Friday, August 22, 2014

Moody Fenestraria seedlings

These Fenestratia rhopalophylla ssp. aurantiaca 'Fireworth' seedlings are now 4 months old and getting touchy. Like teenagers they seem to hate everything I do and grow best when I just leave them alone. I can't quite figure them out. Being winter-growers Fenestrarias rest in summer. My understanding was that such young seedlings wouldn't have the resting period yet but they really really hate being watered these days. It's like 3 drops are barely okay but when it's 4 - they get suicidal. Watering results in immediate leaf loss. But they are so small and they need water, don't they? It's hot and sunny after all. Apparently what I think is best for them is the opposite of what they think. I guess I'll keep giving them those 3 drops of water whenever they get soft and hope they won't freak out.


  1. They look fine. You seem to be giving them the right care; small amounts of water on a frequent basis. What you don't want to do, is let them get very dry and them give a lot of water. A lot of mesembs are touchy when young. They don't have a lot of water storage reserve but the roots are active and subject to rotting if too wet. Have you lost any entire plants? If you only lose a leaf or two now and then you are doing well. You are also dealing with the "mother mesemb" syndrome. Watching over them and worrying about everything they do, and how they look. That's usually good for the plants, but tough on mother! You are also becoming so successful with growing these plants (mesembs and other small succulents), you are beginning to subconsciously believe you shouldn't have any problems. Forget that. I've been growing them for longer than you have been alive, and I've had a lot of success, but I still have problems. And, there are some I've never been able to grow successfully for any length of time. Whenever you are having a tough time with a plant or two, just look at all the others that are doing well. It's human nature to concentrate on the problems and lose sight of all the successes. I notice all your successes and I'm impressed. You should be too. ^__^

    1. Haha you might be right XD But it really is confusing if you are convinced you are doing the best thing for the plant but it doesn't react as it should. I'll try to worry less and observe rather than act. Indeed, I haven't lost any of the seedlings yet but with only 4-6 leaves every leaf seems to be important to the plants wellbeing.
      Thank you very much for your comments and help and for encouraging and cheering me up :)

      Btw, have you seen the Muiria picture I posted? That's how far I got with my attempts. But no giving up yet!

  2. Hello Ms. Rika
    Could you please share your method of sowing mesembs?
    12 days ago, on Aug the 16th I sow some lithops and conophytum seeds, but they are not germinate yet :( This is my first time and I dont want to lose my seeds :((
    I followed the steps from
    for sowing the seeds. everything is ok, except the temperature :|
    Its hot here these days and I cant decrease the temperature of seedlings. its about 90-96F (32-36 C) most of the time :|
    What should I do now? Is it possible that my seeds ruined because of this heat :( ?
    I can see seeds and they dont seem to be rotted. I wish they germinate :(

    Sry for my bad English
    Regards, Masoud

    1. Hello Masoud
      Your English is fine :)

      Yes, lithops seeds prefer it to be much cooler to germinate that's why the best time to sow is in the fall. If the seeds you've sown are not rotted I'd recommend to let the substrate dry and wait a couple of months. Then water carefully and place a see-through lid on the pot again. It might trigger the seeds that are not damaged to germinate.

      My method is to use pure pumice, place seeds on top of it and water carefully from above (out of a spoon for instance). Then I place a see-through lid on the pot and put it on my windowsill. The pumice has to stay moist all the time. Then I just wait.
      I read that people who grow under artificial lights have their seeds germinating on the 3rd day. For me germination can take up to 3 weeks. I usually see the seeds germinating only after 2 weeks (it probably depends on the weather and temperature which I don't have any influence on). Just be patient and it will work. Don't sow the seeds all at once if you have rare ones. If one bunch didn't germinate, try another. But not in summer! Wait until October.
      After the germination keep the lid on and water when you see the stones getting dry. After 2 or 3 months you'll notice that the seedlings are stronger and can take it if it's dry for a couple of days. That's when you can remove the lid.
      It's all very individual. You'll have to watch the seedlings closely to understand what to do... Some people remove the lid right after germination. I don't. Because I'm to lazy to water every day. With the lid on the substrate stays moist for several days until you'll have to add water again. Also, under the lid they don't seem to burn in strong sunlight...

    2. I use pumice and artificial light with heat mat and they do germinate in 3-5 days. Quite surprising myself too.

  3. I get confused by these baby's toes too and I don't even remember how many adult I have killed lol. It is always about watering. Lithops are way easier.