Holiday Cactus has Seed Pods...what now?

socksMay 30, 2007

One of my holiday cacti has three maroon seed pods with the dried flower straggling from one end.

Can I sprout these pods, and if so, how?

Would they be ripe now, or do they stay on a while?

Is there one seed in each pod?

I believe it's a Thanksgiving cactus.

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dufflebag2002(Calif. 91607)

Check and see if any of the seed are ripe. Don't plant the capsule. Make sure the seeds are ripe, and then dry them off, plant into the tinest pot you can find, it will need good drainage. These seeds will need warm temp. to germinate. General instructions only. Just remember that they are tropicals. Norma

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 11:23AM
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How would I know if they are ripe?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2007 at 1:07PM
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Hi socks,

I'm not sure how to tell if something is ripe, but I did an experiment this spring sprouting the seeds of a summer blooming "Easter cactus" that I have. I waited about nine months for the pod to dry out or somehow change in some way, and it really didn't seem to change much. It did easily split open and there were indeed tiny seeds in the pulp inside that looked okay and not rotted. I had a hard time finding anything here on GW and on the web about how to process the seeds, so I just squeezed the seeds and pulpy stuff out and tried to separate them as much as possible. I put the seeds onto a prepared "Jiffy" pellet and put it along with the tomato seeds I was starting in the covered plastic Jiffy box (if you know what those are). I keep my sprouting toms with bottom heat at about 70 degrees. Regular cacti seeds like 70 degrees as far as I know, so I thought that would be a good guess. This did work, and the Easter cacti seeds were the first ones to sprout in the whole box! I didn't really expect much, as I thought they wouldn't even be viable since I only have the one plant and I read here in another GW post that Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti need a second pollinator plant. Since I read that I have given my Christmas and Thanksgiving cacti a sexy good time getting their flower parts together (I don't know the proper names for the parts of flowers) and have now a lot of pods to try the same thing with. I will probably just do the same thing as before, as it worked before. If you have more than one seed pod then don't be shy and just try something with one, at least break it open and look at it. Experimenting is fun, especially when it works, but even if it doesn't work. If all the seeds in all the pods sprout and grow to big plants, then you will need a second home! Oh- I'm not sure about the meaning of the maroon color of the pods. I'm not sure, but I think that my jungle cacti plants get red when they are a little cold and in the sun. I have one plant with a maroon pod next to the window, and green ones away from the window. The seed pod on the Easter cactus was green when I took the seeds out of it, and they still sprouted. They are now about one quarter inch tall. Good luck!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 1:58PM
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Thanks for your wonderful reply. You didn't say if your seeds sprouted or not. I was wondering if I should plant the whole pod, or open it. I guess if there are lots of seeds inside, I should cut it open. Maybe I should let it dry a bit before opening. Here's what two of the three pods look like:

Not too sure abut the Jiffy pellet, but maybe I'll put the seeds in potting soil and bag the pots to keep humidity up. I think I might wait a few more weeks to do this. As you say, since I have three, I can experiment a bit.

I love to experiment too. Right now I have a pineapple top that is starting to grow.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 7:06PM
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This might help some. This tutorial I wrote a few years ago and its for Echinocactus Grusonii, but the principles are the same. I dont get by these forums much anymore but but if you have questions just drop me a line on my forum. I check it each day a few times..

Here is a link that might be useful: RSI Growers

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 9:55PM
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Hi again,

I guess I still wasn't clear enough. The seeds did sprout, and they are now about a quarter of an inch tall. If I get my act together, maybe I can post a picture. Socks, I have had some bad luck sprouting seeds in potting soil that has fertilizer in it, so that is why I've used the Jiffy. I wouldn't use a Jiffy for a desert cactus like Echinocactus like in turtleman's page, but I have a fast draining mix I make up for desert cacti. Turtleman, thanks for the link to the seed starting page. It was interesting to see the inside of the pod, and it hopefully will be helpful to others. My Easter cactus pods weren't so dried out inside as the Echinocactus pods, but the seeds still must have been ripe since they sprouted. They were very tiny and brown. The picture of the seedlings is posted on the cacti gallery page.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2007 at 12:49AM
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