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Slightly More Unusual Medical Herb Seeds. > Heartseed. Cardiospermum halicacabum
Heartseed. Cardiospermum halicacabum

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Price: $3.50
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Uses: Culinary/Medicinal Duration: Annual
When to Sow: Spring Ease of Germination: Easy 

Decorative heart-shaped seeds used for necklaces.  10 seeds

Cardiospermum halicacabum - Heart Seed

Family: Sapindaceae
Habit: Climber
Height: 3
Range: E. Asia - India. N. America. Africa. Locally naturalized in S. Europe[50].
Cardiospermum halicacabum (Heart Seed) is a Climber which grows to a height of 3m . It has a hardness rating of 9and is quite resiliant to frost.
Heart Seed will flower in January to February. the seeds ripen from February to April
The flowers from this plant are hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs) and they are pollinated by

Soil Information

Heart Seed will grow in light (sandy),medium (loamy),hard (clay) soil. It is / is important for the soil to be well drained.
The soil prefers the following PH / acid levels :
- pH of less than 6, Acidic soils
- pH between 6 and 8, Neutral soils
- pH greater than 8, Basic soils
Heart Seed prefers moist soils

Ideal Planting Locations

Heart Seed should not be planted in shady areas.

Moist thickets and waste ground in Eastern N. America[43].

Planting places suited to this plant described below.
  • Grows within a woodland garden
  • Works within dappled Shade



The whole plant is diaphoretic, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, laxative, refrigerant, rubefacient, stomachic and sudorific. It is used in the treatment of rheumatism, nervous diseases, stiffness of the limbs and snakebite. The leaves are rubefacient, they are applied as a poultice in the treatment of rheumatism. A tea made from them is used in the treatment of itchy skin. Salted leaves are used as a poultice on swellings.The leaf juice has been used as a treatment for earache. The root is diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, laxative and rubefacient. It is occasionally used in the treatment of rheumatism, lumbago and nervous diseases.


  • Diaphoretic - Induces perspiration.
  • Diuretic - Acts on the kidneys, promoting the flow of urine.
  • Emetic - Induces vomiting.
  • Emmenagogue - Promotes or increases the menstrual flow. In early stages of pregnancy it can induce an abortion.
  • Laxative - Stimulates bowel movements in a fairly gentle manner.
  • Refrigerant - Cools the body.
  • Rubefacient - A counter-irritant and external stimulant, it produces inflammation and redness of the skin.
  • Stomachic - Aids and improves the action of the stomach.


Here is what you do--You start with hard-shelled brown/black seeds that each have a perfect cream colored heart on them. These grow into vines with tender trendils that will climb any fence or trellis in full sun or part shade.  On the end of each trendil are several small white flowers which are followed by the PUFF.  Each puff starts small and green and as it matures turns to a golden brown. 

At the end, you get your LOVE back with 2-3 seeds in each PUFF, each with it's own little heart.





Cardiospermum halicacabum doesn't sound like a whimsical plant

does it? Until you find out two of it's common names: Love-in-a-Puff and Heartseed. This fast growing vine will reach up to 10 foot in one season, and it's tendrils will cling to wooden or iron trellises. The foliage is rather ferny in appearance, and it's not really grown for it's teeny white blooms, but rather the unique seed pods that are formed later.

Each seed pods is a three-sided green balloon that turns brown and stays inflated! When squeezed, it "pops" and you'll find 3 charming seeds inside, each having a perfect white heart at the place where it was attached to the pod. This makes collecting the seed pods a joy! Kids love to collect the pods and open each one to remove the seeds. Wondering each time: Will it have 3 seeds? Will they all really have hearts? Is there a fairy inside painting the hearts on the seed?

Love-in-a-Puff seeds can be direct seeded in the spring after the last frost, or it can be started inside about 8 weeks before the frosts end. It's an annual in all areas except those in 9 and 10--where the vine can be a vigorous pest IF left to it's own to reseed with no control. Plant in full sun and a good soil that will.

The balloon vine (as it's also called) will flower in midsummer and the seeds will be ripen in the fall. The seeds are small and dark black with the white heart markings. If some capsules are left on the plant it will make a lovely winter accent and it will reseed. You can also collect the seeds to save and plant in the spring.

Love-in-a-Puff will bring a little whimsy and wonder to our yards and gardens plus it will encourage the imaginations of little and big people alike.