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Cacti and Succulents: Random seedling experiments

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Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

March 21, 2012
3:50 PM

Post #9051836

A few shots of succulent seedlings here to celebrate the start of spring.

First up is Agave shawii, native to here. Seed sown late November (timed after the first rain of the season), plants now about 4 months old. They are on their third or fourth leaf and starting to turn.

The pot on the left is on a SW-facing windowsill that gets a few hours of afternoon sun year-round. The one on the right is on a NE-facing windowsill which gets lots of reflected light but no sun in the winter. Otherwise they have been treated the same.

The results (so far) are sort of informative. The plants on the right are greener and their leaves are longer and skinnier. Note leaf pathology on upper right plant. The top dressing (pumice) is also a different color in that pot. It turns brown when it's in contact with wet soil. That means there's also a difference between the two pots in terms of how long they hold on to the water I've been giving them. It will be interesting to see how they change when the sun starts hitting that window in a few weeks.

Finally a shot of a teenager (in agave years) out in the garden catching the last rays of the day, by way of inspiration for the little ones.

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Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

March 21, 2012
3:53 PM

Post #9051840

And here are a few random Euphorbias (open hybrids, 3 seed parents), a few months older than the agaves. They all get good afternoon sun.

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smashedcactus

smashedcactus
Cannelton, IN
(Zone 6b)

March 21, 2012
6:02 PM

Post #9052009

Nice! Baja. I have several seeds, but don't have much luck growing them. I'm thinking of trying again.
ginger749

March 21, 2012
9:10 PM

Post #9052262

Nice job Baja.

I have only ever grown Epies. from seed.
There is a certain satisfaction in growing an entire plant from seed.

newtonsthirdlaw
Arlington, TX

March 22, 2012
2:36 AM

Post #9052339

I don't have the patience for seeds but I do admire those that do. How long does it take for an agave to reach a decent size that can be noticed out in the garden when you start from seed?
C

zone10

zone10
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

March 22, 2012
10:40 AM

Post #9052813

Those are some strong looking agave seedlings Baja! Great job! Would love to see updates now and then.

Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

March 22, 2012
4:55 PM

Post #9053232

Thanks, guys. I agree, growing plants from seed is pretty cool. Happy to provide updates as the youngsters grow up. They do have a ways to go.

To answer your question, C: the seedlings are making about one new leaf a month, which is not far from what they'll be doing when they get older. I'm guessing they'll be ready to put in the ground in a couple of years. One day I hope to see these plants flower together and complete the cycle. It shouldn't take much more than 8-10 years if all goes well.

Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

March 22, 2012
6:07 PM

Post #9053315

[quote="smashedcactus"]I have several seeds, but don't have much luck growing them. I'm thinking of trying again.[/quote]

It seems like some plants are harder than others to grow from seed. The easiest ones for me were the Euphorbias. The leafy ones in the second picture germinated and grew with only weekly water, which is what I would give an adult plant in a container that size.

The Ferocactus seeds I sowed around the same time as the agaves sprouted and then stalled (my theory is low light). Last year's batch did great in a bright indoor location, right up until I dropped the pot and killed them (sad day). Inevitably this process involves some losses.
ginger749

March 22, 2012
11:35 PM

Post #9053560

This is a Picture of my 4 week old Epis grown from seed.
If Yall have never done it before please give it a try.

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Eclipse
Norwalk, IA
(Zone 5b)

March 27, 2012
6:21 PM

Post #9059750

Newton,

Heres some Agave potatorum seedlings I grew a few years ago. these are 1 yr old in a greenhouse. the pots are 6 inch azalea pots and the plants grew very fast.

Kyle

Thumbnail by Eclipse
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newtonsthirdlaw
Arlington, TX

March 27, 2012
6:34 PM

Post #9059762

Thats a decent size for a year...now what will you do with all of them? I have been trying to grow some rarer perennials from seed with uneven success. This year I bought a seed starter mix instead of potting soil, big mistake! It has been impossible to keep them wet enough. I got good germination but they didn't do well after. What medium do you use for cactus and other succulents?
C
newtonsthirdlaw
Arlington, TX

March 27, 2012
7:06 PM

Post #9059790

Ok don't laugh but this is my one and only ever C & S seedling. I found some 3 year old seeds someone had given me when I cleaned out a drawer this spring. I planted the 6 seeds that were not smashed and 3 germinated. This little fellow is the only one that developed. He is about 2 months old and growing better since I moved him out of that saw dust they sell as seed starting mix.
C

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zone10

zone10
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

March 27, 2012
8:32 PM

Post #9059874

Pretty good germination rate Newton!

Eclipse, did you grow the agaves from seed?
Eclipse
Norwalk, IA
(Zone 5b)

March 28, 2012
7:38 AM

Post #9060261

Newton,
I used a starter mix with a clear cover, light bottom heat and kept the soil just moist till the seeds were up good.

Zone 10, they were seed grown from seeds I ordered through the Cactus and Succ. society. I have grown about 15 kinds from seeds.Titanota..the true Rancho Tambor were the most fun to see what would grow out.
I don't work at the greenhouse now so have to grow them at home. I currently have some red stricta agaves coming up from seeds. Wheres your fav. cactus greenhouse there in SD> now? I use to love going to Vista and Escondido for cactus when I lived there.


Kyle ;-)

zone10

zone10
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

March 28, 2012
9:58 AM

Post #9060415

Eclipse, North County still have the highest concentration of large nurseries and I make a point to spend a day or two each year browsing succulents and other drought tolerant plants. I like Plant World and Tropic World. They are right off the freeway and have a huge selection of plants but not anything too unusual. I have yet to visit Grigsby Cactus Gardens in Vista. Went there once and the gate was locked. I haven't had a chance to go back. I understand they are a premier C/S nursery in San Diego County. I also love to peruse the aloes at Solana Succulents. They have a great collection of large plants. I hate to admit this but with gas prices at $4.25 per gallon, the 8 mile trek to the C/S Society show/sale at Balboa Park, has been my main hangout.

Good luck with your A. stricta seeds!
Eclipse
Norwalk, IA
(Zone 5b)

March 28, 2012
10:29 AM

Post #9060445

Zone 10 I lived in North Park not far from Balboa park so the cactus show and sale was always a top draw for me.They have some awesome stuff. years ago Tropic World had really rare nice plants but I think they have laxed up on the rare things.Sometimes I'd find some neat plants at Walter Anderson's near the Navy base.

Kyle

zone10

zone10
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

March 28, 2012
10:49 AM

Post #9060478

I am a regular at Walter Andersons. They have expanded their succulent offerings in the past few years and hopefylly this continues. Funny, they don't seem to price according to the rarity of the plant. I've found some pretty valuable succulents priced the same as very ordinary ones. I love their little 1" Lithops pots for $1.99. Some of the plants have split and you can get two plants for the price of one. I could resell these on Ebay for more than that!

Wow, San Diego to Iowa. That's a big change. Glad to see you have held on to your interest in succulents!

zone10

zone10
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

March 28, 2012
10:50 AM

Post #9060480

Sorry Baja, somehow these "tangents" are hard to avoid. Your seedlings are amazing! I've never grown Euphorbia from seed. Are they relatively easy to germinate? When do you sow?

Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

March 28, 2012
11:31 AM

Post #9060543

Hey, I was hoping people would chime in. Kyle, those are some nice looking agaves, and fast ones too. Newton, does your leafy little plant have a name? Baby plants are sort of like baby animals to me... cute. The seed leaves on those Epis look so un-Epi-like.

I think Tropic World changed owners a few years ago. Last time I was there they tried to give me an olive tree and looked sort of offended when I told them I didn't want it. Now give me an aloe tree and then we can talk!

The Euphorbias were the easiest succulents I've tried to grow from seed. They show up as volunteers in the garden, they germinate in pots without needing to be covered and coddled. They pop right up through chunky pumice. The hardest part is getting the seed, actually, because of the exploding pods.

The ones that make an actual fleshy fruit (like ingens) are easier that way because you can collect the fruit when it turns soft, remove the fleshy part, and then let the seed pods dry out in a covered bowl. Pop pop pop and you're ready to sow.

I've never paid much attention to the season when sowing Euphorbias, just sowed fresh seeds when they were available. May, February, November, whatever. In most cases they germinated in a few days to a week. One batch did not germinate for several months and then did so in unison.

zone10

zone10
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

March 28, 2012
3:22 PM

Post #9060881

I think I'll give a few Euphorbias a try.

I have one of those free Olive trees from TWorld. It has been more drought tolerant than most of my succulents! It's sitting in a pot on pavement, with barely any soil. I keep putting off repotting the poor thing. Gotta get to that soon...!

Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

July 21, 2012
6:50 PM

Post #9213812

A few more pics here by way of update, plus other events in the propagation department.

First up are the same Euphorbia seedlings 4 months later. New ribs just sprouted on #2 and #5.

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Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

July 21, 2012
6:53 PM

Post #9213824

Euphorbia ingens and bupleurifolia seedlings looking leafy for summer.

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Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

July 21, 2012
6:57 PM

Post #9213831

Aloes and agaves.

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Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

July 21, 2012
7:01 PM

Post #9213840

Sempervivum and Echeveria offsets. Square pots were just started, round pots are older plants that just went outside.

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Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

July 21, 2012
7:09 PM

Post #9213847

More recent graduates to the big outdoors. I think these are Aichryson (genus related to Aeonium). The mother plant rotted out completely so I restarted it from cuttings (the healthy pieces that were left). This shot taken a few months on, plants now growing strong, potted in a very rocky mix.

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Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

July 21, 2012
7:11 PM

Post #9213850

The biggest Echeveria around here at the moment (about 8"/20cm) comes from a batch of small cuttings I started in the fall.

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amanzed
Los Angeles, CA
(Zone 10a)

July 21, 2012
10:28 PM

Post #9214007

Great to see your seedling progress, Baja. I keep meaning to try seedlings some more. I've tried a couple times, but I think I didn't keep it humid enough for long enough, and I got nothing. I've grown vegetables & garden plants from seed before, but not cactus & succulents (except maybe Anacampseros volunteers).

zone10

zone10
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

July 22, 2012
6:01 PM

Post #9214927

Wow Baja, your plants are doing so well! I've never grown Echeveria from seed. You obviously have the knack.

Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

July 22, 2012
6:45 PM

Post #9214971

Kind words. Naw, those and the Semps are just offsets, I'm not that far along. But they're doing better than usual, especially for this time of year. I give the credit to acidified water and occasional vitamins.

Dean, I have had the same kind of trouble with cactus seedlings (not enough water early on). The bigger seeds tend to sprout faster and become independent sooner, in my experience. Of the plants pictured, the biggest seeds (almost peppercorn size) and the fastest early growers (up to a leaf a week) have been the bupleurifolia plants. I'm watering them twice a week, soon it will be weekly. They're a bit needy about light, though... not too happy in the east-facing window with the morning haze we've been having lately.
perkoschilefarm
Ben Wheeler, TX

November 8, 2012
8:18 PM

Post #9328473

I know this thread is a little stale but I just now found it :) so here I go. I have yet to successfully propagate any of the African succs but have had excellent results with cactus seeds. I have roughly 1000 baby cactus from Echinopsis to Opuntia and many unknowns in between those. Will try and get a few pictures posted here then more tomorrow.

First picture is the row of Echinocereus stramineus and the others are all the assorted Ferocactus I planted.

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zone10

zone10
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

February 12, 2013
1:50 PM

Post #9416855

Hey there Baja! I've been absent for a while so my apologies for this delayed posting. How are your baby aloes doing now? Would love some updated photos. I have several aloes that I grew from seed, but they seem to grow sooooo slowly!

Perko, I've recently experimented with growing cactus from seed. To my surprise, they have been more difficult than many S.African succulents. I don't think I have the watering down, especially for South American species. Any advice on germination and care of babies? Here's a photo of a couple of surviving Echinopsis.

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perkoschilefarm
Ben Wheeler, TX

February 12, 2013
5:00 PM

Post #9417051

Howdy Zone10 long time for me too! I am by no means an expert on cacti seeds but I do seem to have positive results with this method. I know many favor using artificial lights in cacti propagation which does indeed work but I despise acclimating plants back into the sun. So I use the sun from East and West facing windows with much success and water from below using the tray method while keeping a lid on for the first 6-8 months. I then lift the lid half way while still watering from below until 1 year passes. After 1 year I set on window sills and grow just like the adults watering occasionally but more and more deeply as weather warms and so far no fatalities.

My 7 baby Bergerocactus emoryi are still looking good but have not grown for the last 4 months but should begin again in another month or as soon as I can place in my greenhouse.

My first attempt 2-3 years ago failed as I watered from above and could not keep a constant relative humidity level for any length of time.

Honestly it seems I have much better success with cacti seeds over some mature specimens as I have now lost 5 just this Winter inside. The list of lost ones are M. luethyi, M. saboae v. haudeana, gymnocalycium baldianum, and my Eriosyce odieri and Sulcorebutia crispata.

I am in the transition of setting back up in Ben Wheeler, TX which may be good for my carnivorous plants but bad for my cactus until I can get them in a hot house seeing how it has rained everyday for the last 2 weeks. Years past I tried collecting cactus there and after 4 months they all turned to mush cause of the constant high humidity and rain.

Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

February 12, 2013
5:26 PM

Post #9417085

Glad to see you back! The aloe seedlings are not setting any speed records here either. Still working out the kinks, but some plants are in a groove. Today's shots show the biggest aloe (3" pot) and a few Euphorbias. They are getting water once or twice a week, depending on the size of the container.

I have been using SW facing windowsills for these plants. The NE side doesn't get enough sun in the winter and those plants are stretched (situation may improve this summer and then I'll move them outside).

The Bergerocactus should in theory be a winter-spring grower if it behaves like the adults around here. But as tiny babies they probably grow whenever conditions are right.

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NancySLAZ

NancySLAZ
Sun Lakes, AZ
(Zone 9a)

February 13, 2013
2:25 PM

Post #9418015

Baja: What are the pictures of please? My pictures are plants I started from seed in early fall: Faucaria (I had 8 of them, but some froze this winter), 2nd pic is mostly Hoodia gordonii which sprouted great and are growing well in house under lights; 3rd pic is Aloe dhufarensis (they are from Oman and can take heat and cold so good for Phoenix).

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Baja_Costero

Baja_Costero
Baja California
Mexico
(Zone 11)

February 13, 2013
3:57 PM

Post #9418154

Aloe unknown (blue tree species). Euphorbias: unknown (seed parent female, open hybrid), grandicornis (open hybrid, probably self), bupleurifolia, pubiglans (open hybrid, ?self).

Those baby Hoodias and Aloes are adorable. A. dhufarensis is a cool plant.
perkoschilefarm
Ben Wheeler, TX

February 13, 2013
4:44 PM

Post #9418212

I've not tried any aloe seeds so i may have to do that at some point. My aloes always get fried in winter and die down to nothing only to return in Spring with new growth from the roots. Wonder how long this will go on before they finally perish...

zone10

zone10
San Diego, CA
(Zone 10b)

February 14, 2013
7:57 AM

Post #9418809

Baja and Nancy, nice looking seedlings. I've had my share of struggles but aloes do generally well.
Little_things
Port Elizabeth
South Africa
(Zone 10a)

February 14, 2013
10:21 AM

Post #9418968

Hi guys - I find the aloes taken time to develop nice roots and as they do they start growing exponentially faster. Just keep going, you will see what I mean in time. Love the hoodia seedlings, looks like some great success there. Faucaria's rot easily, even when small and watering should not be on the leaves too much or when cloudy/humid or peak summer or winter.

NancySLAZ

NancySLAZ
Sun Lakes, AZ
(Zone 9a)

February 18, 2013
10:43 AM

Post #9423158

Yes, the Hoodias sprouted great and are doing well so far. I have killed large Hoodias before so I'm a little leery about them. Thanks for the info on the Faucaria. I have to remember not to wet the leaves and mostly water spring and fall when sunny (which is all the time here in AZ).
Little_things
Port Elizabeth
South Africa
(Zone 10a)

February 18, 2013
7:06 PM

Post #9423748

Hehe, the current hot (100F) and humid (60-80%) conditions we have is perfect for rotting if you water...roots are not active anyway, so I just wait.

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