PlantFiles is getting a new look! Just in time for spring, we're rolling out a new look for the best online plants database. It will also work with your smart phones and mobile devices, so now you can take it with you on garden center visits or botanical garden tours. Questions or comments? Please post them here.
A friend asked me to send her some Mexican Primrose seed, and I'm having a hard time finding the seeds! First though, I made her swear that she wouldn't hate me if they took over her yard like they have mine! I really love them, but they have started to take over parts of my yard. I just don't think that they are reseeding, as everything I've dug out seems to be spreading by underground runners.
Here is a picture of what I believe are seed pods, but maybe these are the seeds? This is what is left after the flower has dried up. They start out red, and then turn to brown when completely dry. I've taken several of them apart, and can find nothing inside. Maybe I just got a dud and there were no seeds? Or, maybe this is the seed? I need help!
Your first picture shows the seed pods very well, but they are quite small.
Your second picture shows empty dried seed pods.
The seed pods of Oenothera (Primrose) will take some time to ripe, but the dried seed pods on your picture are obviously empty. Can't tell you why the seed pods are empty.
Maybe you had an extremely dry period or an extremely wet period. The plant needs insects to be pollinated.
Since this plant is flowering for a long time, more seed pods may develop and they might contain seeds.
The seed pod is quite hard and wil turn to brown slowly and than open, so you can see the seeds. If the seed pod just opened, it's the best time to harvest seeds.
Jonna, you are always coming to my rescue, and I sure appreciate it!
I'm beginning to think that maybe there have been no seeds, since they never seem to open after turning brown. I've got these plants all over my yard, and check them daily, but there is never anything that I can see to collect. I've seen lots of bees crawling on them, so I would think that would do the job of pollinating. We did have an extremely wet winter and spring, so hopefully that is the reason why I can't find any seeds.
Natalie, you tell me that the bees where there, and the plants are all over your yard, so I suppose they self seeded before. Or did you plant them all? A lot of nurseries sell infertile plants.
Well I had a second look at your pictures.
Are you sure the 2nd picture is one of the dried seed pods, or might it be a dried flower?
After flowering the plants take some time to form a seed pod and the seed pods take also time to turn brown and get ripe. I don't have the Mexican primrose in my garden, but all my primroses only set seed late summer, early autumn.
Please check your plants again. The -probabely still green- seed pods must feel hard, if not, they're empty.
Jonna, I initially planted them all over the place, and they have spread by underground runners like crazy. I've had very few come up from seed, at least as far as I can tell. I only have two flower beds that they aren't in, and they haven't come up in those beds, so I'm sure they aren't spreading much by seed. But, I've had them come up far enough away from the original plantings that I'm positive that those weren't spread by runners. Especially in one spot where there is a deep barrier between the plant and where the new one grew.
I'm positive that the 2nd picture is of a dried seed pod, and not a dried flower. I broke that one off, and it was very hard, but there was nothing inside. It didn't look like there was ever anything inside. I've checked a few others that are very dry, and they are all identical to this one. I'll keep trying though! It did take a long time to turn brown - I had been watching that pod for a while - so it probably never had any seeds in it to begin with.
It might be that they will hardly set seed because it's probabely a hybrid. I have the same problem with the Verbascum x hybrida Southern Charm. I never succeed to save seeds of it, but every year I get 1 or 2 new plants. They are treated at the nursery to set no seed, but sometimes they have a bit of seed. Usually Primroses are self seeding extremely to invasive, so I suppose you have a hybrid.
You can check the green seed pods. If there are no small seeds in there, stop looking for ripe seeds. If there are green seeds in the green seed pods, they will develop to ripe seeds.
I've got a couple other primrose, and they have never reseeded either. Maybe I'm just lucky, or unlucky, however you want to look at it! Some things can be so invasive when they reseed, but I never seem to have that problem with anything!