Christer Johansson's Blog

Why grow cactus seedlings in a plastic bag?

Category: Why? | Posted: Sun Sep 06, 2009 3:43 am

First time I ever tried to grow cacti from seeds was a really disaster. I ordered a kit with 12 different seeds and a germinator. I put soil in the small plastic square pots, the seeds and water. Then I waited. After a while the seeds start to germinate and I was so happy. Then after a while I noticed that some of the small seedlings just fell over and they had no roots? I spayed the pots with natural bug poison, and it crawled up a lot of larvae. It was Sciara. They destroyed nearly all of the seedlings.

The second time I where more careful and sterilize all the soil in the microwave to prevent gnat eggs. Then I put a layer of sand on top. This time it worked out fine. The only trouble this time was that I have picked out species that need different environments at different stages of their lives. Some needed fresh air and not so high humidity two days after germination. I had a real trouble to give them what they wanted and failed with a lot of them.

From now on I always grow my cactus seedlings in plastic bags. Well, it works with any closed environment; the plastic bags are just simple and cheap! Somehow the environment regulates it self in there, and you can grow as many different species as you like in different bags. I am growing messembs (Aizoaceae) in bags as well. Some species of cacti have been in a bag for two years soon (Blossfeldia). No problems with gnats or mold, and no more watering! (Well, maybe some...)

It's just perfect for the slow growing species.

Last edited: Sun Sep 06, 2009 6:40 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 532 times

Why graft cactus seedlings?

Category: Why? | Posted: Fri Sep 04, 2009 5:20 am

Almost everybody has seen a grafted cactus somewhere in the store. The most famous one is the Gymnocalycium mihanovichii cv. 'Hibotan' or Ruby Ball, the one that looks like a red lollipop. That special hybrid has no chlorophyll so it has to be grafted or it will die. It uses the stock to process sunlight and the roots to get water and nutrition.

In other cases, why graft cactus seedlings?

Here are 5 different reasons:

1. The climate you live in can not give that specific genus or species the heat, sun or humidity that it need for the root to thrive.
2. You want some really slow growing species to grow and flower very fast.
3. Some species produce many pops when they are grafted and that is one way to make real clones of that plant.
4. There are species that are really difficult in the beginning after they have germinated. To prevent that all dies (as usually) you can graft.
5. You want to jump ahead five years and de-graft the plants when they are big enough.

My reason is the last one. I want to jump ahead with some of my seedlings and save five years of growing time. When it's big enough I de-graft it (cut it of the stock and re-root it).

For a nursery it is essential to grow big plants in short time and then sell them.

For me it's just time-saving.

Last edited: Sat Sep 05, 2009 6:17 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 580 times

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