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Starting lithops seeds--did I do right?

Posted by rredbbeard SE CT USA/zone 6 ( on
Wed, Feb 20, 13 at 10:40

I started some lithops seed about a month ago, using a combo of miracle gro cactus medium mixed 50/50 with perlite, hydroton on the bottom of a clay pot. The medium was damp when the seeds were surface-sown, now I'm wishing I had covered them with ~2mm of stone dust to keep them better rooted and upright. They only get misted, and not watered, covered with translucent plastic most of the time, but I'm letting them dry very slightly between mistings. Am I on the right track? I only got 50% germination after 3 weeks, but apparently no damping off.

Also, are individual plants/flowers self-fertile?



Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Starting lithops seeds--did I do right?

Hey Rick! Did you ever get that Epi pollinated?

The good news about your Lithops is that if you got 50% germination, you're doing something right. I'm coming to realize that the mix you start them in doesn't need to be that different from the mix you grow them in. I've been changing my Mesemb soil formula lately, mainly adding sand. I found some coarse all purpose sand the other day that's perfect. I'm not going to get into methods because I'm still working on mine but I can tell you this. Steven Hammer has progressed into sowing multiple species in flat square trays. It's maybe 2.5" of very sandy, gritty soil. He says the shallowness of the tray allows him to water them as much as he wants, and it's working great. Also, he no longer sterilizes his soil. The more organic matter you have in your soil (bark, peat) the more susceptible you are to dampness, and algae.
It sounds like you've been pretty careful with the misting. You can keep them damp about 6 days/week and on the 7th day... He let them dry out. After drying out, give a good soak. Be sensitive to weather. If it's damp and foggy, don't water. If it's hot, dry, windy... get out there and save your babies!!! You can stop doting over them so much after about 16-18 months, just like a real baby:)

My new soil...

RE: Starting lithops seeds--did I do right?

Hammer's tray

RE: Starting lithops seeds--did I do right?

I got pollen off of one other epi that flowered unexpectedly, but the pod didn't take. I did get a huge number of schlumbergera pods to take, so I'll be giving these away, and selling them on eBay.

Shallow trays of gritty medium sound pretty good. So, I guess I'm happy with 50% germination!

Thanks for the info!


RE: Starting lithops seeds--did I do right?

Reviving this thread because I'm looking for opinions on the best time to start lithops seeds. I have seen so much conflicting info, so I'm doing an informal poll here.

Many start them in the winter (Jan-Feb), though I've seen several people who started their seeds in the early fall (Sept-Oct), in order to have a more hardy little plant by the time summer rolls around.

As for my location: I'll be starting them indoors, in a fairly well-controlled climate, and they won't be exposed to wild fluctuations in temperature. They can have several hours of bright light, and eventually can be moved to an area where they will have some time in late afternoon sun. Should they make it to next summer, I have space for them to be in direct sunlight all day ... or not.

Can I start them in the fall or should I just wait until January? I just got a pack of 30 mixed lithops seeds, and 20 Argyroderma framesii seeds. Now I've got at least a month to get my soil mix sorted. I've never had much luck with lithops in the past, but I know what I did wrong now. I'm hoping I'm armed with enough information to keep them going. All of my other succulents are flourishing and are healthier than ever (in large part from what I've learned here), so I'm giving it one more go.

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