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San Rainbow
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San Rainbow

Number of posts : 172
Location : south of the border
Registration date : 2008-04-21

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PostSubject: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 8:58 pm

Hi all this is my first post on the forum.
I am looking at growing some loph's from seed and just after some good tips from the masters, I am thinking about heat mat plus a plastic grow box that sits on the top with the adjustable vents.
Is that the right choice?

on a window sill ?

what sort of lighting conditions?

what sort of food?

what sort of soil / sand mix

something I might not have considered?

will theses conditions apply to growing Trichocereus species from seed?

any help would be gold!

Cheers Smile
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trigonus
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trigonus

Number of posts : 879
Location : coastal NSW 1C - 40C
Registration date : 2008-01-23

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 9:26 pm

Welcome San Rainbow. Propagating Lophophora seeds is not a difficult task and is much like many other Mexican small seeded (not fine seeded, these need different treatment) slow growing cacti.

I will give a bit of a rundown.

The heat mat sounds fine, it's good to attach a thermostat if it doesn't already have one. You don't want your liitle bubs to fry. A good temp range is 21-27 C for optimal growth.

High humidity is very important at first too.

The grow box should be fine, though I would keep the vents shut until you start hardening the seedlings off in a few months or so after the seeds germinate.

Lighting is also an important factor, you need adequate light, but not too much light and definitely no direct sun, you can add layers of shadecloth if necessary. Not too shady either.

A quarter strength dose of Miracle Grow is all that will be needed for a while and this should be added when you wet the soil raising mix before adding the seeds.

For Lophophora spp. I would use seived & wash course sand or propagating sand (I use Nepean sand from the hardware it's about $5 for a 20kg bag, but you have to seive the fine stuff out and then wash the course stuff, that is the stuff you want). Use just course sand or a mix of course sand and premium cacti mix. I use only CS for most of the Mexicans.

Just sprinkle the seed lightly on the surface (some people use tweezers, I don't bother), you can add a very small amount of top dressing, I don't usually. If you don't add any just check after they germinate that they are upright etc. you can adjust them to sit right if done very carefully.

Hardening can begin after a few months, though if you are starting now I wouldn't do that until Spring. The hardening off process can take from a week to around a month, depending on technique and preference.

Hope that all helps and I am sure other will add some more good info.

Trichocereus spp. are much the same, but even easier, it's always good to plant the seeds thick so they can support each other as they grow. This rule applies for all columnular cacti grown from seed.

EDIT: I am moving this thread to the propagation forum.

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Last edited by trigonus on Sun Apr 27, 2008 10:23 pm; edited 1 time in total
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San Rainbow
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San Rainbow

Number of posts : 172
Location : south of the border
Registration date : 2008-04-21

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 9:35 pm

thanks trigonus!
when you say plant the seeds (Trich) thick so they can support each other what sort of distance would you sow them?

Cheers
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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 9:41 pm

Around 5mm to 1cm should be fine. You want them crowded but not smothering one another.

You will get the hang of it pretty quickly. Once you find a technique that works for you it all comes naturally after that. I have only been germinating cacti seed for about 1 year and already I have 100s of cacti, not sure what I will do with them all, but you can never have enough cacti is what they say...well, that's what I say anyway lol.

Did somebody say cacti?

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slim6y
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slim6y

Number of posts : 176
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 9:50 pm

What sort of watering do you recommend for emerging seedlings and infact for germination?
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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 10:01 pm

If adequate humidity is provided there should be little need for watering. That said you must keep you eye on things and not let the little seedlings dry out. If watering is required, capillary (bottom watering) or misting is recommended. You don't want the seedlings getting dislodged. Not a hard thing to do with little seedlings.

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slim6y
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 10:06 pm

misting maybe my only way - I have built a shade house but ironically it's out of reach from the garden house (I live on a fairly large property). So I guess a 1L bottle mister will be the best way.

Do you recommend leaving a large bowl of water in the shade house to increase humidity?

The humidity in Cairns has dropped significantly of late.

Or is there other easier ways to up the humidity under shade cloth?
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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 10:11 pm

Plastic bags Wink

I usually use takeaway containers to germinate seed so that provides adequate humidity.

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calycium
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calycium

Number of posts : 416
Location : Adelaide, SA
Registration date : 2008-04-06

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 10:13 pm

Put your seed pots in glad bags and mist them - you only have to open them every week then and remist them - as long as they are NOT in direct sunlight.
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slim6y
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 10:23 pm

So it's ok if the plastic bags rest on top of the seed trays?

That's a good idea - I like the take away container idea too... do you poke holes in the lid?

I have a bunch of seed trays that i want to use, so I will perhaps use bin liners - or is white plastic not because of the amount of reflection?
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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 10:28 pm

You need to put the trays inside the bags. Clear would be better.

No, don't poke holes in the lid, that defeats the whole purpose. Those takeaway containers are great, they are free and it's recycling plastic too, which is good. Just make sure they get thoroughly cleaned before use as fungus or mold could be a problem if bits of food are leftover.

With the TCs (takeaway containers), you musn't mist them too much though as there is no drainage holes, so there is disadvantages with that technique. I like it though.

Don't sow more than 50 seed per the normal sized round TCs.

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slim6y
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 10:34 pm

Why don't you drill holes in the bottom to allow drainage???

I often use plastic cups (haha I know) and I drill through 8 at a time with a reasonable sized drill bit.

But a stabby knife would do the same job.

Drainage is increased, and healthier plants are achieved as well as recycling! It's a win win situation!

I will hunt out some clear plastic bags to suit my trays this week then!
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calycium
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calycium

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptySun Apr 27, 2008 10:41 pm

I use the small yoghurt containers - white plastic ones and drill holes in the bottom. When I plant the seed (about 5 - 10 at a time), the water leaks out into the plastic glad bag, so you still cant give them too much water. Seal the bag - its a coccoon. Cacti seed ONLY germinate when there is a lot of humidity and light, so no dark containers - filtered light is good (again a norhtly window sill inside, gets them nice and warm.)
In about a week you have seeds. Open them up once a week and let in fresh air - give them a misting if the surface drys out. Keep them in the bag for a few weeks / a month - depends on the time of year.
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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 1:25 pm

You don't add holes because if you did it would make it far less humid and that would again defeat the purpose.

I am growing and have grown many hardt to grow species and genera this way including: Lophophora, Ariocarpus, Astrophytum, Turbinicarpus and also more common cacti, things like Trichocereus, Oreocereus, Cleistocactus, Gymnocalycium, Echinocereus, Ferocactus and a few others. All with good success and generally high germination rates. This technique is used for a broad spectrum of cacti genera & species, and I recommend it. That said you may not be comfortable using this tech and might find a different one works far better for you and your climate.

I should note that I do open the TCs every few days to check if there is any pests, fungal outbreaks of seedlings with rot and fix the problem accordingly. It also allows for some fresh air exchange. The enclosed environment is good for keeping pests and diseases to a minimum, as long as the TC and the prop media is clean.

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PD
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 9:33 pm

I have holes in the take away containers lids and in the bottom for drainage, i just cover the holes on the lid with tape and remove it over time. Helps with slowly hardening off. I did however leave them uncovered on one container just recently and there was no problems, in fact they are powering along. Im trying a few differnt methods this year (trays, TA containers, styro boxes and zip lock baggies) to see which works best for me and then ill stick with it. I have had good results with the TA containers and trays to date, i just want faster growth.
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trigonus
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 9:38 pm

Might trial it with the holes next time I do a batch of seed. Seeing as you had good results, I think it's worth a try.

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slim6y
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 9:43 pm

PD - I remember a trial back in the 90s using CO2 from sewage treatment works - the CO2 was pumped into large plastic domes to see if tree growth increased.

The theory is if you can provide all nutrients the only other limiting factors are light and CO2.

The growth was certainly increased - as far as I recall substantially... But the wood was not as good in the forestry or native trees (if I recall). But intial growth was 20 - 30% more in the first year alone!

I would expect the same, if not better results from herbacious plants - and maybe even cactus.

It would be worth a try to increase CO2 for the first year of growth.

How you do it? Well... that I can't answer. I just suggested to Hornet putting a shade house with clear plastic over the top of my sceptic tank. I assume it vents naturally so the CO2 will collect in that.

Other methods are dry ice, CO2 cannistors, marble chips and acid (haha - vinegar would work, but too slow)... Or any other various ways - maybe breathing on them???

If you know of any studies of the sort, i am sure they'd be interesting.

I might just have to try the shade house over the sceptic tank and see what results I get... but not this year!
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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 9:58 pm

Interesting stuff slim6y Smile


Another way that is apparently good fro making seedlings grow quickly is to feed them with a quarter of the recommended measure at every watering/misting of the seedlings. That is one from the man himself, Trout.

I think the only drawback with this one is it can eventually makes the plants weak or bloated. I think is particularly the case with Gymnocalycium sp. and related genera. I will read up on this a bit more and see if I can find some more good literature on the subject. Be really good to have a feed different seed techs written up that we can sticky. Any takers?

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PD
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 10:13 pm

Slim6y - Mmmmmmmmmmm the odour would be lovely haha.
Have a look at a few hydroponic supply sites, they should have co2 delivery systems available for use in shade houses.


Trig - i will get a few different lots of the same seed going and trial a feeding regime, got plenty of spare spachianus seed that i was planning on using on something like this. Will use miracle grow and one other fert for a comparison, got any suggestions anyone?, am after a reasonably easy to obtain/common fert.
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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 10:25 pm

I would think a high Nitroogen feed might be good. Though it is commonly suggested that high Potassium is better.

Depends what results you want to achieve Wink

A high N feed might result in bloating splitting?

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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 10:25 pm

Something common like Thrive might be worth a shot PD?

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PD
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 10:46 pm

Quote :
Depends what results you want to achieve

haha, fastest, healthiest growth possible of course trig.

Thrive might be ok, its REALLY high in N isnt it?
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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 10:50 pm

I think it might be. Tell you what I'm heading up to the shops tommorow. I will have a look around at the common plant food/fertilisers and get an idea of the best NPK ratio.

Will let you know what lloks good, then you can check it out.

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PD
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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 11:03 pm

I have seen a fertiliser at kmart especially for cacti and succulents i think its yates or something, im not sure how common it is or even if they will still have it. Would be good to compare something like that to regular old miracle grow you think?.

Yep just checked, yates "thrive" cactus and succulent liquid fert
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trigonus
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trigonus

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PostSubject: Re: loph from seed   loph from seed EmptyMon Apr 28, 2008 11:05 pm

yeah I know the stuff, I have only ever seen it once though. wouldn't mind trying it.

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