Impatiens earn their name by the way they spread their seeds. The pods burst open, and the seeds spread over a large area. Saving seeds from impatiens requires preparation beforehand to ensure the seed isn't lost to the garden bed. In Northern California, impatiens flower mainly in the spring and fall, since warm summer weather can cause poor blossom formation. You can collect the seed at any time when the plants are flowering and the seed pods are forming.
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Impatiens is a beautiful annual that makes an excellent house plant or summer bedding plant. It is also known as “Busy Lizzie” and its name is a Latin word that describes the way its seeds shoot out of its pods when ripe (the slightest touch can make a ripe impatiens seed pod burst open and scatter its seeds).
Impatiens like shade and moisture. Impatiens are versatile and colourful, and grow in shady areas where other flowers can’t.
Common name: Busy Lizzy, Patience Plant
Color: Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, White, Yellow
Bloom time: Spring, Late Spring, Summer, Late Summer Fall, Summer
Height: Height : 9 – 11″ (23 – 28cm)
Width : 13 – 15″ (33 – 38cm)
Difficulty level: Easy
Label stored seeds with the variety and year harvested. Impatiens seeds sprout best within in a year, but they can remain viable for two years or more. Inspect the impatiens flowers once the blossoms begin to wilt. Those that are forming seeds will develop a swollen seed pod at the base of the flower, which becomes visible as the petals drop away.
Place a cheesecloth bag over each developing seed pod. Tie the bag opening closed around the stem with a piece of thread. The bag prevents the seeds from becoming lost once the seed head ripens.
Cut the stem from the impatiens plant once the seed pod begins to yellow and dry. The pod splits open at the slightest touch, so leave the bag in place during cutting.
Place the stem in a bowl. Remove the bag and split the pod open if necessary. Shake the seeds out of the pod and into the bowl.
Separate the seeds from the chafe and other plant materials shaken loose into the bowl. Store the seeds in a sealed jar in a cool, dry place until you are ready to plant.
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