Monday, January 18, 2010

Schlumbergera Seed Pictorial

Since people seem to be really interested in how to grow Schlumbergera from seed, I thought I'd put together a quick pictorial.

This project started over a year ago when I hand pollinated a few flowers. Since I couldn't bare to pull a flower off any of the plants and destroy it, I moved two of the plants close together and gently 'smooshed' the pollen from the pistols onto the center stamen of each when the flowers were at their very freshest (one or two days after opening).


It didn't take long for the base of the flower to begin to swell and form a bright pink, hard seed pod.
This was left on the plant for one year to mature. You definitely need patience for this step. Even though it still looked very firm and hard after a whole year, when squeezed it was soft and pliable. A bit like a slightly over-ripe blueberry.


The pod was gently pulled from the plant. If it doesn't come off easily with a gentle tug, it may not be ready.


I sliced the pod open with an exacto knife. As you can see, these make many seed.


The seed are very small and a little hard to separate from all the 'goo' that holds them. Just remove all the goo possible and wash them off as best you can with plain tap water.


I didn't bother to dry them off since I was immediately spreading them onto damp medium. I used a very tiny pot, then popped the pot into a zip lock bag and sealed it. They sat in a warm room under a plant light that was on for 16 hours a day.


They germinated in seven days and these are one week old:

Here they are at 3 weeks, still under the plant light:

As you can see, they are very slow growers. I slowly opened the baggie to let a little more air in each day and finally took it off completely.
Now the challenge becomes keeping them alive and happy.

Happy growing!!


Flighty said...

Fascinating, it must be so satisfying to do that! Fingers crossed for their future.
Flighty xx

Tina said...

Hiya, Flighty!
Yes, there's something about an experiment going right that is ridiculously gratifying.
Thanks for the well wishes on their future - they may need it.

DragonStone said...

Thanks for posting this. I also have a batch of seeds growing but it seems to be a bit discouraging when they grow up and then seem to suddenly stop. A couple went transparent and keeled over. I am definitely hoping at at least one pulls through and keeps growing. It'd be neat to have one that grew from seed instead of getting it as a cutting. :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Tina, I wonder how your Schlumbergera is doing, did you get your crossings to flower?
I`m interested because I am making crossings of Schlumbergera myself, and I grow them in a nursery in Holland,
best regards,
Peter Hofland

Tina said...

Hi, Peter! Thanks for visiting.
Actually, I ended up only saving one plant which is still quite small (why couldn't children grow this slow?) and hasn't flowered yet. :/
Good luck with yours, I hope they live up to your expectations!