Self Sow Seeds

We sometimes plant things with this great idea that what we plant will reseed, or self sow its seeds. That’s another way of saying that the plant will produce seeds, those seeds will fall to the ground, and hopefully some of them will grow again the following year. That is a wonderful idea. And sometimes it works. The idea is that what you originally put in the ground is what will come up the following year.

Reality can be a little bit different.

This is a petunia. A reseeded petunia.
What the original petunia looked like.

When people talk about buying seeds or plants that will reseed, if they do not reseed true to the parent plant, what you see above is what can happen. The original pink petunia was a hybrid of some sort. It was bought a few years ago at a big box store and planted. Silly me at the time forgot that a petunia can reseed itself. Sometimes it happens, sometimes the seeds die. And I found myself with some strange petunias the following year. Now, a few years later I get these purple, leggy petunias. And they reseed themselves every year, and I’m still getting purple petunias. I get them growing in pots I didn’t expect them in. I let them reseed and don’t worry about it.

But this is an issue with using seed from plants that don’t grow true to the parents. So when people talk about planting heirloom seeds, the goal is to make sure the parent (pink petunia) grows children that look like it. If it doesn’t say heirloom, or something similar your child may not look like the parent. If the seed says HYBRID any seeds you keep from the plant may not look like the parent. It might, and it might for one or two reseedings, but then again, it might not. You can plant hybrid seeds and be pretty sure you will get what the package says. But the seeds from those hybrid plants may not grow up looking like the parent.