Thursday, August 21, 2014

Attempts to grow Muiria hortenseae from seed

I wanted to share this rare sight with you because, well, the seedling could die any day. My attempts to grow Muiria hortenseae from seed so far were all more or less "is it dead yet?" I was sowing them 5 seeds at a time three times this year and the seedling below is the most I can show for it. The next sowing is scheduled for this fall and when I run out of seeds I will buy more and try again. I'm still far from giving up.
Anyway, this is how it went: The seeds germinate just fine (3 out of 5 mostly) and then they keep the cotyledons for months. I don't know whether this is how it is suppossed to be or the result of my conditions. Lithops seedings can keep their cotyledons for a long time too but depending on the species they are stronger, more resistent. In case of Muiria they are weeker and unfortunatelly wither before any true leaves can develop. The seedling below was sown in February (!) and is the only one that could develop first true leaves. This is the most success I've had with Muiria so far! The leaves have come out through its side and the cotyledons never dried off. Now it's lying on the side, using both leaf pairs, which is a clever thing to do because it makes it more succulent. For such a slow grower it seems to be important. It looks healthy and strong but it really is tiny and shows no signs of new growth. The root system is also quite fragile (yes, I had the courage to check). Now I just give it water from time to time and wait.

4 comments:

  1. So nice. Fingers crossed!
    Where did you get the seeds from?
    Art

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    Replies
    1. Thanks! *crosses fingers*

      I got the seeds from b-and-t-world-seeds.com (it took them several months to get a hold of them). They don't offer any at the moment though.
      There is one seller on ebay currently offering Muiria seeds. I bought from them once but nothing germinated.

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  2. Well, one still alive after seven months is better than none alive. The fact that there is little consistent information on how to grow it from seed indicates it is very difficult. The fact that seeds are so hard to obtain indicates it is a very hard plant to grow to maturity and flower. I'm glad you are far from giving up. Good growers like challenges, and Muiria is certainly a challenge. I've been researching information on growing Muiria and while there isn't a magic procedure that always works, there are a few suggestions that might help.

    In terms of seed germination and seedling care, treat similar to lithops. I believe you have been doing this. Did the other two seedlings you had seem to rot (turn to mush) when they were lost, or did they seem to dry up? The general advice seems to be, " When young, give them sufficient water, but make sure they don't rot." Easier said than done of course. The use of pumice provides excellent drainage, so the danger for you may be allowing them to get too dry. Hammer seems to push the daily (or even more often) misting. Most growers use the plastic cover method for germinating the seeds, but recommend removing the plastic once most of the seeds have germinated and no later than three months. However, most of the seedling losses occur once the plastic is removed, indicating very young Muiria seedlings have trouble absorbing moisture via their roots; an indication root development is very slow. Of course identifying the problem is the easy part, coming up with solutions much more difficult. :)

    Please keep us informed about your remaining seedling. The one thing you have that really helps in trying to grow Muiria is -- patience --. Fingers crossed for you and your little green blob. ^__^

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  3. Thank you for your advise on the blob care :)
    With Muiria I feel so clueless. The other seedlings might have dried rather than rotted. It felt more like they've "used up" the cotyledons over that many months without having grown the replacement. It would be much easier to bring them to a less fragile size without killing them if they were changing leaves more often. How they manage to grow in habitat is a mystery to me. Maybe they develop faster in a greenhouse environment.
    I hope the blob will grow new leaves sometime soon. I don't want these leaves to pass their expiration date as well.

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