This is a blog post to track our experience in growing Pachypodium ambongense from seeds, planted in january 2021.
The seeds were acquired in the beginning of 2021 from baobabs.com. They arrived after roughly 2 weeks, no phyto/cites certificates needed as we are based in EU and Reunion Island is a french teritory. A total of 22 seeds were in the package.
We have planted them on 12th of January 2021. Out of a total of 22 seeds, 16 germinated and 1 died while germinating. The rest didn't germinated. We still have the 15 seedlings growing strong under grow lights.
The grow lights setup is a Spider Farmer combo, with a growth tent, filter as well as a full spectrum light with adjustable power. The setup has proven to be quite good for growing adeniums or pachypodium. For improved air ventilation, we are using a Honeywell HT-900E turbo fan which pushes in air from a side of the growth tent.
The ambient temperature in the room is roughly 22 degrees Celsius and we are growing the plants on a heating mat which we have acquired a year ago and it proved to be very successful.
The containers where we grow the seeds is a plastic lid container, around 4 cm in height and filled with soil.
The seeds were planted roughly 1 cm below soil and we kept the lid on for roughly 8 hours, taking it off for another 16 hours (usually during the night the lid is on, while during the day the lid is off).
The soil composition is adjusted to be close to what we have found as the proper environment for Pachypodium ambongense. It is designed to be slightly alkaline compared to other pachypodiums.
- 2 parts travertine (limestone based rock, 2-5mm grain size) - increases the PH of the soil
- 1 part large grain sand (2-5mm grain size) - no effect on the PH of the soil
- 2 parts pumice (2-5mm grain size) - no effects on the PH of the soil, additionally helps a bit with some basic water retention
- 1 part zeolite (2-5mm grain size) - increases the PH of the soil
- 1 part regular high quality cactus soil - fairly acidic, countered by travertine and zeolite. Helps a bit with the water retention
This soil will require constant watering (we water it every 1-2 days from the bottom). It is really fast draining and allows for a lot of aeration. This in turn allows the roots to "breathe" without becoming waterlogged even if watered very often.
We planted the seeds on 12th of January, 2021. By 15th of January 2021, 1 seed had germinated. By 21st of January 2021, 16 seeds had germinated and one germinated seed didn't make it.
Below we will try to track down the growth of the plants.
30th of January 2021
The seedlings are going strong, the first set of true leaves are already showing up. The roots are not visible in the bottom of the container, so they are still quite new.
However, for only two weeks after successfully germinating, they seem pretty happy, which makes us believe that the soil composition is about right.
12th of February 2021
The seedlings are still going strong, the second set of leaves is present for all of the seedlings, while the first spines also started to show up. The bases look like that are starting to swell a little bit, and they are looking more and more like proper pachypopdiums :).
The watering schedule is now almost every day as they consume quite a lot of water. Additionally, on the bottom of the container, some of the roots can be seen.
Overall we are quite happy with the growth currently as they seem to be on a good path to become strong, established plants.
28th of February 2021
The seedlings are going strong, with the first signs that the trunks are starting to become partially woody.