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Friday, February 5, 2010

For the adventurous- growing cactus and succulent from seed

If you’re going to do it, this is the time. For cactus seed, Penya Seeds has an impressive list: Golden Ball, Golden Barrel:

     Claret Cup Hedgehog (who could resist the name ? )                                                       

 Silver Torch--- which grows beautifully around here. This one lives up the street.                                     

Unlikely as it sounds, Rare Palm Seeds has a dazzling assortment of agave seeds. It is a mind-boggling  site . They have : Agave Victoria –reginae, agave polithiflora,agave vizcainoesis , a. poatorum (Vershaffeltii) a. desmetiana and more than anyone has space for.        

This is one of the most  fantastic agaves ---  a green tiger. Never seen one in the flesh, but Rare Palms has the seeds.

Another favorite site has aloe seeds and is in South Africa. The site is tricky to find- you have to remember to spell Afrika with a K as the S. Africans do:  (If you forget the dashes or the K, you'll be wandering all over the Internet.) The owners of the site, Rudi and Erica , obviously have a deep love of the plants they cultivate and hybridize, and an astonishing amount of experience in growing them. Here’s their description of one of the aloes you can buy seeds to try: “ aloe mitriformis has wide thick short triangular leaves with blunt teeth…this aloe grows creeping along the ground…it does not want a lot of rain or water in the summer… “

 By now the aloe has developed a personality --- with strong tastes and habits.! If you'd like to see a picture of this determined character go to: :
 There Werner Voight has a picture. Voight  informs us that the plant’s name has been changed to a. perifolata (2005) and that the common name is mitre aloe or bishops’ hat. He gives explicit directions for growing the aloe. It sounds undemanding--- my kind of aloe to try growing from seed.
.” The species name perfoliata means surrounding or embracing and refers to the arrangement of the leaves on the stems. A. perfoliata is one of seven aloes  with distinctive creeping stems. All species of creeping aloes flower in the dry summer months... Growing A. perfoliata is very easy….. Use coarse river sand and cover seeds…”

Coarse,--- but not rude--- sand does  work.  Sempervivums seeds obtained from Thompson and Morgan--fine as dust--have come up. Unbelievable! white spots are seeds germinating.

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