bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

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bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by bananaman » Wed Jun 26, 2019 12:33 am

I decided that I wanted to try my hand at growing some of the Echinocereus native to the Edward’s Plateau because they’ve got awesome flowers, nice looking stems, and can be grown outside all year here without worry (because I’m on the eastern edge of the plateau).

They grow relatively fast from seed and can bloom after only a few years, so I picked up some seed from Mesa Garden with location data: E. coccineus var. paucispinus from Kimble Co., E. coccineus var. roemeri from Llano Co., E. dasycanthus from Crockett Co., E. enneacanthus var. brevispinus from Kimble Co., E. reichenbachii from Kimble Co., and E. reichenbachii "castaneus" from Llano Co. You can probably tell that I focused on ones from relatively nearby: that’s on purpose because I’ve spent a lot of time in Kimble and Llano counties and their weather is quite similar to here. The only other close locality they had was Burnet Co. (which they misspelled Burnett...), but they only had one species from there IIRC. The Llano ones might not take our alkaline soil as well as the others because they probably are from granite, not limestone. But that’s years away to worry about.

I made a nice, well drained mix of peat, perlite, succulent soil from a local producer, and lots of lava sand. I filled up little pots and topped each with about 1/2 cm of lava sand to help suppress any weeds or mold or algae.

I put 12 seeds of each to start in different pots: I’m seeing if these conditions are good for them and don’t want to waste all my seeds. They are now bagged up under lights and on a heat mat, both of which are on an astronomical timer (so ~14 hours on right now).
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I’m going to keep track of their progress in here.

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by bananaman » Sun Jun 30, 2019 4:27 pm

I’ve already got germination on both E. reichenbachii, E. enneacanthus, and also E. dasyacanthus. I’m stunned — I had the first sprouts only 3 days after sowing!
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I may start the other portion of the seeds I’ve got soon, depending on how these little guys progress.

I don’t know what the daytime temperatures are on the heat mat, but the nighttime temperatures are around 70°F. I’m guessing it’s around 85°F during the day, though.

The astronomical timer the lights and heat mat are on doesn’t have an exact latitude selection, so the days are somewhat longer than what they’d be experiencing in their habitat and what we’re experiencing outside here. It is pretty close, though. The temperatures are a bit cooler during the day than what they get in nature: normal highs are mid 90s this time of year in their habitat (and here). Normal lows are around 70°, though.

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by Adelae » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:39 pm

I had never even thought about what cactus seedlings might look like until now, thanks for sharing!

Are those cotyledons, or do they just start being a cactus right off the bat?

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by bananaman » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:54 pm

Adelae wrote:I had never even thought about what cactus seedlings might look like until now, thanks for sharing!

Are those cotyledons, or do they just start being a cactus right off the bat?

Those are the cotyledons. They haven’t opened up yet, but once they do, the cactus grows straight up out of the middle of it.

EDIT: A photo from the side makes this clearer. This is E. enneacanthus. See the cleft between the two cotyledons?
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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by bananaman » Tue Jul 09, 2019 1:12 am

I took a trip for a week and came back to many more seedlings.
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E. reichenbachii from Llano Co. has 8/12 sprouted and from Kimble Co. has 6/12 sprouted. E. dasyacanthus has 5/12 sprouted and E. enneacanthus has 6/12 sprouted. The only E. coccineus sprout is from Llano Co.

Some are starting to show their first spines:
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Oddly enough, the pot with E. reichenbachii from Llano Co. seemed to have dried out significantly while I was gone and the seedlings are a bit skinny. That seems really weird because they’re in a sealed ziplock bag, but whatever. I watered them all so that they stay nice and moist.

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by Dionae » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:01 pm

Awesome thread bananaman! Inspired me to buy some echinocereus coccineus seeds. Like you, germination in 3 days.

Are you growing these outdoors all year? I want to grow mine outside with my opuntia but not sure if they can take the cold.

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by Dionae » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:08 pm

The escobaria species look awesome too. Thinking about grabbing some of those.

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by bananaman » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:28 pm

Congrats on the germination! I am planning on growing these outside all year once they’re older, but these are all native to within a few hundred miles of my house and we don’t get all that cold in the winter (usually we’re over 20°F).

E. coccineus is quite hardy, depending on the population. It ranges from Texas all the way up into Colorado and grows at high altitude. Some clones can supposedly take -10°F, but only if very dry.

Here’s some photos of that species I took on a recent trip to New Mexico. These are growing at 6500-8000 feet near El Malpais National Monument — which gets down below 0°F every year.

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Meanwhile, my seedlings are growing well. I didn’t get much germination on the E. coccineus, but a co-worker said they might germinate better with some wet/dry cycles. Fortunately, I planted less than 1/2 the seeds, so I’ve got plenty extras to try sprouting. I did get 100% germination on one of the E. reichenbachii varieties.

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Escobaria sp. are pretty cool, too! I’m a big fan of all the cold hardy US cacti. I even like Cylindropuntia, even though they’re so nasty.

Here’s an unknown small cactus I though was awesome, also from El Malpais (I don’t think it’s Echinocereus, but IDK) and a Cylindropuntia flower from the same place.

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Last, here’s a young Opuntia engelmannii var. lindheimeri I grew from a wild-found seedling. This is a big species with tasty fruit, but I didn’t get any off of this clone this year. Last year, I made the best jelly I’ve ever had from plants of this species growing wild in my neighborhood.
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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by Dionae » Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:39 pm

That gives me confidence on growing the e. coccineus outdoors. I don't think it's gotten near 0f for a few years now. Beautiful pics. I love how short they are and how dangerous they look.

I think my next species I'm going to buy is Echinocereus triglochidiatus .

I love the cylidropuntia too! They look like trees with all the branching they do.

I think I have enough fruit on my opuntia this year to whip up some jelly. Also have some hibiscus sabdariffa, not a cactus, I grew from seed I'm hoping I can make jelly from.

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by bananaman » Sat Aug 10, 2019 10:11 pm

Thanks! I thought they were great photography subjects. They’re very attractive plants IMO.

I’m not 100% confident they were all E. coccineus — there might be some E. triglochidatus in the mix. Here’s a massive clump of that species growing at Walnut Canyon National Monument near Flagstaff.
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The biggest issue with Cylindropuntia is the fact that they’ve got glochids and that segments detach and stick to you at the lightest touch. They’re called "jumping cholla" for a very good reason...

I like a lot of succulents and have quite a few. Among the hardier ones I’ve got are a couple agaves: A. parryi var. truncata and A. bracteosa. I really like agaves. I’ve also got two Aloe maculosa — one variegated and one not. I’ve got Nolina texana and I just got cuttings of Euphorbia resinifera, which is hardy here, too.

I’m think I’m gonna ask all my neighbors for their prickly pear fruit again this year. That jelly is fantastic, despite being a real pain to make.

I’m sure you know this already, but it’s worth repeating. For any succulent, cold hardiness is maximized when it’s dry. It’s really important to keep even cold hardy cacti and succulents dry during the winter. Using Agave americana as an example, I’ve seen dry ones take 17°F undamaged. I’ve also seen ones with poor drainage be killed by 27°F. It’s that way with most succulents.

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by Dionae » Mon Aug 12, 2019 3:02 am

Outstanding list of seeds and good prices.

http://www.cactusstore.com/category_100/CACTI-SEED-INDEX.htm

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by Dionae » Fri Aug 16, 2019 12:23 am

Here's a pic of my e. coccineus from this morning.
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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by Dionae » Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:11 am

Any updates on your cacti? I've sort of went crazy with it. I've germinated a bunch of echinocereus, escobaria, mammillaria, gymnocalycium, Ferocactus, opuntia, coryphantha and thelocactus.
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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by bananaman » Sat Sep 14, 2019 5:32 pm

They’ve grown quite well, but a few have flopped over. I’m thinking that may be because I surface-sowed the seeds.
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I’ve also got some Agave seedlings, but that’ll be for another thread (about my agaves).

I might get some more hardy-ish cacti, depending on how these guys grow. Maybe some Echinopsis or some of the Astrophytum. There’s so many neat ones out there, it’s hard to choose!

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Re: bananaman’s Cactus Seed Log

by Dionae » Sat Oct 19, 2019 2:12 am

bananaman wrote:They’ve grown quite well, but a few have flopped over. I’m thinking that may be because I surface-sowed the seeds.
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I’ve also got some Agave seedlings, but that’ll be for another thread (about my agaves).

I might get some more hardy-ish cacti, depending on how these guys grow. Maybe some Echinopsis or some of the Astrophytum. There’s so many neat ones out there, it’s hard to choose!

I've just decided to try as many as I can. Just ordered 2 more echinocereus species and 2 echinopsis species. I have around 30 different cactus species, maybe more. Me and my obsessive personality.

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