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87 people found this helpful
These seeds are a hassle, but they WILL grow if you treat them right
on January 16, 2011
I ordered a pack of these seeds from this seller several months ago, of which I managed to get exactly 5 to sprout. I've worked with succulents before, but never lithops, so I consider this to be an acceptable germination rate.
Sprouting cacti and succulents is fairly intensive work. Do not undertake this project unless you can devote time to your plants at least twice a day, several minutes a day, for several weeks.
0) Cactus/succulent seeds are almost microscopic. Plant them in calm, windless conditions, and don't use your fingers (the seeds will stick). Treat them carefully, do not let them be disturbed while germinating (they are exceptionally fragile), and be patient with them - it will take weeks or months before they grow to a visible size.
1) Succulent seeds are most easily germinated indoors, under a constant artificial light (any regular fluorescent light is great at this - just take care to prevent the lamp from getting wet during watering). Protect young plants from high heat and evaporation, as sprouts are quite vulnerable to drying out (at least compared to mature succulents).
2) Succulent seeds should be planted within about the uppermost 1-3 mm of soil. Plant them much deeper and they won't be able to reach the light.
3) Succulent seeds and sprouts should only ever be watered with a mister or spray bottle. Use about 3-10 sprays per square inch of soil (equivalent to roughly 1-3 teaspoons of water). Do this however often is necessary to keep the soil slightly moist, even 2-3 times per day if necessary. If you find yourself having to do this too often, consider covering your sprouts with a glass lid to slow the rate of evaporation. (Make sure to take the lid off for at least several minutes every day - plants need air too.) Once the sprouts are a bit larger (about 2mm diameter), you can water them less frequently (you should also remove the glass lid at this point, if you used one) - although they will still need water once or twice a week, the sprouts should now be MUCH hardier against heat and aridity.
4) Succulent seeds are almost microscopic (I already said this, but it bears repeating). They need to absorb tens of thousands of times their original volume in water before they can even be called "tiny." It will take a long time to establish them - even after a year they will still be quite small. For lithops (living stones), this will take more than a week and even up to two months, depending on conditions. This is why you must be PATIENT - there will be a long phase while your plants are virtually invisible and yet extremely vulnerable. You will need to be meticulous about caring for your plants during this phase, even if it seems as though you're just tending a pot of sand and dirt.
5) Succulents are usually adapted to low-quality, sandy soil with very good drainage, and lithops are not an exception. I recommend a mixture of about 30% potting soil and 70% washed sand for the uppermost half-inch of bedding, and about 50/50 sand/soil for the remaining bedding.