Table of contents:
Every novice sower inevitably has a bunch of questions, big and small, about all sowing stages. Over the years of existence of the forum and the site, we have formed a team of lovers of growing cacti from seeds who have accumulated sufficient experience in this "art" and answer these questions. These are Pola, Stivi, Severina, Anyuta, irina-bahus. I will try to systematize these answers a little in order to show that each sower chooses the most convenient mode for himself, and our seedlings grow under quite different conditions, but not beyond the generally accepted standards for growing cacti from seeds.
|Conditions and care||Anyuta||Pola||Stivi||Severin||irina-bahus|
|1. Sowing seeds|
|Sowing container||On this issue, there is a single opinion - the container should be shallow, from 2 to 5 cm.|
|Sowing soil||50-70% sand, the rest is soil for succulents||sphagnum and small expanded clay to the bottom, then a mixture of pebbles of fraction 2-4 mm + soil for cacti + zeolite / perlite in a ratio of 2: 2: 1||mineral substrate (sand, stones, zeolite, broken brick)||shop for cactus||mixture in equal proportions of sand and peat "Violet"|
|Conclusions: there is an opinion that the soil can be very diverse, the main thing is to understand its purpose. It should be light, permeable, with a predominance of particles of a fraction of 1-2 mm and, if possible, as clean (disinfected). This is due to the fact that in the homeland of cacti, seed germination occurs after the dry and hot season, when the temperature can be around 50 degrees for several months. Under these conditions, the soil is practically sterile, and the seeds and seedlings of cacti have no mechanism to resist infections.|
|Soaking before sowing||rarely (in case of suspicious seeds or to get rid of berry residues)||does not soak||soaks in potassium permanganate from 4 hours to a day, but not always||not||soaks in cherry-colored potassium permanganate from 6 hours to a day, but not always|
|Conclusions: soaking accelerates germination, and soaking in potassium permanganate additionally disinfects seeds. But this is completely optional: seeds that germinate for a long time will continue to germinate for a long time, and disinfection can be carried out by adding potassium permanganate or Fitosporin to irrigation water.|
|Day / night temperature||during the day 30 ° C / at night not lower than 20 ° C||not lower than 22 ° C with drops of 5-10 degrees day / night due to heating||25-35 ° C during the day, 16-19 ° C at night||room (what is)||during the day about 30 ° C / at night about 20 ° C|
|Conclusions: here it is also necessary to take into account the type of cacti, but in the most frequent case it is desirable to keep the temperature above 20 degrees and have a difference between day and night temperatures (as an imitation of natural conditions). In addition, the higher the temperature, the less bacteria appear.|
|Supplementary lighting mode||does not light up||illuminates for 12-14 hours in different modes (12-12, 14-10, 6-6-6-6, no difference was observed)||supplemented only in winter for 12 hours||additional lighting 14 hours (from getting up to laying down)||only illuminates in the dark for about 14 hours|
|Conclusions: it should be understood that in nature, seedlings grow under the shade of large cacti and surrounding vegetation, therefore, before germination and the first time after germination, light in large quantities is not required. Then it is best to look at the condition of the seedlings: if they are strong, of a normal green color, you can not add additional lighting. Remember that most seedlings stretch for the first time, they also in nature are drawn to the light, and accustom to the daytime sun very gradually.|
|Sowing moisture||before germination maximum humidity||the first three days the swamp, then slightly reduces the humidity due to holes in the lid||keeps the swamp for the first two days, then drier||before germination in the swamp||before germination and the first time after germination in a swamp, then gradually reduces the humidity, but not until completely dry|
|Conclusions: in general, the opinion is practically unanimous - at first the humidity is maximum, then it must be gradually (I emphasize - gradually!) To decrease, be sure to observe the condition of the seedlings.|
|Sowing aeration||out of curiosity||twice a day for 10-20 minutes, then increases the airing time||does not ventilate until germination||out of curiosity||to shoots out of curiosity, then daily opens the lid a little more|
|Conclusions: here, too, there is practically a unanimous opinion - you can ventilate before germination, or you may not ventilate, and after germination it is necessary to ventilate, gradually increasing the time. It is not necessary to count the time on the stopwatch.|
|2. Seed shoots|
|Day / night temperature||not lower than 20 ° C||22 ° C with a drop of 5-10 ° C||daytime 25-35 ° C, night 16-19 ° C||room (what is)||during the day about 30 ° C / at night about 20 ° C|
|Conclusions: as a rule, the temperature regime does not change after germination.|
|Supplementary lighting||in winter 8-12 hours||12-14 hours||12 hours in winter||full day under lamps in the dark, in summer without additional lighting||in the dark season at 2 pm|
|Conclusions: the opinion is unanimous - it is necessary to supplement the seedlings.|
|Soil moisture||downward, avoiding complete drying of the soil||descending, also without complete drying||the first two weeks from germination keeps maximum humidity, then, due to ventilation, reduces||moderate, do not make the swamp, but do not dry out||for the first time (about 2-3 weeks) it keeps maximum humidity, then gradually reduces|
|Conclusions: here experienced sowers are practically unanimous: a gradual decrease in humidity, otherwise the seedling will simply have no need to grow roots when it already has an abundance of water.|
|Where to put seed husks||it is better to either remove the seed husk carefully, or at least move it away from the cactus: there were cases of decay. Ideally, hats fall off on their own, but sometimes they last for a long time, and then you can take them off yourself, first spray them. But if the hat stubbornly does not peel off, then it is better to wait: there is damage to the growth point of the seedling from our curiosity, sometimes it is fatal.|
|Airing seedlings||2 times a day for 5-10 minutes||starts at 20 minutes a day and gradually increases the time||does not remove the cover for the first two weeks, then twice a day, gradually increasing the time||out of curiosity||the first 2-3 weeks out of curiosity, then an hour in the evening and then increasing|
|Conclusions: here, too, the principle is clear: gradual accustoming to a normal life.|
|First pick||by tightness (after 2-6 months)||either for tightness, or for medical reasons, or as intensive growth stops to deliberately accelerate the growth of seedlings||by mood and by "medical indicators"||according to mood and requirements of different types||by mood and by "medical indicators"|
|Conclusions:it is believed that frequent picks contribute to increased growth of the root system, and most likely this is true. But by no means all seedlings calmly survive the first pick, so you can not rush with increased growth (if, for example, few seedlings have sprung up). In addition, it has been repeatedly noted that seedlings grow better on a "collective farm". Therefore, one of the main reasons for the first pick is the overgrowth of the soil with blue-green algae, which is not at all aesthetically pleasing and slows down the access of air to the roots and root collar. When you get bored of peeling off the top green or already black layer with algae, it is better to cut it into fresh soil. Naturally, any mold, rot and other infection is an obligatory reason for picking. The second significant reason is that the seedlings begin to crowded in and interfere with each other, which meansthat nutrition for the roots may not be enough. As a rule, these two reasons do not exist until the seedlings are one month old, but the more time passes, the more often the same "mood" appears, which was indicated by all sowers without exception.|
|3. First pick|
|Soil composition for seedlings||slightly less than half of the sand, the rest is soil for succulents, with a large amount of large particles||removes sphagnum and perlite from the sowing soil||into mineral||shop for cactus||in cactus with the addition of coarse sand|
|Conclusions: this is again a gradual accustoming of seedlings to adult life. The general requirement for the soil is that it should be slightly coarser (for the growth of the root system) and slightly more nutritious.|
|Deepening when diving||sprinkles the neck of the cactus with sand or zeolite||does not deepen||deepens minimally||does not deepen (only the root is in the ground)||sprinkles the cactus neck with sand for stability|
|Conclusions: here the sowers are also practically unanimous - to deepen to a minimum.|
|Ground moisture during a dive||slightly damp||slightly damp||slightly wet||which one is||slightly wet|
|Conclusions: here you need to understand that during a dive, some of the roots are inevitably damaged (and there are not very many of them at the first dive). High humidity in conditions when the seedling cannot fully drink, inevitably leads to decay. Therefore, it is necessary to give the child time to build up the suction roots. Low humidity is usually defined as the state in which it is convenient to make holes for seedlings, the soil should not crumble.|
|Watering||first watering after 3-5 days||depending on the age of the seedlings and damage to the root system, very small in 4-6 hours after the pick, seedlings at the age of about six months in 2 days||after the soil has completely dried out (meaning the first watering after picking)||does not water immediately after picking||for three days he does not water at all, then for another three days he only sprays, and only then the first watering|
|Conclusions: the same reasons operate here that determined the moisture of the soil during the pick: give time to grow roots, heal the wounds, and only then drink normally. A little soil moisture is enough not to dry out.|
|Supplementary lighting and airing||does not ventilate (seedlings are without a lid), supplementary light only in winter 8-12 hours||after six months does not light up, but shades with paper with slots, there is no ventilation (already without a cover)||does not ventilate (already without a cover), supplementary lighting only in winter for 12 hours||ventilates out of curiosity, supplementary lighting only in the dark season||does not ventilate (seedlings without a cover) and only illuminates in winter for 8 hours|
|Conclusions: as a rule, after the first pick, airing is no longer there, because most crops already live in normal conditions. Supplementary lighting remains necessary in the dark, but not needed in summer. But I want to remind you: in nature, small seedlings are in the shade of large plants, so in summer you do not need to put small seedlings in direct sun, it is better to shade with white paper on the southern windows. From an overabundance of sun, the seedlings turn reddish and slow down growth, and from a burn, a tiny cactus can bend.|
|4. Collecting and storing your seeds|
|In general, seeds should be harvested when the fruit is free from the mother plant. The seeds can be separated from the mucus if the fruit is not dry and dried, or you can grind between two napkins and leave to dry. After that, shake them off in a bag and store at a constant temperature. It is not necessary to store in the refrigerator. If the temperature is constant, the seeds will retain their germination for a long time. Naturally, for each specific case, you need to read about the features of this species!|
You can read about where to get cactus seeds, when to sow, how to get seeds from your cacti and much more in the article Reproduction of cacti by seeds.
Growing seedlings without lighting and heating
Our cactusists have tested the method of growing cactus seedlings, the author of which is L.K. Elizarov, Moscow. This is how he describes his method:
The climate of Russia, especially in the north, is harsh. Summer is short, winter is long. Sowing without illumination and heating is possible only in late spring and early summer, but even in this case, the seedlings very often do not have time to reach such a size before winter that they are not watered in winter. And with watering, they easily rot. We have to vaccinate, and such species that do not need vaccination in adulthood. I have been sowing cacti for many years the way most people sow - under fluorescent lights. The results, of course, are not bad, but I was not satisfied. And mainly because the seasonality of crops remained: either in winter or in spring. And I need such a technique so that I can sow at any time of the year.
Many empty plastic water bottles appeared several years ago. Last year I tried sowing in these bottles. The technique of inoculation in pre-sterilized glass jars has been known for a long time. However, glass jars have narrow necks and are difficult to handle. Plastic bottles can be cut in any place across so that it is convenient to work with sowing and seedlings. And then the halves fit into one another very tightly, and high air humidity in the crop is ensured. In this case, water from the soil evaporates very weakly, and the small amount of it, which nevertheless evaporates, condenses on the walls and flows down again into the soil. In general, the culture is provided with sterility, moist air and distilled water. As a result, among other things, the seedlings never develop limescale, which is known to besometimes leads to the death of seedlings. By the way, several hundred seeds can be sown in a large two-liter bottle.
I took a chance and hung my bottles with wire hooks on the neck on the window. As they say in such cases, the results exceeded all expectations. It turned out that a sowing suspended from a window does not need illumination. Seedlings develop strong, with thorns. Even in winter they do not last long. Light-loving species, such as, for example, echinocactus of Georgia or Ingens, in winter, of course, stretch slightly, but when they reach a height of 2-3 cm, I transplant them into ordinary dishes in summer and they quickly acquire a good regular shape. And such rarities as Ariocarpus or, for example, Mammillaria goldia, are less light-requiring and can be constantly contained in plastic bottles. All ariocarpus develop a powerful Fmorkovka. A young seedling of neogomesia at the age of three and a half months even formed 2 buds, which I, of course, removed.
The fact is that in late autumn, before the snow falls in cloudy weather, which is usual for this time of year, the illumination on the windowsills even in the southern orientation drops to 5000 and even 1000 lux. After snow falls in winter, the illumination on the windows (I have windows for the east - 2 and south - 1 exposure) significantly increases - up to 25,000-30,000 lux in cloudy weather, and up to 75,000 in sunny weather. Under fluorescent lamps at a distance of 4 cm from the tube, the illumination reaches 28,000 lux. It would seem that this is very good illumination, because it is known from literature and practice that for many species of cacti, illumination of 30,000 lux is sufficient even for flowering and ripening of mature seeds. However, already 1 cm further - at a distance of 5 cm from the tube - the illumination drops to 22,000 lux. It is clear that if we have a cactus even a few centimeters in size,the illumination under the lamps of its middle and lower part of the stem will be completely insufficient. On the windows, the illumination is uniform, although one-sided. But the latter can be dealt with by installing reflectors. For the latter, I use 10 cm wide foil strips, which I attach to the rows of bottles from the side of the room at the level of the substrate surface. This increases the illumination in bottles by 30%. Of course, it would be easier to hang not separate tapes, but a whole screen-window. But in this case, on the one hand, we deprive ourselves of daylight, which is so strongly limited by the hanging rows of bottles. On the other hand, we will put our plants in unfavorable conditions for an extremely short day - in December-January, when the length of the day is reduced to 7 hours. And with the tapes of the reflectors of the plants, although they are closed from the direct rays of room lighting,nevertheless have a photoperiod of normal, about 12 hours, duration.
In the spring, when the sun begins to bake, the seedlings in bottles must be protected from burns. To do this, I use translucent paper - parchment, which I place in sunny weather between hanging bottles and a window glass.
A few words about the temperature regime. In winter, the coldest place on the window is the windowsill, where cold air flows from the glass surface. My measurements showed that the air temperature in the upper part of the window opening can be 10 ° C higher than on the windowsill. Therefore, I use the windowsill only for wintering adult plants. And I place crops only in hanging bottles. The high temperatures at the top of the window opening allow sowing even in the height of winter. For example, I sowed in December as well. The results are not worse than summer ones.
Without watering, seedlings in bottles winter wonderfully. I had no waste over the winter! What species did I sow in the second half of summer and winter?
Acanthocalycium griseum, Ariocarpus furfuraceus, retusus, trigonus, Astrophytum coahuilense, Aztekium hintonii, Cereus peruvianus, Eriosyce aurata, Ceratistes, Sandilon, Geohintonia mexicana, Melocactus azpinureus., Robustis This list is just a small part of my crops. All seedlings overwintered without problems, although many of them are quite Fkaprizny.
And the last question, although it is one of the first in its importance in my methodology, is how to ensure that the parts of the plastic bottle fit tightly into one another. It is not difficult to cut off exactly the lower part of the bottle. The upper part, so that it becomes slightly narrower than the lower part, I dip in hot water. You need to dip the bottom edge to a width of no more than 1 cm. I do this in a frying pan. This will heat the water faster. I'm waiting for bubbles to actively rise from the bottom. It is at this moment that I dip the bottle in water for half a second. If you hold the plastic a little longer, the bottom edge will shrink too much and become unusable. We'll have to cut it off and try again. Also, you cannot dip in boiling water - the result will be the same.
When the width of the upper half is adjusted correctly, it fits tightly into the lower part and, being suspended by a hook on the neck to the wire, reliably holds the relatively heavy lower part with the substrate and seedlings. I had only one, although also a very annoying case, when the bottom with the sowing of Astrophytum coahuilense - there were at least fifty seedlings - jumped out of the upper part. Due to the fact that the seedlings were very young, some of them died.
Of course, I sterilize the seed mixture before sowing. I almost never use sand - I use fine brick chips in a ratio of 1/2 to 1/3 of the volume.
Summing up the above, I can conclude that the above technique allows sowing at any time of the year, providing crops and seedlings with the necessary heat, light, moist air and distilled water. I currently have over 300 bottles with crops and young plants on my windows.
Material provided by the Society for the Study of Cacti and Other Dry-loving Plants (Moscow).
All of the members of the forum-cactusists who tried growing cacti from seeds with this method were satisfied. It remains to note that the soil is used as for conventional sowing. By the way, another difference from conventional sowing is that you don't need to take off your hats and remove the seed husks. The experience of Natasha (Stivi) and Irina (irina-bahus) showed that no problems arise from the husk. While this is a fairly new method for us, we continue to master it, so if you really want to experiment, then be prepared for certain losses (as well as with any method of seed germination). And join our discussion on the forum.
Summing up the whole topic, I want to say: as there is no single pill for all diseases, there is no single exact recipe for growing all cacti.
From the very beginning, you need to carefully monitor the sowing, because all cacti are different, like people. Someone will dry out from underwatering, someone will forgive you if you forget to water, and someone will quickly rot from excess water. Someone will turn red on the windowsill, and they will have to be set aside in a less sunny place, and someone will stretch out, that is closer to the glass. Someone is hotter, but someone does not like the high temperature. There are cacti who do not care who forgive us our mistakes, and there are whims with which even one mistake can become fatal. Be philosophical about the fact that some of the seedlings will die for various reasons, but be sure to observe and analyze these reasons, and then the rest will grow and please.