Lopezia hirsuta

Lopezia hirsuta

Germinating the seeds


When to plant -- Plant them when you receive them for best results

Getting started -- Use small containers or cups that have drainage holes.

 This plant prefers a well-draining soil.  A typical mix to germinate them in is 2 parts perlite to 1 part coir fiber or peat, with some slow-release fertilizer mixed in.  An alternate mix is 3 parts potting soil to 2 part perlite.  Screen the mix of any large chunks.

 The seeds are small, so work in a well-lit area.  Fill the pots with the mix, and place 1-2 seeds on top.  An easy way to pick up the seeds is by breathing on your finger tip to lightly moisten it, then dabbing the seeds with it.  Cover the seeds with 1/8 inch (3 mm) of soil, and add water until the soil is evenly moist (but not saturated).

 Until the seeds sprout, ensure that the surface soil stays moist.  A plastic bag or dome may be used to maintain moisture, but leave it open slightly to allow some fresh air in.

 The ideal temperature for germination is about 68 to 77 degrees F (20-25C).  A little cooler at night is ok.  Avoid letting the seeds get above 80 F (27C) for prolonged periods.  I recommend placing a minimum/maximum thermometer near the pots, especially if using a heating mat.  Keep them in a bright spot out of direct sunlight.

 The seeds should start germinating within 6 to 8 weeks and continue for a month.  Cooler temperatures may slow germination.  Once they sprout, increase air circulation a bit, to avoid rot.

Lighting -- Once the seeds sprout, give bright shade, or filtered sunlight.  A fluorescent or LED bulb kept a few inches (10 cm) away provides the right amount of light.   Avoid prolonged, direct sunlight until the plants are 2 months old. 

 Continue keeping the soil surface moist the first month, but don't keep it perpetually soggy either. 

 If your tap water is very alkaline or "hard", meaning high in minerals, it's best to use bottled water or rainwater.

Fertilizing -- When they are 1 week old, give a very light dose of liquid fertilizer (about 1/8 strength), and repeat 2 weeks later.  Hydroponic fertilizer is ideal for young seedlings, since it is easily absorbed and complete.  Once they are a month old, you may switch to a general-purpose granular fertilizer, feeding about every 2 months. 

Climate -- It enjoys the cool climate that i live in.  I have no information about its hardiness, so consider it experimental in hot conditions.  I don't know if it can survive frost.  Since it is a forest plant, it enjoys filtered sun.  It probably will need protection from strong afternoon sun.  The humidity should be above about 40-45%.  Indoors, if the humidity is too low, consider using an ultrasonic room humidifier, which you can buy at home-improvement stores and thrift shops.

Transplanting -- Wait until the plants are at least 3 months old before repotting.  Water the soil before transplanting, to keep the soil ball from breaking apart, which can damage the roots.

Have fun growing them!

- Jeff

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