Saturday, December 12, 2009

Well, after being absolutely terrified that I was a raging incompetent in my first attempt to raise cactus plants from seed, I now know that I have been successful! I have four confirmed cactus sprouts (1 pitajaya, 1 dragon fruit, and 2 san pedro), and three seeds that are in the process of sprouting. It's been less than a week since I planted my seeds! I used the recommended soil components, and provided both bottom heat with a heating mat as well as an overhead grow light, and plenty of humidity. I have heard that most people trying to raise cactus from seed have a problem with "dampening off" (i.e. mold), and I did as well. You have to surface sow the seedlings, as well as keep them very moist. This is unfortunately the perfect environment for mold to grow. What I did to save my seedlings was to brew a very strong batch of chamomile tea (2 cups boiling water over 1/4 cup dried chamomile flowers - cover, and allow to cool, then strain off the flowers), and sprayed my seed tray. This killed off most of the mold. However, there were still patches of it here and there. So, as none of my seedlings had yet begun to germinate, I allowed those portions of the tray to dry out for a bit (about half a day). Then, I re-dampened the soil, and voila! No more mold problems. My germination took off shortly afterward. I have heard from HH that sometimes allowing your soil to dry out and then rewetting it can help with the germination of cactus seeds.

I will post pictures as soon as my "babies" get a little larger (the macro function on my camera doesn't like to work very well).

I still want to get a few cuttings of San Pedro from Horizon Herbs...maybe after the holidays when things calm down around here?

Speaking of cactus plants, my Christmas Cacti are in full bloom right now (I have five of them scattered around the house)! I have never before possessed a Christmas Cactus plant, and I think that they are GORGEOUS! The one in the library is especially beautiful. I enjoy having them around, because in the winter time (when there are no outdoor blooms to cut and arrange in vases in the house) I can set the plants in pretty pots in guest rooms for a little color/decoration!

Aren't the flowers just beautiful?


Laura Gardens in Desert said...

I love christmas cactus too. I just need someone to gift me a little piece and I would be happy as a lark. Another plant for the wish list!

Apothecary Inn said...

Ironically, I actually obtained my Christmas Cactus plants as a free gift from a very nice gentleman. We were bartering green firewood for two Selenicereus grandiflorus plants, and he threw in those 5 Christmas cactus plants for free!