Germinating Mammillaria theresae seed
I'm going to again try to germinate some Mammillaria theresae seed.
So far, I haven't been able to get these seeds to germinate for me, but I want to finally get over the hump with these seeds that known for being one of the trickier species to germinate.
I've done some reading up on the subject and have found that these seeds have Phenolic Compounds in their seed coats that inhibit germination.
It is believed that these inhibiting agents are water soluble, and that these chemical compounds are washed away after subsequent and sustained precipitation in their natural habitat.
I've heard that older seed, up to seven or eight years old, germinates far better than fresh seed does.
Some growers pot up the seed and continue to refresh the planting media every six to eight weeks, after a drying period, until the seeds finally germinate.
I've read that these seeds respond better to a slightly acid pH, and that might be because they grow in moss covered rocky regions in Mexico.
A night time temperature drop is likely to give better germination results is another thing I came across in my reading.
One grower even recommended that I try GA3 to try to stimulate these seeds out of their dormancy and speed up their germination time.
Another grower suggested succinic acid be used to break the seeds dormancy.
So I was wondering if any of you growers that have had success with M. theresae germination would be willing to share the techniques that you employed to achieve your favorable results.
Mammillaria theresae Link 1
Mammillaria theresae Link 2
---------- Post added at 07:44 PM ---------- Previous post was at 07:43 PM ----------
Okay, so I ended up soaking 70 M. theresae seeds, all of them from Mesa Garden.
20 seeds arrived to me this year, 30 seeds were from 3 years ago and the other 20 seeds were from 4 years ago.
And I decided to treat these seeds differently than I've treated this species seed in the past.
Usually, I'll sow seeds in small pots and place the pots into sealed ziplock bags and keep those under lights in our basement.
But this time, because I wanted to keep track of the seeds better, I decided to sow these in a paper towel, enclosed in a zip lock bag.
And to keep their growing conditions slightly acidic, taking into account that these cacti grow in among and on moss covered rocks, I placed rehydrated dead Chilean sphagnum moss inside the ziplock bags, (all three of them) and under the papertowel, using the paper towel as a barrier between the moss and the seeds.
These bags are sitting on a heating pad during the day and moved to a cooler place at night.
If these seeds germinate in these conditions, so much the better, but if some do and some don't, then I'll dry out the reluctant seeds after two or three weeks and start the process all over again at a later date.
Hopefully after a few cycles of this treatment, more and more seeds will be coaxed out of their chemical induced dormancies.
I wasn't able to locate any succinic acid, but have phoned around looking for it and might get some yet.
And when I can get my hands on some, I'd like to give that a shot as well.
Very nice! M. theresae are beautiful plants. Looks like you're doing well with the germination. The phenolic compounds and ABA are usually soluble in water, and as you said, some types of gibberellin may help as well.
Happy to report that another M. theresae hatchling was found among the newest batch of seeds today.
This seed, still retains an imprint left from it's protective seed coat.
Three more seeds have germinated today, bringing the total up to 9 seeds out of 70, so just above 10%.
And two seeds have germinated, the first two to do so from the 2008 seed batch. Here is a pic of those two together, although one has only managed to open it's seed coat a crack, seemingly a bit reluctant to venture out just yet.
I'm wondering if the acidity from the sphagnum moss is helping to counteract the inhibiting chemicals in the seed coats, or if the damp papper towels are the real tools of value here.
So far though, 4 seeds from the newest seeds have germinated, 2 seeds from the 2008 seed batch and 3 seeds from the 4 year old seeds have germinated.
Here is a M. theresae seedling, lounging under the lights, kicked back in relaxation on a pillow of perlite.
Last edited by dvg; 02-21-2011 at 10:05 PM.
Wow! This just keeps getting better and better.
Six more hatchlings to report today: three from the new seed batch and 3 more from the 2008 seed batch.
So far now 19 out of 70 seeds have germinated, with the breakdown as follows:
New seed batch (received Jan, 2011) 7 out of 20 germinated
2008 seed batch 8 out of 30 germinated
Four year old seed batch 4 out of 20 germinated.
Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.
To be honest, when I started this experiment, I was hoping to get some seeds germinated, but I wasn't sure how many would come up, but I thought that if 2 or 3 seeds sprouted, that would be good enough for me.
I had no idea that these seeds would germinate as well as they have.
There were five more seeds sprouted yesterday.
And a closer look at four of those seeds.
Today, two more sprouted, bringing the total up to 26 out of seventy seeds sprouted.
New seed batch... 9 out of 20 seeds germinated
2008 seed batch...12 out of 30 seeds sprouted
4 year old seed batch...5 out of 20 seeds popped
Maybe something of interest, but of the remaining seeds, a majority of them are smaller than the seeds that have already germinated.
This might indicate that the smaller sized seeds are either less viable than the larger seeds, or maybe even completely sterile.
I'll keep this propagation attempt going a few more days longer or until the seeds stop hatching.