Karsty

Platycerium from spores

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Hey Folks,

Does anyone have any experience, or advice, or links to information, about cultivating Platyceriums from spores?

I've acquired a bunch of spores from Siam Exotica...

P. alcicorne Vassei
P. bifurcatum x willinckii
P. coronarium
P. coronarium Philippense Dwarf form
P. grande
P. hillii
P. ridleyi
P. veitchii
P. wandae

I have them sown in sterile conditions in moderate to shady light, at present at room temperatures.....

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Hi Karsty

I've grown various ferns from spores on several occasions over the years. I've not found Platycerium to be particularly easy compared with other ferns, but that may be due to spores not being fresh enough or not using the right medium. I'd suggest using a fairly rough textured medium of mixed substrates of low nutrient content such as peat granules, perlite, bark etc, in the hope that some of the spores will grow on something that they like!

Spores do best sown in spring in my experience, they seem to benefit from the lengthening days, of course if you use artificial lights that is another matter. I use boiling water to sterilise the substrate and then sow very sparingly. I'd probably move them to a warmer spot, if germination is too slow they inevitably get overgrown by algae.

Thanks for the info about Siam Exotics, I'd not come across them before, I've ordered some Platycerium veitchii spores myself!

 

I have Platycerium 'Lemoinei' which grows very well in full sun in a cool greenhouse (it is a hybrid with veitchii as one of the parents so likes the sun). It is quite easy to grow and very pretty with silver fertile fronds, and soon offsets to make a good clump. It has spores but I've never bothered to sow them.

 

Good luck with your spores!

:yes:

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On 9/8/2017 at 10:54 PM, Ali Baba said:

Thanks for the info about Siam Exotics, I'd not come across them before, I've ordered some Platycerium veitchii spores myself!

I thought they had a minimum order of $100 ?

Spontaneous fern spore germination on the side of my Dicksonia antarctica...

https://photos.app.goo.gl/299Fyc0v5aPPRUhC2

NrZk80PcaeBAWd9x1gIIbbxIe2qzL7koQ-jPKhRPgHrNBx3KUnNpEaTKg5hGbzJyOI4fWzf3jEnfPMAUiGBlRX_k_MwHLcn00PdKkf5J7Gi597wsot7DjrwMrMcZfPdLbFPR19zDRQTTofWBz978F9YRwtzQCjDDbbTpR5naYvCZ4eSVfUWTuEoKl-KiktkKWf7jkTda365S6iVlUPxYHgRkzIQicovHyl9BXeP5B4VxJ7j6G8Cws_zzNA2pE6ZC6gx1__P9DdduCwp1rN8x67UwGgMvWnGEKkEJg1IwZNL3pu7DunPBKbzuOmo_HtXL-LjaT7v8U3I6D-VSAQQCcmAXEBChbwxSI3xZ_RV1iDM2rUPc4bikC5TDOVF-hT03ndEi6-fOYYUU5sb6LWjCpHh_qtthZO4Y_jn9YCkFfmvaDlk135XHwQ_knoQV_qJnmo9-gkg4F5-rmXzAYYhzd2LGWhTE68lKYXmRRA-CLHaoQuf6kTLZI_lHBiubsivvxxsQh1UxY28GZROQ2Pbs3102NF1dkyXZO4SNOueXiv4JYCm_hktyqUpVzhQy7Mkr0WIvSd_V6YHATv39bETkWcFHuT8sCZWKaZsyGrfMfw=w717-h950-no

Before I went on holiday this summer and couldn't water it for 8 days it was literally covered in hundreds and hundreds of them, up to about 10-12mm in size. Still, I don't mind, there's going to be plenty on it, and I also dusted it with the Platycerium spores yesterday.

Edited by Karsty

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$100 for plants but no minimum order for spores apparently :yes:

 

It will be interesting to see what types of fern grow on the dicksonia. Mostly UK natives or spores from the original habitat of the dicksonia?

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Well, It remains to be seen what these little prothallia become. I've got a very pretty small-leaved Adiantum dotted around, which is constantly producing spores.

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Looks good. I usually stand my pots in a little cooled boiled water with a very weak addition of potassium permanganate . The water prevents the pots from drying out and the permanganate is supposed to stop algal growth. There are many ways to grow spores though, the key is to keep the soil moist and keep out those other spores from your cultivated ferns. Or you may end up with pots of dryopteris or adiantum :yes:

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I was amazed, a few days ago I noticed spores were germinating!

So far, just P. alcicorne 'Vassei', P. grande, and P. ridleyi.

This is a photo of ridleyi, bit difficult to show anything, but you can see green through the cling film. I have these 3 pots lying on their sides now to give them a good orientation from the start. I can see I have sown far, far too many spores!

Lg0a-DyJyUcMfevBnjE-7cBTaQJDUOVT01NyqTX9

https://photos.app.goo.gl/MiekRQ4rhGxNZpIs2

I know, the photo is bad!

 

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That's good, no sign of germination of my veitchii spores yet but they are about 3 weeks or so behind yours


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Hi Ali,

I sowed them on 8th September. Onto "New Horizon Peat-free and organic multi-purpose compost". The day before I first cleaned the pots and sterilised them with boiling water. Then put the compost in the pots, then ran boiling water through them and immediately covered them individually with cling-film. Then sowed the spores the next day.

Edited by Karsty

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Thanks, so about 5 weeks from sowing. I sowed mine on 25th on a bark/peat/perlite mix, so I guess that the first prothalli should be visible around the end of October all things being equal


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Let's hope all things are equal! 

By the way, the really handy thing about the compost I used is that once you've given it a thorough watering, it clings together in one lump really well, so turning the pots on their side is no problem at all.

Edited by Karsty

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Here's an update...

These have not yet started to germinate...

P. bifurcatum x willinckii
P. coronarium Philippense Dwarf form
P. hillii
P. veitchii

So I have just sown a new batch on pure moss peat, first sterilised with boiling water. This time I added a slight sprinkle of TNC MycorrMax. The idea with using moss peat is presumably it is more acid than the first compost, and pH might have an effect on germination.

And I have converted the whole set up so it is vertical, surrounded by the heat mat keeping it about 27-28°C....

yH96twG1AnOBQDQjn4NMjQ-WKmhcBaOPrZmJdwPw

https://photos.app.goo.gl/KtKQkxSVb3edI15F2

 

Edited by Karsty

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Sadly all things don’t appear to be equal [emoji53] no germination of veitchii thus far. I’ve moved the pot to a cooler better lit spot which may help. I will repeat sow in spring as increasing day length apparently improves germination


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Hey Ali, good to hear from you!

I also have no results from veitchii, not on either substrate. I don't know if a temperature drop will help, but may be worth a try. I seems it is a lithophyte, and grows in semi desert conditions, with the rocks reaching high temperatures - http://www.platycerium.co.za/p__veitchii.htm

Maybe it needs a bit of sun + heat + neglect?

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Certainly the hybrid Lemoinii, (which has veitchii as one parent ) is happy in dry sunny conditions and tolerates the cold . However the gametophytes will need moisture to grow, but as you say may well need extra sun. I would tend to suspect unripe spores though as inspection of the dried contents of the spore package showed very few free spores, and lots still in the sporangia. That suggests the sporangia have been scraped from the frond surface, rather than allowing the spores to release naturally. Time will tell

 

 

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19 hours ago, Ali Baba said:

inspection of the dried contents of the spore package showed very few free spores, and lots still in the sporangia.

Ali, did you use a microscope to see this?

So it suggests they were scraped off too early?

I have a Platycerium superbum which I bought from Perfect Plants. It was pretty mature when I got it over a year ago, but now the whole beast is nearly a metre from top to bottom, and it's growing its second fertile frond, with a huge spore patch developing on it, and it is just growing in my flat near to a SW facing window, no fancy greenhouse conditions!

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31 minutes ago, Karsty said:

Ali, did you use a microscope to see this?

So it suggests they were scraped off too early?

Yes I have a low power binocular  microscope so I had a look with the x20 lens. It does suggest that, normally when I collect spores I check for ripeness and then put a cut frond on a piece of paper overnight. If the spores are ripe all the sporangia will release the spores onto the paper. If not ripe

 you get very few or no spores.

 

That superbum sounds spectacular! Platycerium are quite tough and tolerant of low humidity. My Lemoinii is in a too small hanging basket in my unshaded greenhouse and gets very little water all year around, less in winter. It has fronds about 50 cm long and is clumping up vigorously, every few years I chuck the whole thing away save one offshoot and start again...

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3 minutes ago, Ali Baba said:

every few years I chuck the whole thing away save one offshoot and start again...

Are you kidding me???

Please, next time you want to do that, let me buy the throwaways from you! Platyceriums are among my most favourite of plants, and I am always keen to obtain more varieties!

I'm serious!

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You can have a bit for free! No worries I’ll let you know next time I decide to chop it up [emoji3]


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That’s not likely to come to much, it throws small plantlets about 2 or 3 inches across which establish easily and don’t weigh a lot!


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