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Tuesday, 05 December 2017 18:58

Dec 6, Saving Your Own Succulent Seeds - succulent plant propagation

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You may have got your start on collecting succulents by getting a cutting, or buying a little plant from the garden center. 

They don't stay small, and eventually they could produce a flower or two. 

There is no reason why you couldn't collect some seeds and start your very own batch of succulents that way.

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However, there are a couple of important things to know about saving your own seeds; first of all, the seeds have to be fertilized, which in this case doesn't mean giving them plant food, it means that the two parts of the seed have to be brought together, just as in all other kinds of life forms.

The ovum, or eggs of the plant, have to be pollinated by, you guessed it; pollen. 

Then they change into seeds, which can be planted to grow.  Just because a plant produces flowers, it doesn't automatically mean they will produce seeds. 

Bright yellow Sempervivum flower

So, either there has to be an insect or two, or you have to take on that role, with the help of a paint brush to transfer the pollen. 

Outdoors, this is well taken care of by bees and butterflies as well as a host of other insects, but if your plants flower when they're indoors, then you have to do this part with the paint brush method.

Most succulents seem to form a spray or stalk with a series of flowers opening in succession all the way up. 

This is a tricky little trait of many plants, designed to lure the insects back over a week or two to get the nectar or what they are really doing is transferring pollen, quite by accident.

Closeup of a Sempervivum flower...how intricate!

Then, if all goes well, seeds will form and ripen.

This will depend on whether the flower gets pollinated - some require cross pollination with pollen from another plant. The tiny seed pods will appear a little fatter, and when you press them between your finger and thumb will seem hard. 

This, as well as the color (light tan color) will indicate that the seeds are formed.

The flowers still need to dry and ripen or they'll get moldy in storage. 

This can take a week or more, depending on how fleshy the stalks and flowers are.  It's surprising how wet they are for a plant that can survive such drought.

I cut them from the plant and place them right side up into a plant pot to dry. 

Once they feel dry to the touch, but before they shatter and release the seeds, it's a good time to put the whole stalk into a paper bag - those seeds are incredibly tiny, and will fall out as the seed pods ripen and dry out. 

The drying stalks of Sempervivum flowers

Shake the bag periodically for a week or two, then have a look - that dust is really seeds.

If you're really eager to do it right, put the seeds into a pill bottle, preferably with one of those tiny silica gel packets from vitamins or prescription drugs to keep them dry, and then they can be stored. 

Or not. 

Most succulents can be sown immediately, especially the tender kinds.  The hardy ones do best with the winter sow method.

So now that you have lots of lovely little plants, what will you do with them? Here are some options;

Want your succulents to survive the winter?  Learn how to bring them indoors and be happy and healthy with this free e-course;  Fill in your name and email address on the form below to enroll!

Winterizing Succulents E-Course

Winterizing Succulents E-Course - click here to sign up...






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