Plain Gardening: Seeds

Annual plants like Mexican Sunflower and Coleus won’t survive a Gulf Coast winter, but gardening expert Bill Finch says you can take lots of 2016 plants into 2017 by gathering seeds and clippings now.

For Coleus, take a small clipping—only a couple of inches—from the top of the plant. You can put this in a vase full of water if you just want a nice centerpiece and it will last a couple of weeks. If you want it to live for next season, you’ll need to get it in a pot. Pull off all but the top few leaves and place it in a small pot with loose soil that includes organic matter like mulch. Water it, then keep it indoors most of the time, with occasional trips outdoors for sunshine when the winter weather is mild. Transplant in the spring.

Plants like Mexican Sunflower and winged beans produce seeds—lots of them. Open the seed pods of Mexican Sunflower to release the tiny, horned seeds. One plant produces enough seeds to create a forest of flowers next year.

Winged beans are delicious and prolific. Bill says he paid 4 dollars for 15 winged bean seeds last year. This year he has a jarful…I suggested he keep them in a vault! Let the seeds dry on a paper or cloth before storing.

Learn more about bringing 2016 annuals into 2017 by calling Bill’s radio show Sunday mornings from 9-11 on 106.5FM or email

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