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Welwitschia mirabilis


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#1 Zlatokrt

 
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Posted 24 June 2010 - 13:27 PM

Hello,
i would like to obtain this species. I found seeds for sale on some websites, but i wonder, if is it possible to buy a young plant somewhere? Does anybody have any experience with this? I would also appreciate any advice where i can buy quality seeds.
Thank you for advices...
Adam

#2 Rob-Rah

 
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Posted 24 June 2010 - 20:23 PM

The only books I have which tell you how to grow it are:

RHS Gardeners' Encyclopaedia of Plants and Flowers (1994):

Genus of one species of evergreen desert-growing perennial with a deep tap root. Has only 2 leaves, which lie on the ground and grow continuously from the base for up to 100 years. Frost tender, min 10C (50F). Needs sun and sharply drained soil. Is difficult to grow as it needs desert conditions: may succeed in a mixture of stone chippings and leaf mould, in a length of drainpipe to take its long tap root. Propagate by seed when ripe.


Sanders' Encyclopaedia of Gardening (1964)

A curious hothouse plant of mushroom-like habit of growth with leaves fringed with ribbon-like filaments. A difficult plant to grow. First introduced mid-nineteenth century.
CULTURE: Equal parts brick rubble, loam and coarse sand. Avoid root disturbance at all times. Position, a well-drained bed in a hot, dry corner. Scarcely any water required. Full exposure to sun essential. Temp., 55 [F] in winter, 75 [F] in summer


I'd say this would be more or less impossible to grow well in Europe, due to the lack of sunshine all year.... And pot-culture seems implausible due to the root morphology.

Cheers.

Edited by Rob-Rah, 24 June 2010 - 20:24 PM.


#3 ifurita

 
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Posted 25 June 2010 - 05:46 AM

I've got a couple of these hanging around at home and to be honest, they're quite easy and fuss free plants to grow. Do note however that I'm from the tropics and we've got sun and lots of rain all year round.

I'd suggest going with seed. In spite of reports that the seeds get fungal easily, I got quite good germination rates and that's again in spite of my country's crazy >90% humidity. They're not kidding about the drainage and damage to the taproot being fatal. I can't comment on how much heat it requires, since mine get lots, but in terms of sun, the plant is quite happy with some direct morning sun and being in bright/semi-shade for the rest of the day. Its probably going to require at least 4-5 hours of morning sun a day though. Using a large and/or tall pot is probably a good idea and I know that transplanting can be done if you're careful. The plant does actually like water though, so while the media should be well draining, I water mine like normal houseplants, once every 1-3 days.

#4 Zlatokrt

 
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Posted 25 June 2010 - 08:17 AM

Thank you for replies, i`ll try the seeds then. I think that it should be possible to grow this species even here, summer should not be a problem, only during winter some lightbulbs will be necessary.

#5 CactusChris

 
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Posted 25 June 2010 - 11:54 AM

I have grown this for many years and although I've lost a few from heater failures they are relativley easy to grow once they get past the first 6 months.
The key from seed is not to break the tap root, otherwise they die. Once the tap root branches the pot fills with side roots then they are more tolerant. It is important to note that these have little or no water storage so they prefer to be kept moist (imo). My oldest has male cones forming now - and i ahve move those survivors into the house in a very sunny spot.

best regards
chris

#6 gabew

 
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Posted 28 June 2010 - 00:32 AM

what kind of media do you guys use
i"ve got a few seeds but don't know what to plant them in

speaking of which how long do they last
i've been keeping these seeds just sitting on my dresser for about two mounths
i hope i didn't have to refrigerate them :thanks:
guessing from there wild climate i assume they can last a long time like this

#7 CactusChris

 
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Posted 28 June 2010 - 06:29 AM

I used an open medium of 1/3 John Innes, 1/3 sand and 1/3 cat litter (seramis type). Makes it easier to repot. I think the seeds should be ok - they must live longer than that while they wait for suitable germaination conditions.

good luck
chris

#8 gabew

 
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Posted 29 June 2010 - 13:02 PM

thanks a lot
the only other medium i could find was like super complicated with a bunch of ingredients i couldn't find anyhere
yours is a lot simpler and i know it works if it works for you!

#9 Stefano

 
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Posted 29 June 2010 - 14:52 PM

I have no idea about the plant, but, my God, what a bizarre looking thing!

#10 will9

 
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Posted 29 June 2010 - 16:00 PM

I have grown this for many years and although I've lost a few from heater failures they are relativley easy to grow once they get past the first 6 months.
The key from seed is not to break the tap root, otherwise they die. Once the tap root branches the pot fills with side roots then they are more tolerant. It is important to note that these have little or no water storage so they prefer to be kept moist (imo). My oldest has male cones forming now - and i ahve move those survivors into the house in a very sunny spot.

best regards
chris


Can you post pics off these ,it s not a very intresting plant for cultivate ,the are only 2 leafs that growing above groundlevel.You can never cultivate this like in habitat,it s a bizar plant .I am really intresting in a pic from your plant whit cones,how deep is your pot?I have seen this ones in cultivation in a pipe ,1,50 m long and 20 cm diameter for the roots ,but i never see it whit making cones :pleasantry:
cheers Willy

#11 gabew

 
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Posted 29 June 2010 - 21:21 PM

one more question
do they really need heaters
i have got a lot of different answers form different websites
so what do you guys use/what temp do you keep them at?

#12 CactusChris

 
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Posted 08 July 2010 - 07:46 AM

Eventually....

Posted Image

#13 will9

 
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Posted 08 July 2010 - 07:56 AM

Hi Chris,these are the biggest plants i ever seen in cultivation,you have done a very great work,your pots are not so deep ,i not know it s possible to grow this on that way,
thanks for sharing this pics,it s very intresting :red33:
Cheers Willy

#14 ifurita

 
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Posted 08 July 2010 - 13:08 PM

Awesome looking plants Chris!!

How old are they? Mine look like mere babies compared to these guys...

#15 CactusChris

 
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Posted 08 July 2010 - 15:48 PM

Ahh- I guess the oldest is about 10 years old or so - the others are 6-7 years old. I had a number more but winter elctricity/heater failures have taken their toll so these have been moved into the house. For those that look closely the reamins of some mealy bug are there to see - this has been the only pest that has attacked them.

chris

#16 ifurita

 
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Posted 09 July 2010 - 00:01 AM

Ahh- I guess the oldest is about 10 years old or so - the others are 6-7 years old. I had a number more but winter elctricity/heater failures have taken their toll so these have been moved into the house. For those that look closely the reamins of some mealy bug are there to see - this has been the only pest that has attacked them.

chris


Wow, no wonder...mine are a couple of years behind that. Good growing man!
I've not had mealy bugs attack mine before, but I've had some scale from time to time...