Sunday, June 8, 2014

Growing Lithops in the hot tropical climate Part 1: Seed germinationion

I will be writing  a series of posts that outlined my experimentation with growing Lithops in the hot and humid tropical weather.  Please note the information I will be sharing are from my personal encounter and from a view point of an AMATEUR gardener (novice to the Lithops world).  

My posts will be structured into following growth phases
1) Seed Germination (2-3 weeks)
2) Caring for Seedlings (3week to 6 months)
(to be updated as the experiment progresses)


Part 1:  Seed Germination

Available online Sources for seeds
- Thompson and Morgon International website
(this is the source where I obtain the seeds for this experiment.  They come in a mixed pack and without species names)
- www.aliexpress.com (both seeds and live plants available for sales)
Note: This is not an exhaustive list as there are more suppliers available online. 

Planting Material
For my experiment, I opt for a none organic materials.  I use a combination of lava rocks (as the base), perlite (middle layer) and sand (top layer). 
Some interesting information on Lithops seed germination as follows
- Lithops and Things blogspot
- www.conos-paradise.com
- http://strangeplants.com/

Temperature
As suggested by the Uwe Beyer from www.conos-paradise.com , better germination is obtained with temperature between 15-20C.  With each degree of temperature increase, the germination rate is lower.  The seed packet that I bought outlined a temperature range of 18-27C (65-80F). 

My indoor temperature is around 28/29C at night and 29/30C in the day.  My workaround is to create a micro-climate at the lowest cost.  I use a Styrofoam cooler box, with a LED light from my Marimo experiment and ice from my fridge as the cooling agent.  I change the ice twice daily; morning when I switch on the light and at night when I switch off the light.
This idea for this setup came from Information resource site for newts and salamanders enthusiasts

Updated on 24 July 2014
The following photo shows my temperate setup.   I also have another pot at my patio to gauge tropical temperature impact on germination.  The seeds were sown on 9-July-2014 which happened to coincide with the beginning of another hot and dry spell in Malaysia.  Perhaps sowing in the wet and cooler monsoon season may increase the germination rate.

Temperate condition setup


Planting material

Results (11days for container A&B, 14 days for container C)
 
 
 
Key Observations:
- Idea temperature plays a key role in the germination process
- Light increases the germination rate
- Even though germination is lower at Container C, the seedlings are bigger.   My guess is it could be due to light.  To confirm, I added an additional light source in my temperate setup on top of container A.  Hopefully, more seeds will germinate as the entire process should last for 2 -3 weeks.
 
This concludes Part 1 of the experiment.  Below are close up of the babies (from container C).

 
Have fun trying this out.  I will continue to update the progress of these babies.
 
 


3 comments:

  1. Hi. Do you have any updates post-germination stage? Interested to know as I am contemplating on buying lithops seeds and growing them myself.

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  2. Hi Brian, I kill most of the plant since I was away. Still some babies left but I would recommend that you use some soil (steamed). I used up my Lithops seeds but started with Aloinopsis and they are growing very well. However, this round, I used cactus soil mixed with perlite and the babies love the nutrient in it. I notice the key factors are temperatures, water and light.

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