Archivo de la etiqueta: karasmontana

Sowing Lithops in Summer

sowing II 1

Lithops karasmontana bella, C295. The first six seeds germinated already three days after sowing. Two weeks days later 14 seedlings have survived from 17 hatched.

Sowing II 2

Lithops karasmontana, Signalberg form, LC65A. Also a quickly germinating species. Two hatchlings at the third day. A fortnight later from 15 hatchlings  thirteen havesurvived.

Sowing II 3

Lithops bromfieldii mennellii, C283. At day three, two bromfieldii had hatched; two weeks later, without any loss, there are eleven hatchlings.

sowing II 4

Lithops dorotheae, C300. The first solitary seedling appeared the 5th day after sowing. Now, at day 17, there are six hatchlings.

sowing II 5

Lithops dorotheae, C124. Like his brother, first seedling at fifth day and seven up to now.

ssowing II 6

Lithops villetii ssp. deboeri, C231. Tiny and elongated, though growing with the same strong light as all other seedlings. The first five deboeri appeared at the fifth day and on day 19 there are ten seedlings.

sowing II 7

Lithops aucampiae koelemanii, C256. Fat, mushroom-like from a beginning, the first two germinated the forth day and the little, clear one, was one of them. There were twelve seedlings, remaining only five becuase of – presumably – fungus gnats.

sowing II 8

Lithops lesliei rubrobrunnea, C204. Big seeds that did not germinate in the first two weeks. The first one ap300peared at day seventeen, and two days later there are three cotyledons, flat with a distinct rim.

sowing II 9

An other slow and erratic breeder, C350, Lithops otzeniana. The first seedlings appeared the sixth day and now there are four, two have succumbed. A pity, for L. otzeniana  is one of my green favourites.

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Sowing Lithops in Summer

sowing in summer 1The substrate is prepared. 80% volcanic lapilli, bigger chunks in the bottom and finer graduation towards the top, mixed with coconut fibres and a bit of fine silicate sand.  Most of the organic part in the upper 5 cm.
The planter is 39x17x14cm, big enough for a few Lithops and hopefully two to three years of happy growing. There are some evident advantages using a planter versus a single pot. They are easier to care after, they keep the moisture a bit longer – which is good for seedlings – and they save space.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs most of you will have recognised the seeds  are from Cono’s Paradise. There are plenty of seeds in every seed package, I’ll just use a part of them for this summer enterprise. Germinating Lithops is generally  very rewarding, Lithops seeds hatch in nearly every substrate, organic, mineral, cotton, paper, petri dish… older seed is said to have a higher rate than recently harvested seeds. There is some difference in size between different species of Lithops, but as a rule most of good quality seed will hatch in a few days. Be careful when sowing, if you want to avoid crowding and don’t cover the seed.

summer sowing 3Sow the seed  with the help of a toothpick upon the wet surface of the substrate. Just trickle a few seeds out of the seed package into a china cup, and with the wettened tip of a wooden toothpick you just pick one seed after the other and place them gently and evenly spaced – well, more or less – on the surface of the substrate. It is easy, believe me: I’ve done so with 19 seeds of each of the 16 Lithops species I’ve sown. It took a little bit more than half an hour.  This little effort in the beginning will be rewarding in the future. Spray gently after sowing and cover with a plastic wrapper.

Summer 4Identify each row with the Cole Number or the full name of your Lithops seeds, date of sowing (the more information you may want to add, the better) and add some long but narrow plastic stripes (say from a bottle) as separators, preferably bevor sowing. The plastic stripes will also prevent the plastic wrapper, which will soon get wet from inside, to lay down on the substrate and suffocate the freshly hatched plantlets.
Place the wrapped box out of sun in a bright place.
If you are lucky, in two to three days you may see something.

summer sowing 5The temperatures I have to deal with now – and I want to sow now – are 28º/22ºC. There has been written a lot about the pros and cons of higher or lower tº when sowing Lithops; I’m not going to add.
The only viable alternative would be waiting until next winter. And this doesn’t help fighting the Lithops addiction, does it?

summer sowing 6Yesterday, three days after sowing, the first movement was there to see, today there are seventeen little new Lithops at home!  They deserve to be named, for being the speediest:
Eight Lithops karasmontana;
Two Lithops bromfieldii mennellii; the first one to be photographed!
Three Lithops otzeniana;
Two Lithops aucampiae koelemanii; and
one Lithops schwantesii and L. olivacea nebrownii .

Summer sowing 7August, 5th.  50 Lithops hatched meanwhile.  Nearly all species sown have germinated and,  strange enough, the Lithops with the biggest seeds – C204 Lithops lesliei rubrobrunnea –  still don’t.  The little one in the image – Lithops aucampiae koelemanii – shows what I like seedlings to look like: a short body, a long root and already a bit of colour. With real bright light Lithops grow like this. Etiolated seedlings are prone to diseases.

summer sowing 8Still August 5th, by the afternoon 66 seeds have germinated already – C204 still not there! – and I water again. With a gentle spray you can water as much and as often as you like, this type of substrate will never be waterlogged and soggy. Excess of water just pours out. Spraying once or twice a day keeps the seed wet. The seed clings firmly to the surface of the susbstrate and once sprouted, the empty ‘shell’ will keep securely attached to most of the young cotyledons for many weeks: I’ve never found the seed being washed away, even the tiniest stay in place.
Never forget to protect the planter again with plastic wrapper.

summer sowing 9August, 8th.  Seven days after sowing 100 seedings gather in the planter, which is roughly one third of all seeds sown. Only one species, Lithops lesliei rubrobrunnea shows no growing at all. Big  seeds are just big seeds. There is no need to hurry. The image shows Lithops aucampiae C256, already ‘big’ and flat, which becomes evident in comparison to the next photograph.
There have been losses as well. Just a few minutes, a cloud moving and sun heating the little space between plastic wrapper and substrate surface is all it needs for a quick damping off: the seedlings are simply cooked. This way I have already lost 15 little Lithops. Sorry guys.  I promise to take care, hoovering a bit more on cloudy days. Never trust the summer sun. Nor the summer clouds.

summer sowing 10Extremely diminute, Lithops villettii deboerii C231, this species seems vigorous and strong and is, together with the two karasmontana, one of the best in terms of germination rate.
Definitedly, the first week after sowing Lithops in summer proofs that sowing Lithops in summer, is perfectly possible. And a good way to fight addiction: two days unattended and I lost them all.

Yes, I knew.  It’s better at my place to sow in autumn and winter. Been there, done so. Never going to bump into it again.

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red

ImagenLithops karasmontana ‘Top Red’

red 2Now, in mid-summer, one of them is changing clothes. Wants to grow, I suppose. red 3A few days later it is almost there.  The looks are completely different, no white shoulders, and new dark rubrications. I like this little keel which marks the middle of the leaves’ underside.
But, unfortunately,red 4there seems to live a little critter in the same pot who thinks young Lithops are tasty. I’ll try to find him with a green grape as bait.

 

 

So small is small!

rodde pimient small 2

There now is some evidence that a pea does not quite serve as a   rule for the size of Lithops seedlings. To big in most cases and far to much volumen in comparison to the body of a junior living stone.

Here comes the common peppercorn. Nearly 5 mm and only a quarter of the volume of a pea. That will make the difference.

so small is 2.1For obvious resaons – visibility and glamour – I cannot refrain from choosing the pink peppercorn as reference.

Lets see if it works:

L. hookeri C019 and a pink peppercornhookeri and pink pepperkornL. dinteri C206 and a pink peppercorndinteri  small 5L. hallii C119 and a pink peppercornhalli and pink 7L. fulviceps C266 and  the pink peppercornfulviceps and pink 8L. karasmontana ‘Top Red’ and a peppercornkaras and pink 9L. pseudotruncatella C068 and a pink peppercornpsuedo and pink 6What do you think? A peppercorn fits better, doesn’t it?

albinica and peppercornAt least for juvenile Lithops. L. lesliei ‘albinica’ and a pink peppercorn.
how small is ... conophytum 10

And it works for Conophytum as well. This C. violaciflorum just hatched in its first winter/rainy season.

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How big is big?

¿Qué tamaño tiene un guisante?

How big is big?

Take your time: How big is a pea? Be honest now, before you count the millimeter  divisions, how big would you guess is a pea? And is a pea bigger or lesser than a one year old Lithops?

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                 Problem solved! The average green garden pea is 9mm.            I’d have given it far less than nearly 1 cm!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis little fellow – Lithops karasmontana ‘Top Red’ –  is 18 month old.

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And this is Lithops hookeri ssp. subfenestrata ‘brunneoviolacea’. Five month old.

pseudotruncatella groendrayensis

Two and a half years old: Lithops pseudotruncatella ssp. groendrayensis

lesliei venteri maraisi

 Both Lithops lesliei ssp. venteri ‘Maraisi’ , sown November 2013, are now  five months old.

verruculosae inae

And the jewel loaded Lithops verruculosa var. verruculosae ‘Inae’  is a year and a half.

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I ignore how old these four may  be, as they flowered last autumn,    they are adults altogether :  Lithops lesliei ‘Albinica’.

pseudotruncatella aplina

These three – you spot them? – are 5 month old.  Lithops pseudotruncatella ‘alpina’.

Well then. Let’s see if a pea is a good criterion for the size of Lithops. Here we go:

karamontana and peahookeri and peagroendray and peamaraisii and peainae and peaYou  already imagine how  it  will look like for the tiny pseudotruncatella, don’t you?albinica and peapseudotruncatella and peaFive 6 months old Lithops pseudotruncatella ‘alpina’ C068 together are smaller than a 0,9cm pea.

These plants have germinated in full sun at 28º N latitude (which is pretty near to their S latitude procedence btw) and they have all the pigments they need for protection. What they (still) don’t have is a volumen that helps them to survive in dry and hot atmospheric conditions. Make the experiment: place a pea in the sun and watch.

You won’t have to wait long!

So, please, in summer and whenever it is hot and dry – bury your little treasures or give them shade.

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