This is the perfect time of year for seed collecting, for those who start plants indoors. I want to specifically refer to Million Bells for planting indoors, even though I start just about every type of plant I have from seed. Very little information is out there about Million Bells and how to grow from seed. They haven't been sold anywhere until the last year or two because of certain patents. Many think you can't do it, and many haven't tried because of the lack of information. Last year I collected seeds from every colour of Million Bells that grew in our yard. Some produced an abundance of seed pods and some produced few to none. This made the value of these seeds worth a lot to me. So I collected as many as I could and kept them all separate. I planted each colour in a different tray and waited patiently through the spring to see what I'd end up with. These are my results: about 30% came true to type and the others produced different results. The ones that didn't come true to type still produced the most beautiful colours imaginable. I started them just a slight bit too late in winter so I didn't know what many of the colours would be when I planted them outdoors. This is the reason for many mixed colours in the same pot. The mix of colours didn't matter much to me as they all looked fantastic. What I did end up with this year was a lot of Million Bell seeds. I had an overabundance of seed pods growing on each plant, and now I have 20 years worth a million bell seeds for future years. Here are a few images of the results of three months worth of indoor planting to produce more Million Bells than you can possibly imagine. As long as you pick the seeds when they're fully ripe, then nearly 100% of them are viable. If you're wondering how you'll know if they're ripe for picking, take a close look at the pod. If you see slight black dots visible through the skin of the pod, then they are good. When you plant them indoors, allow for about 12 to 15 weeks for growing them indoors before transplanting outdoors. How does this all relate to hummingbirds? They really like them. I would rate them a 3 out of 5 for hummingbirds liking the flavour, and a 5 out of 5 as an attractor for bringing hummingbirds into your garden.
Author of Jewel of the North. Please post your comments and questions.