S for Shoofly … or Nicandra physalodes … or better known as Apple of Peru.
This annual plant, a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, prefers full sun and moist soil. It is a native of South America. the plant can grow to be large and bushy. The blooms are bell shaped and usually mauve and white. The blooms can repel bugs, hence the shoo fly name.
This can be an invasive plant if left to self seed, in fact in some areas it is considered a weed. It does not have deep root so is easy to thin out if it grows where not wanted. The trumpet like blooms are small and a very pretty mauve colour. I grow them in containers so that I have a bit more control over the seed pods. But one or two must of escaped my notice and dropped to the ground as last year I had a volunteer plant grow by the deck stairs. It does pop up around bird feeders as I read somewhere that the seed is included in some mixes of birdseed. And then you know what happens … the bird eats it … poops somewhere … and the seed germinates and grows.
This gives you a good idea of what the leaves look like and the size of the blooms in comparison to them. You can also see the little ‘apples’ from which the blooms grow. Once the bloom finished it drops off and the little apple turns a beige/brown colour and the little seeds develop inside.
The seeds are found in papery seedpods after blooming. Let the seedpod dry on the plant and inside you will find a little”apple” full of seeds Try to pinch them off the plant before they pop open and disperse the seeds everywhere.
You can plant the tiny reddish seeds outside after all danger of frost and they will germinate in 7 to 10 days.
For seed collectors you can print a seed label to attach to your swap packets.
There are also some generic seed packets.
Shoo fly is pretty plant but if you grow it be sure not to let it self seed and become a pest in the garden.
More from the gardener side: garden areas, bulbs, corms & tubers, plant profiles, seeds & seedpods, veggies & herbs,
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