yucca1.jpgIn addition to my usual tomato, herb, and annual flower seeds, I enjoy the novelty of trying to start seeds that I’ve collected from plants as well. Unfortunately I seem to enjoy collecting the seeds more than starting them as fewer than half of what I collect ever ends up in pots and under lights in the spring (honestly, I often forget what I’ve collected). But fortunately, I do end up trying at least one if not two of the things I’ve collected seed from.

yucca4.jpgBut last fall, I saved a seed pod from a yucca (Yucca glauca) at the xeriscape demonstration garden here in Colorado Springs. This is a plant that is native to our area, and it isn’t very hard to find. I’m sure some people consider it more of an annoyance than a desirable plant. It’s super sharp pointy leaves can make running into one a memorable experience! In fact, its leaves lend it another common name, Spanish bayonet. But when these tough natives bloom in the spring, it is something to behold. A stalk rises from the center covered with white, waxy buds that open up at night. A field of these can be stunning.
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For me, another favorite characteristic of the plant is its seed pod. It has long compartments in it filled with a stack of black seeds – the seeds in each compartment make me think of a stack of record albums (remember those?). When the plant is ready, the pod bursts open and the seeds are flung far away from the parent plant. But if you can catch the pod a bit early, you can capture some of those seeds and try starting them.

yucca5.jpgSo I did nothing special with my seeds (besides forgetting that I had them until about March of this year). When I rediscovered them I filled a six pack with potting soil, barely covered a seed in each cell, and put them up on top of my fridge and waited to see what would happen. In less than a week, I had four little yucca seedlings! Who would’ve thought that this tough plant would start out looking like a little blade of grass?

yucca6.jpgRight now, I have the five seedlings (one more joined their ranks) under lights in my basement with my other seedlings. I know they will quickly start forming tap roots, so I will pot them up individually in the next few weeks. I’ll continue to document their progress as they grow.