Saturday, April 7, 2012

Harvest Special (video)

... or How To Harvest Lithops Seeds.
I normally scrape lithops seeds out of a seed capsule with a needle and it works fine if the seeds are big (like lesliei's) or there are not that many. Harvesting tiny karasmontana seeds lately I had to realise it takes too long and hurts my back and eyes. I don't know any other method other than throwing the seed capsule in water, but without any help not all of the seeds detach. Combining the water bath and a needle I was able to get the seeds out very quickly.
First you need a small shallow bowl and a piece of wet paper towel fitting the size of the bowl. The piece of towel goes into the bowl, then you can pour water into it.
Now you need a pair of (scissor) tweezers and a needle on a stick (a pensil will work). Make sure to clean out every section of the capsule properly.
Once all the seeds are out you just take out the paper and put it somewhere it can dry (it helps to lay another paper towel folded in several layers under it).
To put the dry seeds into a paper envelope I use a white brush. I find the seeds don't jump around much and you can count them as you go if needed.
Sometimes there's a whole lot of seeds in one tiny seed capsule.

15 comments:

  1. I ever use this method in spite of the size and quantity of seeds ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's a good one. :) Works really fast.

      Delete
  2. nice method, thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for posting this. I just found a seed pod on my Lithops lesliei v. venteri (Marsaisaii) and followed your video. I didn't need a needle to get the seeds out, just a few sprays with a spray bottle and they all came out. Just a question....can I sow the seeds right away or do they need to be stored for a while? Thanks again.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Andrea, congrats on the seed pod :)
      According to S. Hammer's book, you can sow them right away or store them, it doesn't matter for the germination ability. You're welcome and good luck!

      Delete
  4. Ah... okay. The brush is a great idea!

    Thanks :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome :)
      I use white brushes for pollinating too~

      Will have to make better videos next year...

      Delete
  5. How long after I pollinate will it take for the seed pod to be ready. I just read a year, lol. Is that right? Basically, when should I remove and scrape?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Ashley,
      For Mesembs, if the seed pod is completely dry like on the photo above and can be opened with a drop of water it should be fine. It can take several months until it dries.

      Delete
  6. Hi, I just bought a lithop at my local nursery and I know nothing about lithops and seeds and their seed pods but mine has 2 seed pods and is blooming and i'm not sure if i can harvest it or not. i don't know if it has been pollinated or not. or i don't know if pollination needed to happen to have a seed pod. can you help me i am absolutely clueless!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jennifer,
      I doesn't look like an urgent matter. The seed pods can stay on the plant for years. If they look like on the picture above you can harvest them and open them (see the video) and sow the seeds, if you like. Or not. To get seeds the plant has to be cross pollinated with another plant (not another head of the same plant). Basically, I you do something about the seed pods or leave them it won't have any effect on the plant (singular for lithops is lithops, not lithop, by the way). Since it's November you basically don't do anything anyway. No water until April or so, not even a drop. Just repot into a substrate that does not look black and place on a southern windowsill (no watering!). And forget about it until April. And until then you can read up on lithops to not be clueless ;)

      Delete
    2. Thank you for responding to me! Another question, what if it has little babies on the bottom of the pot? there's probably about 10-15 baby lithops... should i still not water? or would you suggest repotting the adult lithops in it's own pot and then taking care of the babies a little more carefully since i've read they need to be kept moist? Here is a picture if it helps: http://tinypic.com/r/2dm5vkw/9

      Delete
    3. Yes, you will need to separate them and treat them differently. But I don't see how you can remove the big plant without bothering the seedlings... You can try though... You might need to decide which you should rescue. The big plant has slightly better chances even though it still has leaves from the year before and both the open and the closed leaves should go before spring. It can only be managed with NO water. I really don't know if such overfed plant can survive for long... You can try pulling out the seedlings even though they're too young for that. Who knows, maybe some of them will survive.... Or you sacrifice the bigger plant and keep watering for the babies sake. You'll have to remove the bigger plant as soon as it dies though... But it might give the seedlings time to get a little bigger so that it will not bother them that much and they'll survive...

      It looks like a garden store plant. Unfortunately they normally are overfed and don't survive...

      Delete
    4. Thank you so much for your help!!! You're so full of knowledge I wish I had!!

      Delete