Seeing Seeds

Late-season seeds provide yet another reason to admire plants. Master gardener Paul James discusses a few of his favorites.
Similar Topics:

It's no wonder people are drawn to plants. After all, they have so many redeeming qualities, including flowers and foliage, texture, shape and fragrance. "But one of the most often overlooked qualities can, in my opinion, be one of the most redeeming of all, especially late in the season — and that's seeds," says master gardener Paul James.



Among the more familiar are the seedpods of the redbud, seen here, which hang in clusters on mature trees and rattle in the wind. Dogwoods produce brilliant red berries or seeds that combine well with the foliage and provide a source of food for birds.

Even the hackberry can put on quite a show of seeds, which is yet another reason growers should make this tree readily available.



And let's not forget evergreens — from select junipers, which produce beautiful blue seeds, to pines whose seeds are clustered in cute cones.

"One of my favorite seed producers is northern sea oats, which add a good deal of interest to an otherwise dreary winter landscape," says Paul. "I also like the look of false indigo's (Baptisia) seed heads."

Even tropical plants can produce cool seeds such as the bean-like pods of the Tecoma or those of a jatropha, which displays both flowers and seeds at the same time.



This is the seed pod of the Kentucky coffee tree, which is a fine tree for a large landscape. Don't bother using the seeds to make coffee, however; it tastes terrible.

Says Paul, "So when you plant something, think beyond the obvious attributes like flowers and foliage, and consider what a plant can offer in the way of interesting seeds or seed pods."

Next Up

Growing Plants from Seeds

Growing from seed is the most common and often the easiest propagation method. All the seed needs to grow is warmth, moisture, light and air.

Bud Bank: Saving Seeds for Later

Learn what seeds to save from your garden and how to store them.

How to Sprout Seeds

Sprouts are seeds that have just begun to germinate, so you can grow them in only a few days. They're tasty and nutty and crunchy — and very good for you.

Sow Cool: Give Your Lawn a Head Start With Dormant Seeding

Dormant seeding is the practice of sowing grass in the winter months when grass seeds are inactive.

Chrysanthemum Seeds

Discover what you need to know for growing mums from seed.

Salvia Seeds

Learn about growing salvia seeds, including common sage and chia seeds.

The Extraordinary Secrets of Ordinary Seeds

We can't live without seeds, says Thor Hanson, author of The Triumph of Seeds. They fill our gardens with beautiful flowers and nutritious foods—but that's only the beginning.

Save Flower Seeds for Replanting

Saving seeds can be economical, since a single flower can produce dozens, even hundreds, of seeds. Learn how to be a successful seed saver.

Host a Seed Swap

Seed exchanges are a great way to introduce new plants into your garden and spend time with fellow gardeners.

How to Organize Seeds

Keep every seed in its place with one of these clever seed storage tricks.

1,000+ Photos

Browse beautiful photos of our favorite outdoor spaces: decks, patios, porches and more.


Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.