Propagating by Seed

The potting compost and coarse sand is sifted through a 1 inch mesh. In the bottom of each 3" plastic pot, put 1" of coarse washed gravel. Then fill the pot to within 1" of the top with the above compost, press down lightly and see that the surface is smooth and level. Place the pot in a container of warm water until the soil in the pot has become damp. Sow the seeds on the top of the damp soil. Do not plant the seeds too thickly. Sift enough powdered charcoal over the surface of the soil to cover the seeds to a depth not greater than the height of the seed. The charcoal helps keep the soil surface free from algae. Keep the seed pans in water only until the soil is moist on top and repeat as necessary to keep the soil from drying out. Cover the top with glass and on top of the glass place a piece of muslin. Each morning and evening remove the glass and wipe off the moisture. Seeds germinate in 24-hours to 3 weeks, according to the species.

After the seed species have germinated, ventilate by lifting the glass at one end for this purpose, use a small wedge 1" thick. This is done for about 2 hours in the afternoon.

When the spines appear the glass is left raised to allow the air to enter. At this stage the water can be lessened, but not sufficiently to allow the soil
to dry out. The use of Formula 20 helps to develop a good root system. Use according to the directions on the bottle. The soil mixture will care for the seedlings in their original pots until the following spring.

Transplanting takes place when the seedlings are big enough to handle; if too crowded one has to move them earlier. The following spring the seedlings are transplanted out into seed trays in a mixture similar to the original mixture, but the seedlings must be taken out with the utmost care so that their roots are not damaged. They should be planted at the same depth as before. In "pricking out" the tiny plants, an old table fork with the prongs slightly bent up will be helpful in lifting out the seedlings from the seed pots. Sprinkle around the seedlings the powdered charcoal to prevent algae forming on the soil surface.

Spray overhead only for a week until the roots have recovered, then water as before. Healthy seedlings, well grown, are a joy to any grower and the variety of form and color are fascinating, as the juvenile plant often has no resemblance to the adult plant. Seedlings are more adaptable to changes of season than are mature plants. There is an undeniable thrill when one of your own seedlings flower for the first time. Many of the quick-growing dwarf cacti flower within 2-3 years of germinating, eg. Rebutia minuscula, Fraileas, and some Mammillarias.
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