MrXeric's seedlings 2021

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MrXeric
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MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by MrXeric »

Hi everyone!

I've been lurking on this forum for several months now (pretty much since the pandemic started) and have been absorbing (or trying to anyways) the wealth of information available here. I've been inspired by all the seed propagation posts and decided to start my own as my first post here! I have sowed cactus and mesemb seeds before (with varying degrees of success...) but this year I will be sowing over 50 (!) different species with the majority of them being the first attempt for me. So hopefully this will be as much as a learning experience to others as it will for me!

I have been sowing the seeds in batches and plan to periodically post updates here.
The first batch was all mesembs and they were sown on February 16. The following species were sown:

Purchased from Mesa Garden
Conophytum Mixed species
Conophytum bilobum 'brevisectum' (RR1136)
Conophytum calculus ssp. vanzylii (SH434)
Conophytum herreanthus ssp. rex (DH637)
Conophytum ratum
Cheiridopsis peculiaris (SB770)
Didymaotus lapidiformis
Diplosoma retroversum
Mitrophyllum grande

Purchased from C and D Plants
Dinteranthus vanzylii
Lithops gracilidelinaeta waldroniae

Growing Conditions
Substrate:
7 parts pumice (1~2mm)
3 parts decomposed granite (1-2mm)
small amount of pine bark fines and coco coir (<5% of entire mix)

Top Dressing:
A 1~2mm layer of fine pumice sand (<0.5mm)

Both the substrate and the top dressing were sterilized in the microwave and then inoculated with mycorrhizae before the seeds were sowed directly on the surface.

The pots were placed 10in. (~25cm) under fluorescent shop lights (40W, 5000K tubes) in the garage where the temperature has been a consistent range of mid 50's to low 70's (around 13-23C).

Here are some of the seedlings at 10 days old!

These tiny Conophytum ratum looking a little leggy.
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Little green blobs of C. herreanthus ssp. rex
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Cheiridopsis peculiaris
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Mitrophyllum grande
Image
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MrXeric
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by MrXeric »

Since the last time I posted I've had to remove dead seeds covered with black fuzzy mold from three of the mesemb pots (you can actually see them in the C. herreanthus picture...I didn't see them until a day after that ](*,) ). I removed them and the surrounding substrate and treated the area with drops of undiluted hydrogen peroxide. It's been several days since and so far no more fuzzy black stuff or dead seedlings from burning the roots with the peroxide :)

On to more interesting things...

I sowed Batch 2 on February 20 (all cactus from now on):

Purchased from C and D Plants
Ariocarpus fissuratus
Ariocarpus bravoanus subs. hintonii
Aztekium ritteri
Discocactus horstii
Neoporteria reichei f. duripulpa
Ortegocactus macdougallii
Strombocactus disciformis
Turbinicarpus jauernigii

The Aztekium and Strombocactus seeds were sown on the same top dressing mixture over the same substrate as the mesemb seeds. The rest of the cactus seeds were sown on a pumice and decomposed granite sand (~1-2mm size grains) top dressing layer (3-5mm deep) over a 7:3:1 pumice/granite/bonsai jack gritty mix substrate with a little extra coco coir. Both substrate and top dressing were sterilized and then saturated with a mycorrhizae mixture.

The pots were placed inside baggies and those were placed in a propagation box (a storage bin with holes cut out of the lid for lights). The light source is 2 6500K 700 lumen 6W LED flood lamp bulbs and 1 625 lumen 65W incandescent flood light bulb placed on the far side. The temperature range inside the box at the pots' surface level is 78F(~25C) on the cool side to about 93F(33C) under the incandescent bulb. The box is in the garage so the low night temperatures are currently 50-60F (10-15C).

At 10 days after sowing, all of the pots have seeds that germinated except for the Turbinicarpus. Here's a few picture of some seedlings. :D

Ariocarpus hintonii
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A. fissuratus
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Aztekium ritteri
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and Strombocactus disciformis
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A question for the more experienced: when should I consider removing the pots from the bags for Discocactus, Neoporteria, and Ortegocactus?
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7george
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by 7george »

A question for the more experienced: when should I consider removing the pots from the bags for Discocactus, Neoporteria, and Ortegocactus?
Wait for those to get little larger and to develop some spines on the top. Leave them 2 - 3 months in the bags, if no mould there is not worry about.
Never tried micorizae inoculation with seedlings and not sure if this will work. Sterilisation with MWvs, esp. over dry mix is usually not good enough.
If your cacti mess in your job just forget about the job.
°C = (°F - 32)/1.8
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MrXeric
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

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7george wrote: Thu Mar 04, 2021 2:53 am Wait for those to get little larger and to develop some spines on the top. Leave them 2 - 3 months in the bags, if no mould there is not worry about.
Never tried micorizae inoculation with seedlings and not sure if this will work. Sterilisation with MWvs, esp. over dry mix is usually not good enough.
Thanks for the advice! This is the first time I'm inoculating with mycorrhizae. My thinking was that beneficial fungi would suppress the spread of harmful fungi. So far 1 pot has had obvious fungal attack, so I can't really say how well it's working. Also, I moistened the substrate before microwaving. There was plenty of steam after zapping it. :)
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MrXeric
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by MrXeric »

Batch 3 was sown on February 25.

Purchased from Mesa Garden
Copiapoa lembckei (KK70)
Coryphantha echinoidea 'schwarziana'
Echinocactus horizonthalonius (SNL94)
Gymnocalycium schickendantzii (P17A)
Lobivia haematantha v. rebutioides (R585A)
Mammillaria pectinifera
Pediocactus knowltonii (SB304)
Pelecyphora strobiliformis
Sclerocactus 'Toumeya' papyracantha (RP50)
Turbinicarpus booleanus
Turbinicarpus schmiedickeanus v. flaviflorus
Turbinicarpus valdezianus v. albiflorus (SB250)

All of these were sowed in the same substrate with the same procedure as the previous cactus seeds. Half of the seeds of both the Pediocactus and Sclerocactus were scarified (sanded down on one part on 220 grit sand paper until the seed coat there became a lighter brown color). I waited a bit longer before posting this batch since not much was going on. So far at two weeks every pot has had at least one seed germinate other than the Gymnocalycium. I'm thinking of letting that pot dry out and trying again :? ...

Here's some pics of these seedlings at 2 weeks!

Coryphantha echinoidea. Being the only pot showing any signs of life in the first week, these started germinating just after 3 days of being sowed!
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Disaster in the Copiapoa pot! You can see the filaments of the fungus all originating from one seed. So much for the mycorrhizae stopping this from happening. ](*,) I removed the offending seed and sprayed the pot down with diluted hydrogen peroxide. Hopefully the unaffected seedlings survive. :(
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6 of the 10 Echinocactus horizonthalonius seeds germinated! :D I just wished I sowed them deeper since they were growing upside down...
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Here they are with their roots properly buried. Hopefully they didn't mind the disturbance too much...
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Pediocactus knowltonii. Again, I should've sowed these deeper. ](*,) I threw out 2 shriveled seedlings. Interestingly, 4 of these germinated without any scarification while only 2 of the scarified seeds germinated. :-k
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and finally Sclerocactus papyracanthus. In the top right corner you can see a blurry seed with a noticeably lighter color on one side where I sanded it. Just below it you see a seed with a hole...that wasn't there when I sowed it. I'm assuming it's a dead seed. :-k I took out 5 unscarified seeds to dry out before sanding them and resowing.
Image
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7george
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by 7george »

I would also try to bury carefully with a sterile wood stick those seedlings with roots sitting on the surface. Also to remove quick empty seed shells: this is the organic substrate that fungi need to grow.
If your cacti mess in your job just forget about the job.
°C = (°F - 32)/1.8
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Steve-0
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by Steve-0 »

Very ambitious and obviously, thus far, successful, too! Keep us updated as the seedlings progress, please and thank you.

Welcome to the Cactiguide forum!

Steve

PS - I have a small start of first attempt at cacti seedling growing. A couple of Sclero species in there, too. I poked the seeds vs sanding them. The Ped. Knowtonii is new to me and was surprised at it being quite rare and extremely limited in habitat. Good luck!
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MrXeric
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

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7george wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 3:24 pm I would also try to bury carefully with a sterile wood stick those seedlings with roots sitting on the surface. Also to remove quick empty seed shells: this is the organic substrate that fungi need to grow.
I have buried some of the seedlings deeper (the roots of the Pediocactus and Sclerocactus seedlings were just laying on the surface!). Good advice on removing the seed shells, I'll be doing that every time I check on the pots from now on.
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by keith »

If you keep the seedlings wet they need to be free of fungus. I grow mine in air don't use plastic anymore, it works but probably they grow slower .

Yours look good to me I have trouble with the echinocactus and dinteranthus vanzylii. Some of the other species I've never tried.
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MrXeric
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by MrXeric »

Steve-0 wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 4:54 pm Very ambitious and obviously, thus far, successful, too! Keep us updated as the seedlings progress, please and thank you.

Welcome to the Cactiguide forum!

Steve

PS - I have a small start of first attempt at cacti seedling growing. A couple of Sclero species in there, too. I poked the seeds vs sanding them. The Ped. Knowtonii is new to me and was surprised at it being quite rare and extremely limited in habitat. Good luck!
Hi Steve!
Don't worry, I plan on posting seedling progress here for a long time to come!
How do you pierce the seeds? With a needle? The sclerocactus seeds I have look large enough for me to handle and try piercing, but the pediocactus seeds are much smaller and I feel like they'll just end up flying away. 8-[
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MrXeric
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by MrXeric »

keith wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 1:59 am If you keep the seedlings wet they need to be free of fungus. I grow mine in air don't use plastic anymore, it works but probably they grow slower .

Yours look good to me I have trouble with the echinocactus and dinteranthus vanzylii. Some of the other species I've never tried.
I've always wondered how large the difference in growth rate is between growing seedlings in closed humidity vs. open air. Maybe I'll test it one day...
And yeah, I was surprised at having 60% germination on the echinocactus already since I've read this species typically has low germination rates. Now it'll be on me to keep them alive. 8-[
This is actually my second attempt at D. vanzylii. The first time around I had pretty good germination but they all lost color and slowly died away in the next few weeks. Probably shouldn't have kept them in the bag so long. This time around, it's been almost a month and there is no sign of germination at all. :lol:
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by Steve-0 »

MrXeric wrote: Sun Mar 14, 2021 2:09 am
Steve-0 wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 4:54 pm Very ambitious and obviously, thus far, successful, too! Keep us updated as the seedlings progress, please and thank you.

Welcome to the Cactiguide forum!

Steve

PS - I have a small start of first attempt at cacti seedling growing. A couple of Sclero species in there, too. I poked the seeds vs sanding them. The Ped. Knowtonii is new to me and was surprised at it being quite rare and extremely limited in habitat. Good luck!
Hi Steve!
Don't worry, I plan on posting seedling progress here for a long time to come!
How do you pierce the seeds? With a needle? The sclerocactus seeds I have look large enough for me to handle and try piercing, but the pediocactus seeds are much smaller and I feel like they'll just end up flying away. 8-[
Here's a video link on how to pierce the seed coat. I used this method successfully. It can be fiddly due to the tiny procedure being attempted. Flying seeds seems to be on the learning curve. I put a white dish towel under the damp paper towel and caught 90+% of my acrobatic seeds. :wink:
Yes, a sterilized needle works fine. I used a hooked dental probe. Needle sharp. Easier to steer and insert, IME.

You can go straight to 2:00 in the video to get to the poking technique.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGG2-YpGDWA&t=85s

I did damage a few seeds in my efforts at picking the pointy part of the seed coat just right each time.

For the next batch, I simply went off the script and lightly poked the hilum....with a much greater successful germination rate. It was also easier to do. The hilum feels half as tough as the coat and with light pressure the point pierces it and then when I felt it pierce would as quickly as possible cease the pressure and retract the point. It's a microscopic insertion as you can imagine. Like poking a needle through a piece of scotch tape on an inflated balloon but not popping the balloon. While the other hand is doing something like pinching a a tiny bead with tweezers and then poking it and not having it fly away. The damp towel base helped a lot.

For the Escobaria seeds, I did not attempt any poking or sanding and got 80% germination. Hope this helps.
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by keith »

This time around, it's been almost a month and there is no sign of germination at all.'

Dry the pot and start again :D
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MrXeric
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by MrXeric »

Steve-0 wrote: Fri Mar 12, 2021 4:54 pm For the next batch, I simply went off the script and lightly poked the hilum....with a much greater successful germination rate.
:shock: Talk about high risk, high reward! I just may try this on some of the sclerocactus seeds I've yet to sow. Also, thanks for the video link! I have to say I didn't expect an actual piece of the seed shell to be chipped off. :lol:
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Re: MrXeric's seedlings 2021

Post by MrXeric »

During the same week I received my shipment from ADBLPS, I also received my shipment from Koehres, but as luck would have it, US Customs seized and destroyed that shipment and left me a little note. :( Luckily I only ordered 4 seed packets from Koehres so not much was lost. I did order 3 times as many seeds from Mesa Garden soon after to make up for that loss though. :lol:

Batch 4 was sowed on the 1st of March.

Purchased from ADBLPS
Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus v. macdowellii
Blossfeldia liliputana (RH2054b)
Frailea cataphracta v. duchii (CS668.1 334OR)
Lobivia famatinensis v. bonnieae
Mammillaria saboae subs. haudeana
Mammillaria schumannii v. globosa
Yavia cryptocarpa

All of these were sowed in the same cactus seedling mix I've been using, except for the Blossfeldia, which I sowed in the mesemb seed mix I used for the Aztekium and the Strombocactus (I call it my 'Tiny Seed' mix :) ).

Other than the M. saboae, all the pots have at least 1 seed that has germinated so far. I did sand down half the M. saboe seeds, but I may take those out to dry before attempting to pierce them.

Here are a few of the seedlings at 2 weeks after sowing!


Ariocarpus kotschoubeyanus v. macdowellii. I don't know if this species is just slower to germinate, but I was disappointed to see only 2 seeds sprout after 2 weeks, when the other 2 species of Ariocarpus I sowed before were already well past 50% germination. :?
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In the other hand, these tiny Blossfeldias (tiniest cotyledons I've seen, after the Diplosomas) started germinating about a week after sowing and 16/20 seeds have germinated already.
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Frailea cataphracta v. duchii. Both the seeds and cotyledons strangely resemble those of Astrophytum asterias to me. Hope they grow faster though!
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and finally the Yavia cryptocarpa. I'm quite content with 3/5 germinating so far! Now I hope I can keep them alive long enough to try grafting them..
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