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Author Topic: Germinating Alcantarea Seed  (Read 3338 times)
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sunny
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« on: February 26, 2012, 04:46:40 »

In the hope of maximising my germination and subsequent establishment rates, I am seeking advice from the folk here experienced in raising Alcantarea seed.

Alcantarea seed is long and thin like a tiny bean with short, fine, hairlike-structures encircling the pointed end, while the other end has a tail of longer hairs.

I have read that cutting the tail from the seed assists germination, which I have done with the majority of the seed sown.

I have noticed that despite my gently tamping the surface of the sterilised cocopeat I am using as my medium, in order to provide a more even surface upon which to sow seed, many seeds appear to have little contact with the medium due to the unevenness of the surface.

I am wondering from where along the length of the seed it grows after germination, and whether those seeds with little contact with the medium, (for instance those standing on their noses, their pointy ends, with little if any other contact with the medium), have a diminished chance of germination and subsequent successful establishment and growth.

I perhaps should add that I feel that the medium is sufficiently wet, having been sterilised with boiling water, and that the air above the medium in the clear plastic food containers I am using appears saturated with water vapour, as there is persistent condensation on lids and sides.

Cheers,
John
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Lisa
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2012, 05:29:50 »

Do you have a photo, John?  I am trying to imagine how they would not be in contact with the medium. 
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Bruce
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2012, 11:10:01 »

Hi John

I think you may be over complicating the process. Alcantarea seed comes up like grass. When we were sowing for variegates we would easily sow so much seed in a 30cm X 25cm tray that there would be close to 900-1000 seedlings per tray all growing all over each other . I just received some seed from a friend that is last seasons so at least 8-9mths old and it had started to germinate in the plastic bag that it came in as it had been rained on prior to collection. I've also had Alcantareas come up as weeds when seed has blown around inside a shade house coming up in pots of other plants. It sounds as if you are doing everything you can so I wouldn't worry, just sow more seed.

cheers Bruce
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sunny
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2012, 14:15:29 »

Hi Bruce,

I can't thank you enough for your recount of your experience and encouragement.

I had guessed that they would be as tough as billy goat's knees, but as they are last season's seed of a very special Alc, I hadn't wanted to waste any through poor practice.

I am feeling very much more confident now.

All the best,
John
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« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2012, 00:11:14 »

John,

I can only add to Lisa and Bruce's comments in saying don't bother cutting the tail off , just put the seed in a bunch in the pot and wet it down with a sprayer which will flatten the seed into a mat. I do this with all Tillansioideae seed and have no problems.

Happy growing

Cheers
Brod
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sunny
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« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2012, 02:01:18 »

Hi Brod,

Thanks for your comments mate.  I am feeling more and more confident.  I really want to give these buggers every chance as I would love the opportunity to run into you (and the other folk like Bruce and Olive who have been especially courteous and generous to me during the past nine months) at a BSQ meeting, or anywhere else, and be able to press a fat and happy seedling I had grown onto your hand.

Right now they are looking promising under fluorescent lights on a shelf in my old orchid flask rack.

As I was visiting Rick last week (60Kms and 90 mins going, 35Kms and 65mins returning - must have had all the planets aligned as I didn’t get lost once, though once I was off the freeway, I never knew where I was – so glad I took the native bearers and the Sherpa) and I knew that he had seed-raising runs on the board, I took out an insurance policy against a complete stuff-up on my part, and he will try to raise some of the seed too.

Fingers crossed!!!

Happy growing to you,
John
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Rickta66
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« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2012, 12:30:45 »

John,

Cutting the tails off Tillandsiodeae seed was discussed at one of the BSQ meets.

I have noticed that some of my Tillandsiodeae type seed have died to what I suspect is due to a fungal attack on the tails but having tried cutting the tails off some seeds I think I'll put up with losing a couple - I probably grow them too wet to start with as well.

Cheers,

Rick
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sunny
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« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2012, 04:07:21 »

Thanks Rick,

I have sown seed both long and short and interested to see whether it made any difference.  I have taken them off the illuminated flask rack and simply have them sitting in a warm, naturally, brightly-light room where they get late afternoon sun.

I don't think that I would be being nearly so "precious" now, had I had a practise run with any old seed, in a manner that I learned grass pup removal on a pair of fecund Alc extensa and Alc glaziouana in preparation for removal of the offsets which had begun to grow on my Vampira, as a result of my learning through your posts of Bruce's technique for inducing pupping.

With regard to long and short - never did thank you for the shortcut you gave me for getting home from your place.  Another big thanks mate.

John
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sunny
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« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2012, 12:25:00 »

Cigars anyone?

Lots of little crimson beans have little green bumps.  Nine days.  Very pleased!

John
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2012, 01:55:29 »

Great that you have germination.  Maybe I will give it a try and purchase some seed.
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sunny
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« Reply #10 on: March 05, 2012, 03:20:27 »

Hi Scott, I highly recommend it. 

This past fortnight I have experienced the nature lover’s childlike, glorious sense of anticipation and extraordinary pleasure in seeing the hoped for changes in a living, growing thing.

As it appears that few people grow Alcantarea in southern California, here’s a chance for you to be a change agent and remedy the current situation.  I suspect that your climate may challenge you, but where there is a will there is a way.

Good luck,
John
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« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 10:21:28 »

Hi John and Rick,  

To add to above comments re fungal attack on the hair-type seeds of Vr & Alc. This is common, but all you need to do when you first flatten and wet the seed down with your spray bottle, is add a good fungicide to the water and you'll normally only get minimal fungal growth appearing after germination, in some pots. At the first sign of ANY white/grey/black fungus spots, just hit it again 2 or 3 times over a couple of weeks and it shouldn't be a problem.

I don't add fertilizer to the spray in this very young stage, as it really promotes the growth of algae which can smother young "germinates". Leave the fert until they are well on their way with a few wee leaves and got roots down into the medium.

I also don't worry trimming the seed hairs at all before sowing, though this would no doubt help thwart any fungus taking a hold. I find Yates Bravo works well on all brom seedlings, so if you keep getting fungal attacks, you likely have an issue with your growing medium or your containers are letting spores in etc.

Cheers, Graeme
« Last Edit: March 07, 2012, 10:23:33 by graykiwi » Logged
sunny
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« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2012, 01:57:52 »

Thanks Graeme,

I believe in a year or two, I will be as nonchalant as some of the old hands here when it comes to prepping for sowing and maintaining seedlings.  I think that since sowing Andrew’s wonderful seed (Big thanks again Andrew), I have come across and been given (Big thanks again Nev) the very best of advice which you have reiterated.  I won’t leave a stone unturned in future and I feel prepared now to deal with any problems I may encounter with this batch.

Rick and I are in regular email contact about the progress of our seed.  Mine has a week’s start on Rick’s and his are doing fine and some of mine began to grow second leaves at around day 14 or 15, which I think is pretty good going.

Cheers
John
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sunny
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« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2012, 04:14:27 »

We have had very warm weather and twenty-one days since sowing, have lots of babes with three leaves, the longest around 3mm long.  They spend the day in a warm and bright, naturally lighted room where they get the very last of the low afternoon sun. As the days are getting shorter they go under a fluoro around 5.30 until my bedtime.  Very pleasing.
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