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Late bloomers and geranium seed cleaning


by John Beaulieu (pronounced bowl-you)

Only a few geranium family members are still blooming in the garden. We have weather forcasters using the F-words (frost and flurries), so the season is now winding down. It is time for any late autumn in-ground sowing, so seed must now be cleaned. An earlier blog dealt with collecting, but now the geranium seed stored in envelopes must be sorted and cleaned. This is good to do on a nasty day when you don’t want to go outside and work in the garden.

Some question the need to get the seed out of the mericarps. I think it is more important for those varieties that fling the seed out of the mericarps. It is less critical for those such as the Geranium phaeums and the Erodiums that fling the seed still in the mericarps.

The newly retired editor of the Hardy Geranium Group Newsletter, Paul Davis, had the easiest method of removing seed from the mericarps… Simply rub a small amount around in the palm of your hand. The seeds will come out of the shells quite easily.

If you are not sowing all the seed, some will still need to be stored, perhaps for winter sowing in containers or to share with other enthusiasts. I like using the little papers that hairdressers use for perms (similar to cigarette papers). I fold the tissue-like paper around the seeds and then place them in tiny zip-lock bags. Make sure you label them!

Only use the plastic bags if your seed is very dry. If you have fresh, moist seed, envelopes are better.

More blog posts by bowl_you

Previous post: Geraniums in the fall

Next post: Wrapped up sowing with an ear worm



This is a wonderfully clear explanation of how to clean seed. Thank you.

22 Oct, 2013


Hello John ..

excellent text, captions and photos...
Thanks... well done :o)

23 Oct, 2013


Amazing detail and very useful - thank you.

23 Oct, 2013


Totally agree, very useful, clear and concise.

23 Oct, 2013

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