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Winter Aconite: Time to collect seed

Posted by Mark Wessel on May 3rd, 2013

Blooming winter Aconite.

Winter aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), is one of the first flowers to break the winter blues. It’s golden glow is a welcome sight during the dreary days of winter.

First year seedlings.

Since winter aconite is one of the  first plants to flower, it is one of the first plants to ripen a seed crop. The timing of the first blooms vary according to the weather. Some years I have seen aconite blooming in late january. Late February is a more common time of bloom in the Cincinnati area. The seed ripening also varies. In 2012 I was harvesting seed on April 2. This year I should started harvesting seed on April 29.

Second year

I have a simple method for propagating this species. Collect the seed, throw them where you want more plants and let them grow. In three to four years you will have blooming size plants.I am sure you could speed the process by sowing seeds in a containers and providing optimum  fertility and growing conditions. Unless it is a special variety of winter aconite, I will stick to my tried and true method.

Third year

They will grow and flower in many locations. Any flower bed, sun or shade, woodland or even a lawn. Shaded lawns with a thinner density of grass work best. It helps if you can hold off on the first mowing until the plants start to go dormant after flowering. Mowing will not hurt the plants in their first few years of life since they are very low to the ground.

Fourth year going to seed.

When collecting seed, I simply pinch of the main leaf with the seed capsule and through them in a bag or bucket. Pods that are not fully open will continue to ripen after harvest.

Once the seed ripens on the plant, they do not hang around long. Rain and wind easily knock them out.

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