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Thread: Tephrocatus geometricus seedlings

  1. #1

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    Tephrocactus geometricus seedlings

    These are a few of my overwintered Tephrocactus alexanderi var. geometricus DJF319 seedlings, still in a state of dormancy. They have shrunk down considerably from their summer selves.



    Once they are ready to wake up in a few months, I'll water them and they will plump up again.



    Tephros are some of my favorite cacti. When mature they will look like miniature soccer balls stacked on top of one another.



    Some of these cacti can be nearly spineless. Below are a couple of links to a few pics of some mature specimens.

    http://www.aztekia.com/Paginas/3005.htm

    http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/showimage/255280/

    http://www.cactus-art.biz/schede/TEP...tricus_450.htm

    dvg
    Last edited by dvg; 02-10-2011 at 06:00 PM.

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    Nice! I've never seen the spherical species.

    Around here you can get the more common oblong pineapple-ish sectioned species with long papery spines.

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    Yeah, the Paper Spine Cactus (T. articulatus var. papyracanthus) is common here as well. I picked this one up at a grocery store a few years back.



    When I bought it, it was only one rooted segment.



    But just when they are starting to look impressive, with some nice stacking going on, if you accidentally bump 'em...




    ...the heads are easily detached and the structure you had going takes a bit of a setback.



    This one has rooted and is ready to start it's own family tree.

    But there are some interesting species variation in these Paper Spine Cacti, with some of them having super curly spines.

    dvg
    Last edited by dvg; 02-05-2011 at 11:59 AM.

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    It's that time of year to start some more Tephrocactus from seed.

    I've had success germinating these types of seed in the past with the paper towel method.

    But my success rates are much better if the seeds used are fresh.

    I'll soak my Tephro seeds overnight in RO or distilled water.

    The next day I'll put the seeds into a damp paper towel.

    The damp paper towel with seeds inside is then placed inside a clear ziplock bag. Then I'll label and date the baggie, if I'm germinating more than one type of seed, just to keep track of them and what they are.

    I like to germinate Tephrocactus seeds inside a seed propagator with a seedling heating mat.

    I also use a ceramic reptile heating bulb suspended just above my domed enclosure where the seed bags are kept during the day.

    Between the ceramic bulb and the heating mat, the temperatures inside the dome stays a warm 95F.

    The seeds are kept in those warm temps during the day.

    At night I move them to a cooler place in the house, aiming to find a place around 60F.

    After a week I start to check for germinating seeds.

    When I find them, I quickly move them over into a pot with some cacti potting mix.

    If some of the seeds haven't germinated after about three weeks, I let those seeds dry out for about a month, and then I'll start the process over again.



    So back to the paper towel method...

    Here are some of the seeds that I had soaking overnight.

    T. alexanderi geometricus DJF319


    T. alexanderi geometricus 1250.277 from Mesa Garden


    T. alexanderi geometricus DJF320 Also from Mesa Garden. I'm excited about these ones. Apparently the cladodes look like pink soccer balls.


    T. alexanderi 1250.18 Fat round stems with super black spines according to the MG description on their site.


    And this is what the bags look like before they go into my propagation chamber.


    I'll leave them in there for about a week and then I'll start checking in on them once every couple of days or so.

    dvg

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    I checked in on the seeds today and found that two of the T. alex geom seeds from the 1250.277 batch had little roots protruding from them.

    It has only been three days now since they were put in the propagation chamber.

    I looked through all of the seed bags and couldn't find any other seeds that had germinated yet, but a few of them looked like they would be coming along very shortly.

    I put a thermometer in with the seed bags and it reads right around 40C/105F during the day and I have found a place for them where I move them to at night that gets right down to 60F.

    So that is right in the sweet spot where I wanted them to be temperature-wise.

    dvg

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    Checked in on the Tephro seeds again today and found that a few more seeds had sprouted roots.

    Only one T. alex geom DJF319 was showing a root thus far.


    But in the T. alex geom 1250.277 seed batch, I counted at least sixteen seeds that had roots showing. Here are a few of those.


    It's been five days now since the seeds were put into the propagation chamber, so hopefully a few more seeds will soon be following the lead of those seeds that have already begun their life's journey.

    dvg

  7. #7

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    I checked in on the Tephro seeds again today, and the 1250.277 batch is going great guns...over 30 seeds of those have sprouted already.

    But with the other types, I only have one seed from each variety, with the exception of the T. alex. geom. DJF320 batch. None of those have sprouted yet, but I'm still hopeful, as they have only been in the propagation chamber for 8 days now.

    And in order to keep things fresh, I transferred all of the unsprouted seeds over into fresh paper towels, just in case anything untoward was thinking of taking over and also to remove any buildup of seed inhibiting chemicals that may have leached out into the absorbant paper towels that the seeds are enclosed in.

    dvg

  8. #8

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    An update on the overwintered seedlings after they were given a drink of water. Some have plumped up nicely.










    And as for the seeds that were just germinated, one seed batch did very well with over forty seeds sprouting.

    But the other three batches didn't do nearly as well with only a few seeds germinating in two of the batches, and no sprouted seeds showing up at all in one of the seed batches.

    These seeds are now drying out again for a another attempt at getting a few more of these seeds to germinate.

    I found it amazing that the Tephocactus seedlings were able to even escape their hard shell casings.

    The shells only have a small opening and the seedling has to find it's way out through just that small crack in the seed coat.

    Here are three empty seed coats. You can see the opening in the top seed coat as well as another opening in the very bottom left on the seed coat situated in the left of the picture.


    And a couple of seedlings that have just about fully discarded their protective seed coats.




    dvg

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