Viable seed isn't produced by all plants. Many of the plants we purchase at garden nurseries are actually hybrids and their seed is often sterile or the seed doesn't come true, meaning the seedlings that grow from that seed will not look like the parent plant. However, many old fashioned garden favourites like Lavatera will produce viable seeds which can be planted or shared.
I purchased Lavatera seed last year at a garage sale from a fellow gardener. I've never grown it before but some reading told me the plant was in the malvaceae family, related to hibiscus and hollyhocks. Lavatera trimestris is an annual that prefers full sun and average soil, growing 2 to 3 feet high. I threw these seeds into the ground in spring and sure enough seedlings sprouted and the leaves had the rounded crinkled look distinctive of the mallow family. At the start of August blooms began to appear.
|The blossoms just beginning to open|
|The large glossy blossoms of Lavatera|
|As the blossoms dry they fall off leaving a seed pod behind|
|Pod beginning to dry and turn black|
|The seedpod has now completed dried. |
In this case it turns black so it's very clear when the seed is ready.
|Looking behind the calyx you can see the seed that has formed underneath|
|The seeds are attached to the bottom|
A couple of minutes spent over several evenings gave me a whole new batch of seed for next spring with the promise of more spectacular pink blooms.