When do volunteer plants go from being a welcome volunteer in the garden to a dreaded weed?
I remember the moment — early in my gardening life — when I discovered that if you left tomato fruits in the garden over winter, they might grow the next year. Amazement! Thrill! Whether the tomato grew to produce the same tomatoes it did the year before, however, depended on the type of tomato (hybrid or heirloom) and its parentage. I still get volunteer tomatoes — tons of them this year because of our near perfect winter in Minnesota. And, occasionally, I let them grow just to see what they produce.
The volunteer plants that have veered toward weeds tend to be flowers: morning glories (arrghhh!), coneflowers, and this year, a patch of cosmos. I’m letting them go for now, because I like the lacy foliage of cosmos and they provide a colorful edge to my front garden. But will I let them seed? Everyday as I walk through that garden pulling up morning glory seedlings (and maple seedlings from a nearby tree), I think a severe pruning before seed setting might be in order. Sometimes a volunteer plant is just a nuisance.
What plants do you let go to seed?