The closer you can get to the natural conditions for seed dispersal, Teresa, the better, so, yes, completed dried is what you want to go for. Swallowtail Seeds has these recommendations for sowing: Sow balloon flower seeds in 2 inch pots or cell packs, press into soil but do not cover. Needs light to germinate. Kept at 65-70°F., germination is in21-30 days. Seedlings are fragile and must be handled with care. Transplant into the garden 1-1.5 feet apart.
@Douglas Hunt I wasn't clear concerning collection of the seeds. I have dead headed the plant most of the season. I stopped deadheading so I could collect dried seed pods. After several weeks, the pods don't seem to be drying on the plant. I pulled off one of the oldest looking pods and opened it. Black seeds had developed but the inside of pod itself was still quite moist and green inside. In previous years I have never seen these pods actually dry and open on the plant. I was hoping to find out if anyone had a collected seeds from this type of plant and knew if the seeds are mature at this point.
Dried is definitely the best, but you don't want to miss them either. You can take a piece of fine gauze and tie it around the plant, if the seeds release while your sleeping the gauze will collect them for you:)
I found this nifty info on Balloon flowers, check out this site: http://www.gardenguides.com/83528-harvest-balloon-plant-seeds.html
@Catherine Smith Thank you so much! I was being impatient and not waiting for the seed pod to dry well enough.
I have 3 different colors of balloon flowers, I never tried saving the seeds! I keep cutting the spent blooms so I'll get more flowers. I may try to save seeds now!
I deadhead the plant all summer, too. I just stopped to see if I could collect seeds this year. I have had this beautiful pink balloon flower for three summers. I cut most of my perennials to the ground after the first of second frost to avoid plant disease, fungi and insects hide-outs. I left it stand a while longer last year. The seed pods still seemed too moist, non opened. I finally cut it down. My plant is healthy, has grown and spread.I am just hoping to find out the best time to pick these pods and if anyone had any idea of how/when to harvest these.
My 3 different balloon flowers. Teresa, have you noticed that some flowers have 4 petals and others 5? In my pic below, the pink has 4 petals, others on the plant have 5. The same with some of my white and my blues ones.