Seedbatch (April 2009)

1st April

Finally got round to sowing my cacti seeds. I was planning on doing it in March sometime so they had an early start, but I didn’t get round to building a propagator, so a plastic box on the window sill will have to do! Hopefully with the on/off nice weather we’ve been having, this’ll give them enough light and heat.

Gymnocalycium calochlorum (collected from own plant)

Frailea castanea

Echinopsis HYBRID x Paramount
Echinopsis obrepanda RH 422 (NW Sivicani, 3250m, Coch, Bol)
Gymnocalycium anisitsii (San José, Bol)
Gymnocalycium anisitsii (San Robre, Bol)
Gymnocalycium baldianum JO 132 (Cuesta Portezuelo, Arg)
Gymnocalycium baldianum P 127 (Sra Ancasti, Arg)
Gymnocalycium damsii subsp. evae STO 983
Gymnocalycium erolesii (Vera, Santa Fe, Arg)
Gymnocalycium mesopotamicum P 241 (Corrientes, 200m, Arg)
Gymnocalycium mihanovichii v. filadelfiense

(sown 01/04/2009)

Top row from left to right: Frailea castanea, Gymnocalycium erolesii, Gymnocalycium mihanovichii v. filadelfiense, Gymnocalycium damsii subsp. evae, Gymnocalycium anisitsii

Bottom row from left to right: Gymnocalycium calochlorum, Gymnocalycium mesopotamicum, Gymnocalycium baldianum, Echinopsis obrepanda, Echinopsis HYBRID x Paramount

5th April

The calochlorum seeds germinated rapidly; in retrospect, I really should have given them more space.

8th April

The G. mesopotamicum, erolesii, and baldianum seem to be coming along, also, a couple of the Echinopsis hybrids.

19th April

The moment i’ve been waiting for, a few of the G. damsii have germinated, and the anisitsii look like they’re making a start too.

24th April

The majority of the G. damsii have sprouted now, and the anisitsii are coming along too. However, no sign of  G. mihanovichii v. filadelfiense yet, nor the Echinopsis obrepanda.

I’ve also concluded that the Frailea seed (bought off ebay) was too old, as nothing germinated and the seeds appeared to have dissolved and turned a bit mushy. I’ll include them again in the possible seed batch next year, and get them from SuccSeed as I did the others.

On the plus side though, it may be wishful thinking, but one of the G. erolesii appears to be variegated!

Gymnocalycium erolesii appears to be variegated

26th April

I managed to carefully move some of the G. calochlorum into the spot where the Frailea was meant to be.

Also, it may just be me overworrying, but I doused the pots with about 250ml of Cheshunt Compound for fears of damping off. I did this previously when I first watered the seeds in, but I thought i’d just make sure, seeing as a couple of the G. anisitsii appeared a little odd. The pots were also left to drain a little, and stood temporarily in fresh air.

Left: An Echinopsis hybrid that appears translucent

Right: Gymnocalycium baldianum seedlings, one of them is a lot more pale than the others

28th May

I think my overworrying about the anisitsii seedlings caused most to stop growing with the amount of Cheshunt Compound I was giving them.  Although such chemicals prevent the spread of fungal growth, it also apparently effects the roots of young seedlings, causing them to some degree – burn off. Piss. However, there are still a few of these growing but they’re rather small.

Anyway, the other seedlings seem to be doing well. They’re getting fatter, producing spines, and growing tubercles!

29th June

An update in photos of how they’re all doing.
I lifted the lid on the box further, propped open now by a paintbrush, plus, added more bubble wrap for increased shading. With the majority of seedlings being red, I was worried that they were all receiving too much light.

Above: Gymnocalycium baldianum

Above: Echinopsis obrepanda


Above: Gymnocalycium erolesii

(and supposed variegated seedling in the centre, previously photographed here)


Above: Gymnocalycium mesopotamicum

Above: Gymnocalycium calochlorum

Above: Gymnocalycium damsii ssp. evae

(These haven’t grown as fast as the others, but seem to be strong in numbers.)

I think, unfortunately, that along with the Frailea, the Gymnocalycium mihanovichii v. filadelfiense, G. anisitsii, and Echinopsis HYBRID x Paramount all failed to grow this time round. Their seed pots are still there and tended to in the same way as the others, just in case something shows up, but i’m doubtful. A couple of the species germinated, and before growing to a decent enough size, perhaps couldn’t manage in the conditions I was giving them.

I think I may use a different sowing medium next time round, one with slightly less builders sand and more fine leafmould loam. I may also attempt hardening them off earlier to reduce damping off (or at least my worries about it) and the growth of algae on the surface.

A shallow pan may be more beneficial for seedling growth rather than the tall plastic pots i’m using too.

2nd August

A sudden instinctive decision let to the impulse re-potting of my seedlings. I gathered that by now the majority were a suitable size to be transplanted; all of them now receive un-filtered light, plus better, more nutritious soil was calling.

I’m surprised at the size some of them have grown to, considering it’s only been 4 months worth. The builders sand seems to have been a good medium for growing healthy roots, providing other water-retaining material is mixed in too. Hopefully the change from inorganic substrate to nutritious leafmould will cause further acceleration in growth.

Gymnocalycium seedlings

Seedlings

Gymnocalycium erolesii seedlingsGymnocalycium erolesii

20th September

Almost 2 months on from my last update and the seedlings are doing well in their new medium. They appear to be growing well and steady, fattening out and producing slightly bigger spines.

Gymnocalycium baldianumGymnocalycium erolesii

The baldianum and erolesii seem to be the most tolerant of the seedlings, and on average, the best growers. It’s nice to see the difference between the two types of baldianum seed that was sown together, and the deep green epidermis the erolesii have retained.

Gymnocalycium mesopotamicumGymnocalycium damsii ssp. evae

The mesopotamicum and damsii ssp. evae, on the other hand, are not quite so large in numbers and are more sensitive to light, temperature, and watering amounts. Perhaps they’d do better in an even more moisture retaining soil.

Gymnocalycium calochlorumEchinopsis obrepanda

The Gymnocalycium calochlorum crop is a sturdy one, and seems to owe this to the freshness of the seed (collected last year from my own plant) and the large amount of seed that pod produced. This quality appears to be very benificial when it comes down to reproducing. The only Echinopsis obrepanda that survived past germination is also doing well, reaching a size larger than any of the other seedlings.


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