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Baby Saguaros

 
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nanometer



Joined: 30 Apr 2016
Posts: 125
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Tue Feb 06, 2018 9:02 pm    Post subject: Baby Saguaros Reply with quote

About a year and a half ago, I harvested some seeds from an ~50-60 year old saguaro (no arms yet) and planted them in the house.

Here are some pics taken with my 100mm macro (no uniform scale and not the same plant), but it does illustrate the development. They are about 6mm high now. Way worse than watching grass grow!



Here is a stereo (cross-eyed) from directly above taken with a Mity 10x with the tube lens backed off to make about 7x.



According to the Sonoran Desert Museum, it's not uncommon for them to only be 1.5-i high at 10 years.

This is going to be a long project. I expect that by year 20, I can plant them in the yard if I'm still alive.

Steve


Last edited by nanometer on Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:23 am; edited 1 time in total
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Chris S.
Site Admin


Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 3005
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 2:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting and informative post, Steve! As time goes on, I hope you'll continue keep us up to date on your saguaros.

--Chris S.
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BugEZ



Joined: 26 Mar 2011
Posts: 708
Location: Loves Park Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was born in Arizona and my family frequently visited the David Thompson Arburetum near Superior. There was one small 3 foot tall or so saguaro we were photographed next to for 12 years. It grew perhaps an inch while I shot up like a weed. They live a long time if undesturbed.

Thanks for this!

Keith
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mawyatt



Joined: 22 Aug 2013
Posts: 1509
Location: Clearwater

PostPosted: Wed Feb 07, 2018 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I visit Phoenix/Tempe and Flagstaff often for work and family respectively, heading there end of next week for both Very Happy.

I believe these only exist in this part of the world, and are protected in Az. They can absorb lots of water during the rain season (twice a year I believe) and really swell up during that time.

Very unique and beautiful, thanks for posting.

Best,
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nanometer



Joined: 30 Apr 2016
Posts: 125
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 8:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for looking guys. I was most interested in doing this because I have never seen saguaro growth from a seed documented before. I'll probably start another batch and be a little more quantitative with the documentation. I'm a little concerned that their bodies are getting darker and wondering if I'm doing something wrong with their care, but they are still growing.

I'm using a cactus soil mix. I tried regular potting soil, but it was a disaster. You have to keep them covered and sealed for the first 6 months and with regular potting soil, the mold took over.

Here's the seed surface using the 20x mitty:
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Chris S.
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Joined: 05 Apr 2009
Posts: 3005
Location: Ohio, USA

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nanometer wrote:
I was most interested in doing this because I have never seen saguaro growth from a seed documented before.

Indeed!

On looking at the "1 month" image in your post, I was struck by the two-part symmetry of the seedlings. The two parts look like cotyledons, indicating that these cacti are dicots. As cacti are scarce in Ohio, I'd never thought about whether they were dicots or monocots, and looked it up to confirm.

One return stated: "Cactus are dicots. The way you can usually tell is through leaf veins (parallel or net), but that's understandably hard in cactus. The other easy way is through flowers: generally, monocots have flower parts in 3's and dicots in 4's or 5's. But cactus have more petals than you'd want to count. If you ever saw a seedling cactus, it would have 2 cotyledons ("seed wings"), but how many cactus seedlings have you seen?" (Emphasis mine.)

Exactly. That is, until your post. Very Happy

--Chris S.
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Cactusdave



Joined: 09 Jun 2009
Posts: 1619
Location: Bromley, Kent, UK

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A thread of particular interest to me. As my avatar implies I used to grow cacti as a hobby. My personal circumstances have changed and my plants are now rather neglected, but my archive drive has plenty of pictures of cacti from seed to seedlings to flowering plants, and also of the some of the more welcome insect visitors they receive. Cacti are just as prone to pests as any other cultivated plants and creatures like thrips, mealy bugs and spider mites can devastate a collection in no time. Crying or Very sad Rather than hijack this thread I'll start a new one for my old photos, and I promise nanometer that it will be saguaro-free!
David
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nanometer



Joined: 30 Apr 2016
Posts: 125
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chris: Thanks for the explanations. I don't know much of anything about plants so I will be looking up the terms you mentioned. I have never seen seedlings in the desert. Only the most well-hidden seedlings must survive. Up until about 3 months, I have to guess that the quail would gobble up every one they could find, and they dig in the dirt everywhere to expose food. The hammer head appearance of the seedlings was a surprise to me.

CactusDave: I don't mind the thread getting hijacked! Thanks for the info on pests. Maybe I'll outlive these seedlings afterall! I'll be on the lookout for your post as I'm sure it will be interesting. After reading your post, I put some more seeds into another pot. Now we'll see if 2 yr old seeds germinate.
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Rudi



Joined: 23 Oct 2014
Posts: 46
Location: Temse, Belgium

PostPosted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great pictures nanometer, as said in the post from Cactusdave, this brings back old memories, going back to the seventies- eighties....so getting a bit older now, and wiser perhaps??? Laughing Laughing
I have never grown Saguaro myself, so looking forward to the
development off the seedlings.
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nanometer



Joined: 30 Apr 2016
Posts: 125
Location: Tucson, AZ

PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of my friends did some looking into saguaro growing after he saw my pics.

This paper

http://arizona.openrepository.com/arizona/handle/10150/556548

shows saguaros 10x taller than mine at 2 years (6cm)! Turns out when they are young, they respond to lots of watering and grow much faster.

Now I know what happens when you give them each 2 drops of water once per month! So I've stepped up my watering a lot.
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