Saving Seed

About this time of year when all of your plants are hopefully producing an abundance of blooms it is worth thinking about taking a little seed from your collection. In order to encourage blooms regular deadheading is required, but I always find that I manage to miss a few and end up with fat seed pods, it is a shame to waste them and you never know what you might get? Violas are quite promiscuous and if you have two or three varieties growing close together you can be pretty sure that the insects will have visited them in turn and thereby have done some crossing of pollen. As the seed pods develop they swell and turn brown, and you need to keep a careful eye on them as when the pod splits it fires seed in all directions. I use little muslin bags for the purpose of collecting, but small paper bags would do; but beware of plastic as this induces excess moisture and subsequent rot. Once collected I sow the seed fresh as I find that it germinates much better. I then look forward to what I hope will be something good. Be warned! Disappointment is almost inevitable, but there is always a chance that you may find a winner.

For the same reason I always weed very carefully around the plants from August onwards, for any seed pods that were missed earlier in the year will have scattered their crop and with luck there may have been some germination. I always pot up any seedlings that I find. Nothing has ever come from this yet, but I remain the optimist.

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