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Melocactus seeds

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Melocactus seeds

Postby Franj » Mon Mar 13, 2006 11:55 pm

Hi all :D

Does anyone have any experience growing Melocacti from seed? I picked up a nice M. matazanus weekend before last and it had some fruit. Are the seeds ready once the fruit pops up through the cephalium? I tugged on one and it came out with no resistance as if it wasn't even attached to the plant anymore. So I went ahead and picked them all. Plus I decided to clean up the cephalium and plucked out all the old dryed flowers with a tweezers. Low and behold they were attached to dryed fruits with plenty of seeds visable!

Do they need to go through freeze and thaw cycles, should they be scarified or any of the other elaborate preparation some seeds need? I've heard that bottom heat helps. I'm thinking of buying one of those heat mats from a greenhouse supply. Are they a worthy investment?

One of the reasons I'm asking all this is because a friend sent me some M. matazanus seeds and they haven't germinated so far. It's been like 3 weeks. I would like to do better with my batch.

Here's my M. matazanus

http://www.tucson-gardener.com/graphics ... azanus.jpg

Franj
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Postby Buck Hemenway » Tue Mar 14, 2006 3:39 am

Franj,

I have 5 species sewn from 10 days ago. All are germinating well. The matazanus are a little slower than the rest, but coming along. No scarification or pre-treatment.

Heat is essential. Min 80 deg f soil temp. In addition, following advice of those who know, I keep them in a very humid environment. A saran wrap cover over a well drained propagation container. The cover is removable so I can lightly water once per day.

As soon as I think most that will germinate have, I will remove the cover during the day and replace it at night until they start looking like cacti, then remove it altogether until summer when I will remove them from the heat.

My germination medium is mixed perlite and vermiculite, no soil. I have no fungus issues at all unless I don't clean the seeds properly, such as not removing all of the seed pods.

I have friends who seal up the germination container in zip lock bags and leave them zipped util they are well along. Again, heat and humidity are essential.
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Postby Franj » Tue Mar 14, 2006 4:27 pm

Thanks Buck :D

My propagation container is a similar design. I keep it in the bathroom so there's plenty of humidity. But since I can't keep it 80 degrees in there I think what I'm lacking is the heat. What do you use? A heat mat?

Franj
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Postby Buck Hemenway » Tue Mar 14, 2006 7:58 pm

Franj,

When I mentioned humidity, I meant really humid, such as in a sealed or partially sealed container. The bathroom isn't humid enough. If its sealed up, then no problem no matter where it is.

You'll need to get a heating pad or wait till mid summer for good success.

I bought a growers system from a nursery supply house, pretty expensive. I understand that you can get a reptile warming pad at pet stores that will keep your propagation tray at 80deg.
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Postby Franj » Tue Mar 14, 2006 9:08 pm

Hi again Buck :D

Ok, I think I got the humidity covered. What I'm using is a clear plastic container with lid such as the ones that pastries come in. It seals pretty tight and I get condensation on the lid so I know it's humid. Ill check our local Petsmart for a heating pad.

Thanks again,
Franj
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