|Just a few weeks ago, seed pods were green.|
|Iris pods are opening all over the garden by late July, when the mesh bags come into use. Here, all pods in this cluster have opened, the tips are spread on the upper two, and the bottom one has valves spread to show the seeds inside.|
I cut the stems and collect the pods, still in their mesh bags, to dry before taking out the seeds. The stems can be tied together with a wire tie or string, hung in a dry shady place, out of the sun and away from direct heat––just as you would dry herbs or flowers, or put into paper bags in a warm dry spot. After a few days, any pods that can open, have done so, and the seeds are ready to clean and package.
|A basket of treasure: Ripe pods in paper bags, ready to dry indoors.|
After the seeds are clean, I put them in a clean bag (mesh or paper), to continue air drying. The label moves with them. I save seeds for seed exchanges, such as Society for Pacific Coast Native Iris, and Species Iris Group of North America.
I learned the hard way to not put fresh seeds into glassine or plastic bags––they mold. The mold doesn’t kill the seeds, it’s just in the seed coats, but it looks terrible, and when it’s really bad, all the seeds are encased in a dense whitish mold into one solid lump. Ugh! If there's too much mold I scrub the seeds with a plastic scrubby to clean them, then rinse and re-dry the seeds.
|Drying seeds, in a row of paper bags. This takes patience, and at least ten days!|
Do you grow PCIs, and do you save seeds to give to other gardeners?