Monday, July 8, 2013

A. schooneesii seedlings

I don't use artificial light when I make mesembs hatch, that's why they do it depending on weather conditions. I don't mind as long as they do germinate. The oldest on the pic are one month old and are getting first true leaves, the youngest hatched a couple of days ago. Reason for a photo session.


  1. Wonderful - the hope of things to come. Did you use a flash on this photo - it's really good! I've been trying to photograph my new lithops seedlings but my photos aren't this nice. What's your germination media? Doesn't look like pumice. Do you ever have any problems with moss or algae? Obviously I do have some things to learn. Oh yes, the A. schooneesii seedlings look great. Named for D.H. Schoonees who discovered them in 1931. From an overhead perspective mature plants look like Lithops localis! And, they (A. schooneesii and L. localis) share a habitat in Springbokvlakte RSA. Seedling fun - great!

    1. Thank you! I really enjoy growing non-lithops mesembs from seed, probably because it's such a new thing to me or because they grow faster than lithops. Not that my love and interest for lithops is any weaker (I'll report on my youngest lithops seedlings shortly)! I guess not many people will understand why sowing is so much fun for people like us. :)
      I haven't used flash on this photo, just very strong sunlight from out of the window. Yes, the plants indeed can take it. Even I can't stay near the window for more than 10 minutes when the summer sun in shining. I used flash on the latest photo with Titanopsis calcarea seedlings though - to light up those pretty warts. :) If I use flash on very small seedlings they just look like green blobs for some reason...
      Yes, it is pumice (it's dark when it's wet), the same pumice I use for adult plants. I use it for germination as well. I sometimes see moss and algae growing on the stones. A couple days of strong sunlight normally kills the algae. If moss is getting bigger I just put a thin layer of pumice upon it and it dies. The reason I use pumice is - apart from laziness - to keep these things at bay. Algae and moss still might appear but not enough to call it a problem, just temporary pot-mates. I think pumice is just too poor for that.
      Just checked the the habitat pics (sandy soil from the looks of it). It's amazing how two different species have developed similar markings to blend in!

  2. Of course answers always raise more questions. The pumice we have available here in my area is usually very uniform in size; closer to the larger pieces I see in your Alinopsis seedling photo. Your pumice seems to have quite a variation in size.

    Perhaps my algae/moss problems are due in part to growing my seedlings for so long under fluorescent lights, and in part for having 40 percent organic matter, either sphagnum peat or coir, and in part for keeping the pots covered in clear plastic for several months.

    In what situation (lighting) do you keep your seed sowing pots, immediately after sowing the seed? Do you cover the pots at all (with plastic or glass?) If you don't cover, how often do you water/mist? I would think if you seed sowing pots are uncovered they couldn't go very long without watering or misting, and it would be hard for you to be away for any considerable length of time. I am trying to fully understand your mesemb seed sowing procedures. Maybe I'll have to wait until the book is published. ;-)

    1. Quastions are always welcome. Hope I can answer properly. :)
      I get my pumice substrate from It says there the grain size is 0-4mm, which means fairly small stones with some pumice "sand" mixed in.
      I also keep my lithops seedlings under a plastic see-through cover for a long time (several months, just like you). I understand that some growers remove the cover right after the germination but I'm too lazy to mist or water them several times a day. Keeping the cover on allows me to not water them for up to a week without consequences. In this point our sowing procedures are the same, I think. :)
      The cover also seems to protect young seedlings from the intense sunlight, in case they happen to be spring-sown. I normally sow in October or February so that they're strong enough in summer to grow without cover.
      My lighting conditions depend solely on the weather. I germinate and grow young seedling on the windowsill (south) with all the other adult plants. If sown in October there's no danger for them to get cooked in the sun as long as they don't have their first true leaves and by the time they do it's summer and they are gradually used to the increase in heat/sunlight over the months anyway. At least this is my experience based on close observation.
      I germinate them in the same pumice I use for adult plants which I find quite practical because I don't have to transplant them during their first year. They can grow undisturbed.
      Have I answered all the questions? I'm not sure..

      Haha, I'd love to write a book on wondowsill-mesembs one day but I'll need some more experience first :D