Erythrina herbacea no guessing

Justin Smith
Tue, 02 Aug 2011 11:47:24 PDT
Hi all, E. herbacea is one of my favorite wild flowers here in East Texas. The dried seed pods make unusual decorations with the contrast of black husk and red seed. This years crop of seed make me smile when I see them shining in the sun. germinating seed: nick the coat then soak in water until you notice the root growing. I personally like to change the water everyday until I see root growth, its only a few days. If your seed fail to show any growth and just rot then your seed were bad to begin with. Once sprouted, plant them out. Snails and slugs love to eat the young tubers so make sure you plant them deep enough for protection also must be planted deep enough so the crown will not freeze. These plants are winter dormant but live where winters are wet and summers have rain. Some places have a lot of summer rain and some not so much. They will overwinter nicely if the ground does not freeze. If you live far enough north that your ground freezes then some kind of protection is necessary. You can try planting them deeper in the ground but not sure of the results.  Mine are quite variable in bloom and growth pattern. I dug one up last year that grew huge but yet very rarely had a few little blooms. Another of mine has lots and lots of short bloom stalks with many small short blooms. Another of mine has a few huge flower spikes  (over my head and I am 6'4") with large long blooms. Mine vary in color a little, from red to a lighter red. Making me think that a red closer to pink is a possible.  The tuber gets big so having one in anything other than a big pot will do poorly. The one I dug up that grew so well was larger than a football in size.  The tuber and roots are brittle and have an odd stink to them, so great care must be taken if you need to transplant it.  They do have thorns like other Erythrina which deters a lot of people from growing and enjoying them.  You can start them any time of year and grow them easily in pots while they are young.  Just remember freezing will kill them.  Justin SmithWoodville, Tx 8b/9a 

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