collecting seeds from Rebutia

plant_junkie(6)August 19, 2009

Hi everyone, I am in need of some info on collecting seeds from Rebutia. I looked online and there are only vague descriptions about harvesting them. I have 4 varieties of Rebutia, non of which bloomed at the same time. The one I am particularly interested in is the Rebutia muscula. I am now trying my hand at sowing cactus seed from a pack of mixed seed from the local hardware store. I thought it would be even more interesting to try to grow from seed that I collected myself. I got about 9 blooms on mine this year. I read that I have to wait until the fruit is overly ripe before taking the seeds. Are the fruits those little bulbous bottoms from the flowers? Do the sites at which the flower formed become a little Rebutia? I find that the info given here is very reliable and I appreciate all the help I have been previously given. So any tips, experiences or links would be great.

Thank you

plant_junkie

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hippeastrumadmirer(5)

Hello, once the blooms are fully opened you can use a paintbrush a clean one and just rub the pollen on the flower onto everywhere on the flower, you will see a stigma it's the female part and it's in the middle of the flower, brush the pollen from the flower onto the middle which is the female part, then you should notice a pod forming in a couple of days, you should then wait until the pod ripens and changes color, wait until it splits, and then you can collect the seeds and i would suggest leaving them inside on a little dish the pods i mean, wait until the whole pod is dried up and then sow the seeds wash of any sticky residue off the seeds to help prevent fungi and mold!

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 5:34PM
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plant_junkie(6)

Thank you so much. I will have to wait until next year. The ones that dont form pods, will they become a little rebutia to add to the clump? How does the clumping work out?
plant_junkie

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 6:28PM
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hippeastrumadmirer(5)

hey buddy, the ones that don't make the pods, from my thinking i think they will die or either start another branch of rebutia

    Bookmark   August 19, 2009 at 6:46PM
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tjicken

Yes, the bulbous things are fruits. For Rebutia they should be ripe now or within a few weeks. Fortunately Rebutia are often self-fertile, so viable seeds are likely to form on a single plant. The pods do not need to be dry when you harvest them, but the color is typically some shade or red (definitely not green), they are quite soft and split easily and the seeds should be dark brown. If you don't want to sow them now you can dry the seeds and keep them in a refrigerator or a freezer until it is time.

I am not sure whether the offsets come solely from areoles that have flowered, but does it matter? Rebutia flower so profusedly that every areole that forms an offset is likely to have flowered. They do not appear on every areole, otherwise the plant would be overcrowded with offsets.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 5:11AM
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plant_junkie(6)

Thank you TJ. Every flower that formed this year has a bulbous bottom to it. I will wait until they are ripe and harvest one to see if there are any seeds. As for cultivating the seeds I have made a germination chamber out of a 6 inch pot and a 6 inch clear plastic water tray. I have secured it to the top to trap in some of the humidity. Also I put some slits so there can still be air flow. Is this going to be the correct way to germinate these little guys? Also, is there a particular time to sow them to increase the germination/survival rate? Its my understanding that cacti seed will germinate any time of the year as long as the conditions are right. I know a lot of this is experimenting, and I am a curious person so that should be no problem. I just dont want to botch the whole thing. Any pointers would be fantastic.
Thank you
plant_junkie

    Bookmark   August 20, 2009 at 12:39PM
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tjicken

Yes, they can be sown at any time of the year, but artificial lighting in winter is beneficial if you sow them now, otherwise they will struggle through winter.

Germination rate has more to do with the age of the seeds. For the cactus family as a whole this is complicated, but for Rebutia the viability simply decreases with time. If less than 1-2 years old germination should be good if they are kept cold.

I cannot get a clear picture of your setup, but it sounds ok. I use some thin polymer fabric to prevent insects from reaching the seedlings, the "mushroom flies" are devastating.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 3:51AM
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plant_junkie(6)

I have heard about pests destroying the seedlings and I will take the nessecary precautions to reduce them. Although I did not sterilize the mix before sowing the seeds from the mixed packet. I will be sure to do this when I sow the Rebutia seed. Also, I have a all in one fungicide, pesticide spray. Will this work to cut back on fungi growth? With the Rebutia, will I have to stratify them? Simulating a cycle of freeze/thaws? If so can moving them from the fridge to freezer do this trick? I love the idea of sowing my own seed and would be happy if 1 out of 100 grew! I have attached an image of my home made germination chamber. The black ring in the middle is a smaller pot flipped upside down with slits cut in the bottom so I can still water from underneath. I used the smaller pot so i wouldnt use as much mix. Also I have put a very thin layer of perlite on the surface. Not sure if that was a good idea, but its my first time :) Sorry for the size. I know its big. Im not very techno savvy. Thanks again everybody!
plant_junkie

P.S. The Rebutia muscula on the right hand side, is it eliotating because I have watered after the flowering? Should I start to lessen the water?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 1:05PM
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tjicken

>Also, I have a all in one fungicide, pesticide spray. Will this work to cut back on fungi growth?

Probably, but it might also cut back germination, many fungicides have that effect.

> With the Rebutia, will I have to stratify them?

Not at all.

The R. muscula is a little etioliated, but not seriously (yet). It has nothing to do when it flowered, it is the heat + water that encourage it to grow, if the light intensity is too low, then it will look like that. But yes, if the light is too low you should lessen the water (and preferably keep at a bit colder too).

What kind of compost did you use?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 3:26PM
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plant_junkie(6)

Right now I am using peat and shredded bark for my organic side of the mix. 2 parts inorganic 1 part organic. I know this mix could be a lot better. I am planning on buying either turface or floor dry as my inorganic and buying a brick of coir for my organic. I will most likely keep the same ratio; organic to inorganic. Where I am it is very humid through out the summer. Is my mix inadequate? Will my new mix be better? I know peat is bad. Raising houseplants I have seen how reluctant peat can be to re-wet. Since letting the soil dry is a part of cacti care, peat is not the best choice. Are there any other things that I should add or subtract to make my mix even better?
Thank you
plant_junkie

    Bookmark   August 21, 2009 at 4:54PM
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tjicken

The new mix sounds much better, I think the risk for mold is lower. Peat is difficult to re-wet as you say, but the reason why I avoid it for adult plants is that it attracts mushroom flies and it compacts with time, the roots seem to suffocate and grow poorly. For sowing, peat is a efficient way to grow mold and other germs as well as seedlings; the compost should be thoroughly sterilized, otherwise I think you will run into problems quickly. And by all means keep the mushroom flies out! They are very efficient seedling killers.

Personally I don't even use organic materials in my sowing composts anymore, but I am not good at keeping fungi out of my seedling tray, other growers seem to be able to use more organic stuff without negative effects.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 1:30AM
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plant_junkie(6)

You say you can grow seeds in a mix without organics? What do you use instead? This sounds rather interesting. Do you use hyrdoton? How do you deliver nutrients to the seedlings that they need? Perhaps using a hydroponic fertilizer could remedy this. I am planning on making an aeroponic system out of a 30 gallon tote and an older power head from my fish tank. Is it possible to grow cacti/succulents in this manner? I would have it on a spray regime of 30 minutes on and 30 minutes off.

Sorry I got a little off track, I am very curious on how you can grow without an organic component in the mix.

By sterilizing the mix you mean nuking it or baking? Would 10 minutes in the microwave be enough?

Thank you again! :)
plant_junkie

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 4:00AM
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tjicken

I use a mix of sand, pumice, expanded vermiculite, cat litter (fired clay), some loam. There is some organic material in the loam, but that is insignificant. Nutrients are present in the pumice, which has some clay and fertilizer added to it, and the loam. I think they grow a little faster if you use organic stuff, but the increased mortality does not make worthwhile for me. I use little or no organic matter in the soil for adult plants too.

Cacti can be grown hydroponically, but it is rumored to be difficult. I have never tried it.

I add some water to the soil and cook in the microwave oven for about 10 minutes. As I often open the seedling tray I cannot avoid fungal spores completely, but the problem decreases. It is more important for people who use the "baggie method" (more properly called the Fleischer method), where the each pot is kept in a hermetically sealed bag until the seedlings are big enough to be separated.

See also the link "sowing on cat's straw" on this page:

Here is a link that might be useful: Sowing on cat litter

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 7:24AM
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tjicken

Now I have found out approximately what Hydroton is, and yes I use something similar too.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 7:34AM
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plant_junkie(6)

Thank you so much TJ!! This has been most informative. I have so many new ideas now. I cant wait to try a few out! I never knew growing cacti/succulents could be so fun and interesting. I will try a few and will post my results.
TY
plant_junkie

    Bookmark   August 22, 2009 at 12:48PM
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