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Cactus Heaven 2000 Seeds

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Cactus Heaven 2000 Seeds

This batch of seeds consists only of Astrophytum asterias. Well, I was meaning to get a few species, but a chance correspondence with a fellow Malaysian collector who's into growing from seed led to a shared shipment. Since he was getting some CITES-restricted seeds, I took the chance to get some CITES-restricted seeds as well.

I chose Astrophytum asterias as this species is rarely sold in Malaysia. Specialist nurseries have them, but only for show and not for sale. This is probably due to the fact that they import plants, and importing CITES-restricted plants is expensive compared with importing seeds of the same species. (Note: as of 2002, the species seem to be off the CITES list) The added advantage is that most Astrophytum seeds are large, they germinate quickly without trouble and the seedlings are strong.

Germination time (3 days) A container of seedling pots (11 days)
Closeup of a few young seedlings (11 days) A pot of seedlings (11 days)

A total of 310 seeds were sown on 14 June 2000. The seed list is detailed in another page. Germination started after 3 days, from 17 June. Eventually 267 germinated (over 80%). Of those which germinated, 11 were deformed while a further 7 were red mutants. I tried grafting the red ones but they were very small and did not survive. See the Astrophytum Graft Page for more information.

After 10 months (April 2001), 249 were still alive, to my relief. This included a few of the deformed ones. One of the seedlings has 2 growing points. The reason for the much lower mortality rate is the provision of constant, proper care. Previously, I lost too many seedlings needlessly due to bouts of neglect.

Jul 2000: Pots of seedlings inside a container Jul 2000: Another photo

Using the container system, I check the seedlings between once a week to twice a week. The containers were placed on a shelf by a window. The location is not ideal, it faces south, but the seedlings did not etiolate.

Astrophytum asterias seedlings grow more slowly than Astrophytum ornatum or Astrophytum myriostigma. Since I cannot keep all of them when they grow much bigger, I plan to give most of them away to fellow collectors in Malaysia, but first, well I have to get them up to size, which is the hard part.

Aug 2000: Close-up of seedlings (2 months) Aug 2000: Even closer-up (2 months)
Aug 2000: Photo of 1 pot of Astro. asterias Aug 2000: 8 pots altogether in 1 box

I have kept the seedlings near a window (facing south) in plastic containers for a few months. It's not the ideal environment for fastest growth, but since there was no etiolation, I decided to leave them be for a while longer. These pictures were taken in August 2000.

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  Last modified: 2002-08-26  Copyright © 1997-2002.  Kein-Hong Man.  all rights reserved