of a lighter green to a yellowy tinge. If I remember correctly they can take on a slight reddish tinge too. Im just asking my hubby what he can remember… the ones we’ve brought inside last year do go brownish after a good while and of course they will pop open even if you store the swans in a paper bag. Actually Ive got one Ive just spotted in my cupboard in an open container from last year and I see theres fluff galore…man that stuff is soooOOOOooo soft.

    Another thing I just thought of which would be better than a bag is one of those fine nets you often see fruit in at the supermarket. They can come in quite handy those little net/mesh bags, providing its fine enough. Another option would be good old window netting/mozzy netting…..OR … even old stockings would be absolutely ideal.

    Cheers
    Swansong

    #17728

    Anonymous

    Thanks, I was rather hoping that I might get a colour change, so I’m glad to know I shouldn’t hold my breath! Bags it will have to be!

    #17727

    Swansong
    Participant

    Oh and I’ll just add that the colour of my pod isn’t really all that different to how its been since it was forming…in other words it hasn’t gone brown as you might suspect that they would…

    HTHs
    Swansong

    #17726

    Swansong
    Participant

    Hi Clair, Ive just had one of mine pop on me inside the netted off area, and Im just going to leave it to do its thing as the seeds wont get blown far anywayz. However if you are worried about that, I would just simply put a bag with a few tiny “breathing holes” over the pod and that should do the trick…just tie it on with a bit of stocking or similar….

    CHeers
    Swansong

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