How to harvest astilbe flower seeds

Collect seeds of astilbe, a flowering perennial shade plant

The best way to propagate astilbe (astilbe spp.) is through division of the root ball. Astilbe, which is a shade-loving flowering perennial, does self-seed. The offsets growing from seed typically grow as smaller, less colorful and less full versions of the mother plant. Still, the leaves offer filler in a perennial garden. To collect seeds from astilbe, leave the plumes on the plant to dry, which may be late summer. Click here to learn more about astilbe.

Cutting the stems
Once the stem has dried at least 6 inches from the dried plume, the astilbe seeds are ready for harvest. Collect the spent plumes from a mother plant (not a plant previously started from seed) to harvest the seeds. Clip the stem of the dried plume and transport the plume in a paper bag or folded sheet of newspaper (my preference).

Collecting the seeds
Astilbe seeds are less than the size of gnat. To release the seeds from the plume, hold the stem in one hand over an open newspaper. Place the plume in your opposite hand and with your fingers gently wrapped around the plume, pull the plume through your hand to stroke the seeds loose. Don’t worry about separating the chaff (the seed covering) from the seeds.

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