Sandoval at Fresno - Cactus Seed Germination

Karl Church
Tue, 11 Jun 2013 21:12:19 PDT
Eugene, a light covering of sand (1-2 mm) is considerably different than a
light proof covering of aluminum foil. You might find sand is quite
translucent & provides stability to the small seeds.
On Jun 11, 2013 8:22 PM, "Eugene Zielinski" <> wrote:

> David, and others.
> I realize this is a bit off topic, but I want to share something I learned
> about cactus seed germination, by experiment.  The smaller globular cacti,
> such as Mammillaria, Matucana, Lobivia, Trichocereus, etc. require LIGHT
> for germination.  Therefore, covering the seed with "a thin layer of sand"
> will almost guarantee erratic germination.
> I tried the following experiment.  I took equal numbers of seed (about 20)
> of several species.  They were planted in two containers on the surface of
> the growing medium.  One container was left uncovered (well...covered with
> clear plastic); the other was covered with aluminum foil.  Both were placed
> about 4 inches (10 cm) under regular fluorescent tubes which were on for
> about 12 hours a day.  Temperature was about 70 F (20 C).  I had complete
> germination within 2-3 weeks for the uncovered containers and no
> germination in the covered containers (until I removed the aluminum foil
> and exposed them to light).  I did not try this with a lot of species, but
> I am convinced of the light requirement.
> I also tried this with some opuntia relatives.  They did not respond to
> light, but germinated erratically, and in low numbers.
> Give the Sandoval method a try, but without the covering of sand.  You may
> be pleasantly surprised at how easily cactus seed germinates.
> Eugene Zielinski
> Prescott Valley, AZ
> > [Original Message]
> > From: David Ehrlich <>
> > To: Pacific Bulb Society <>
> > Date: 6/11/2013 6:31:29 PM
> > Subject: [pbs] Sandoval at Fresno
> >
> > I attended Ernesto Sandoval’s lecture on South African bulbs Thursday
> evening at
> the Fresno Cactus and Succulent Society...
> He demonstrated a technique for seed germination which I really liked, and
> shall
> be trying out in the future.  He plants the seeds in a well-drained mix
> (like
> vermiculite, perlite, pumice, etc.), covers them with a thin layer of sand,
> waters them and lets them drain thoroughly, then encloses the pots in a
> zip-lock
> baggie.  When the seed germinate, he opens the zipper to allow air
> circulation.
> As they become sturdier, he removes them from the baggies; eventually he
> plants
> them out.  His modus is to not stress the plants with too much change at a
> time.  Sounds sensible to me.
> David Ehrlich
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