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Mr. Bowser

How to choose seedlings to graft?

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How do you choose which seedlings to graft and which to let grow on their own roots?

Got a couple hundred hybrid tricho seedlings that I'd like to graft to some peres. In the past I've always grafted the tallest and fattest seedlings of the bunch for grafting and was pretty happy with my surival rate. I've always figured if there were a few runts in the batch to let nature take its course and let them die off on their own. If I saw something that looked like a crest or albino I'm not sure if I'd want to graft or be cautious and let it grow on its own.

Has anyone grafted runts that turned out to have ugly duckling syndrome and grow up healthy, beautiful, or more interesting than the rest of the lot?

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Anything that has a unique growth pattern is usually my first choice, or rare seedlings or hybrids which you only have a few of and want to secure.

Sometimes the runts can be worth a little special attention, i had a teeny tiny trich seedling which looked kinda special so i gave it a nice pot and fresh soil and it morphed into a two headed plant.

Trust your instincts lol, cant loose really :)

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runts often are the cool freaks ie variegated/albino, mutated growth etc. my advice buy good scalpels.

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In the past I've always grafted the tallest and fattest seedlings of the bunch for grafting and was pretty happy with my surival rate. I've always figured if there were a few runts in the batch to let nature take its course and let them die off on their own. If I saw something that looked like a crest or albino I'm not sure if I'd want to graft or be cautious and let it grow on its own.

Well look at it this way, the biggest and healtheist seedlings are going to thrive weather you give them a new pot or graft them. If they will do well either way, you may as well direct your attention to the runts who are likely to struggle and possibly die without extra help.

Survival of the fittest as you say, so mutations are highly unlikely to reach maturity in the wild.. But in cultivation and using suitable grafting stock and tidy technique, you have atleast a 50/50 chance of securing a possible mutation.

Ie, my partner gave a me a small, ugly and stunted loph seedling, it turned into a definate crest but it was incredibly tiny. I wasnt so sure of my ability at peres grafting so i left it on its own roots and it died a month or two ago :(

I'm still kicking myself for not grafting it.

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Ie, my partner gave a me a small, ugly and stunted loph seedling, it turned into a definate crest but it was incredibly tiny. I wasnt so sure of my ability at peres grafting so i left it on its own roots and it died a month or two ago :(

I'm still kicking myself for not grafting it.

Great point!

I've done the same thing with the tiny runty looking seedlings... they always seem to die off on me and I'm not sure if I could graft it successfully. But really, like you said, without the extra help (of grafting) they will probably just die anyway. I've got about a dozen or so that are tiny compared to the rest of the batch, and one that is very dark purplish :o. Time to sharpen the x-acto blades :lol:

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^^LOL bogfrog, In the your first post I'm thinking what a smart girl "trust your instinct". & then I read this! :lol:

Seriously though, I would agree with bf & stillman, I prefer my cacti all natural but if it rare or a freak I will graft or if I have a lot of the same seedling going I will pick a few average looking ones to graft & leave the biggest/healthy one to grow on there own.

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Lol Jox, you only learn to trust your instincts after an incident where you don't and you miss out because of it.

Whenever possible i prioritise the survival of the freaks now!

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Excellent point bogfrog and Stillman!

I hadn't considered that and if left to my own devices would have been grafting only the healthiest seedlings.

:)

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Just found a few interesting candidates for grafting from the last batch of tricho hybrid seedlings. Got a shrivelled runt, a two headed seedling, and one that looks like its been cinched in the middle. There are a dozen or so other runts, but they seem like they will survive at least until they get big enough for a better shot at grafting. Looks like the shrivelled runt's time is running out fast.

post-9455-0-56131700-1355598006_thumb.jp

post-9455-0-89056200-1355598027_thumb.jp

post-9455-0-35293000-1355598047_thumb.jp

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that middle photo the one you have circled is definitly got some interesting cresting flavour to it, also in th esame container at the same height as the circled on but on theright side. there is either 3 seedlings close together one of those looks interesting too.

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I like the big gravel you have with them nice stability, my seedlings keep falling over because they are top heavy your guys have stabiliser on..

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Stillman, is the group of 3 seedlings close to the right edge (just below the very tall one) ? I know it would make everything so much easier if I could sew a straight line for shit :wink:

Any suggestions to plump up the shrivelled one? I was thinking to keep that tray covered overnight for a couple of nights before attempting the graft... If its not taking in moisture from the roots maybe it will through areoles at night?

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yeah below the tall ones looks like a clump with at least 1 interesting one from that photo angle anyhow.

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I've shot overhead pics of my latest tricho seedlings, and labeled each with a number. Although this makes finding growth abnormalities a bit more difficult, I should be able to keep better track of which seedlings were grafted.

From the Los Gentiles batch, there are quite a few runts (more so than the hybrids), one of which being quite pale (#7). If the seedling is albino or variegated is it overly obvious by slow growth and very light color? I've never grown an albino from seed. The other more runty ones still seem a bit too small for me to feel comfortable grafting, but they are growing very slowly and seem like they may take several more months to be large enough. :huh: Since they don't seem to be dying (yet) I'll probably just wait until a bit bigger to graft...

The Serra Blue x SS02 batch has a two headed seedling (#72), and another oddity that Stillman pointed out ( either 8,9, or 10?)

post-9455-0-85551500-1356215600_thumb.jp

post-9455-0-35355400-1356215636_thumb.jp

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Did you sow your seed over the top of your pebbles or did you place them around the babies once they hatched?

Either way they look great :) nice work

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Thanks DTB! Took me a few times to get the hang of raising seedlings. :wink:

The pebbles were sewn after the babies were pushing spines and hardened off.

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Great thread.

I agree overall with what people say, especially in regard to grafting more unusual / small seedlings. In general trichocerei grow pretty fast, so grafting isn't really necessary with faster species.

It is worth it with slower growers like pasacana, terschecki and the like though...

besides this, I got another example ...

the taquimbalensis strain I got going which was grafted has become a massive fatty clone, where its ungrafted brothers are quite slower in growth.. I am not sure if this is because the on with the grafted past is 4-5 years ahead through the graft, or that it became a super clone with grafting. would the latter be possible?

the graft was on pereskiopsis and gave an amazing boost when it took

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I'm wondering if its worth trying to graft the butt end of a potential albino, since they are so tiny... I didn't do that when I grafted an albino Spachianus and now Im wondering if I should have... I suppose its worth a shot.. Im just a bit stressed cause I wanted to graft two peruvianus seedlings but now i've got 3 possible albinos and a couple other runts in a hybrid batch, and 2 available grafting stock that are ready to go and one other with a double tip... guess I better give the babies some help.. I'm thinking of attempting to graft their 3 little bottom ends onto a single pach and see what happens...or maybe a double branched peres for kicks and squiggles..I better decide huh... lol ... I do have a dozen more peres which will be ready in a few daze and plenty more seedlings including a runt werdermannianus

This batch of seeds is reported to throw some albinos, and definitley has alot of runts.. they were sewn exactly 6 weeks ago today... I planted 33 and 33 came up in 14 days... but two more came up within 5 days after that :scratchhead:

This one looks the most promising as a possible alby

post-11432-0-87809600-1359124211_thumb.j

These two are both possibilities too

post-11432-0-72702300-1359124247_thumb.j

And these are two other runts from the same batch that appear more normal

post-11432-0-37792800-1359124277_thumb.j

Its hard as hell to find any pics around of possible albinos in their baby stage, maybe cause its hard to tell
I hope I have found some! :P If they do turn out to be beautiful misfits then I will make sure to update with pics :)

I did have a yellow one that was one of the first sprouts, but it suddenly greened up one day...I had actually stopped paying attention as I air them out every day, but just the other day I noticed that a few were showing some oddity... They've all had alot of time now tho so I have got a little faith in these babies, and all of the bigger ones are looking super happy... this was a group in my first sew! so im a little stokied

Tremendous Thread Everybody! Great tips here and I'm glad I stumbled across it... Now I feel more confident about making a few more grafts today! :)

Edited by Spine Collector
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Nice seedlings SC, they look really happy! Probably easier to graft the seedlings to the branches of the peres than pachanoi... Plus it'll look pretty crazy!

If you're grafting the butt end of a seedling, make sure there are at least a few intact aeroles on it! I'd wait til they are a bit bigger to try that.. atleast when I graft, the interface can get a bit squashed, and I'd want to be sure that there were plenty of non-squashed aeroles available to grow offsets from. Also IME upside-down grafts take almost twice as long to show real signs of plumping and growth, so they'd need enough water reserve to survive that.

Its hard as hell to find any pics around of possible albinos in their baby stage, maybe cause its hard to tell
I hope I have found some! :P If they do turn out to be beautiful misfits then I will make sure to update with pics :)

I did have a yellow one that was one of the first sprouts, but it suddenly greened up one day...

Agreed! I've been faked out by yellow runts that green up when they get bigger. I guess if they're true albinos they'll stop growing after a while...

Update:


Grafted the one head of the two headed freak on peres and its just now throwing some new spines!

Just grafted a yellow seedling that remained unusually light even after throwing a couple dozen aeroles... keeping my fingers crossed!

Stopped paying close attention to the seedlings and all of a sudden, the shriveled runt plumped up and looks like it'll be graftable after all!

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Thanks for the tips Mr B.! And congrats on your success! :)

I decided to wait another week on the seedling I put in the photos above and I grafted some others... at least one, the most off colored one, has its first set of tiny spines and I want to give it a chance to put out one more tiny little set and plus I have alot more pereskie tips that will be ready in a few daze... but since they maybe mutants (and I probably shouldn't wait too long) I will probably pass on attempting the bottoms except maybe put them on that pach.. its more like a tiny 1 inch pach with an etoliated offset just shy of 9 cm tall so its got a skinny little tip on it, like just over a cm thick.. When I grafted the Spachianus seedling it was just so tiny it didn't even have spines yet... it was about a month old and the seed casing was still attached leaving a dot... its looking funky as if chlorophyll is moving in from the stem but it just might be that I can see through it or something lol pics of that one are in "What did you do to your cacti today" thread

One of my grafts I removed from humidity the other day has shriveled just a little :( I left them in the dome for about 10 days but i've heard they can recover from this so I'm being patient... besides that and the alby, all the rest look bloated so Im assuming that means growth.. :)

double cheers from me and the happy seedlings :)

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On 1/25/2013 at 2:15 PM, Mr. Bowser said:

Nice seedlings SC, they look really happy! Probably easier to graft the seedlings to the branches of the peres than pachanoi... Plus it'll look pretty crazy!

If you're grafting the butt end of a seedling, make sure there are at least a few intact aeroles on it! I'd wait til they are a bit bigger to try that.. atleast when I graft, the interface can get a bit squashed, and I'd want to be sure that there were plenty of non-squashed aeroles available to grow offsets from. Also IME upside-down grafts take almost twice as long to show real signs of plumping and growth, so they'd need enough water reserve to survive that.

Agreed! I've been faked out by yellow runts that green up when they get bigger. I guess if they're true albinos they'll stop growing after a while...

Update:


Grafted the one head of the two headed freak on peres and its just now throwing some new spines!

Just grafted a yellow seedling that remained unusually light even after throwing a couple dozen aeroles... keeping my fingers crossed!

Stopped paying close attention to the seedlings and all of a sudden, the shriveled runt plumped up and looks like it'll be graftable after all!

 

On the subject of albino or yellow runts as you say, I've taken yellow pups from variegated cacti and grafted them to normal variegated specimens and had them green up as well where there counterpart variegated specimens stayed variegated. I've also seen what appears to be completely yellow specimens in my collectiong slowly turn green as well when grafted, so if you have an interesting cross it is definitely worth while salvaging those that may not show any visible chlorophyl by grafting them. Who knows, your specimen may turn into a healthy robust specimen capable of growing on its own if you only saved it by grafting it first. 

 

On the subject of upside down grafted seedlings, it goes without saying or it should, that a seedling must be large enough to allow you to keep some areoles on both halves if your going to grow both halves and push the areoles on both to produce new cacti. No areoles on a graft is a good way to ensure no pups.

 

My own personal philosophy on grafting seedlings and picking them... I go for those that are freakish if I see them first. 4 seed leaves get grafted before two seed leaves (cotyledons). 3 cotyledons will get grafted before 2 cotyledons. Variegates and albino get grafted before those that lack any visible variegation. Depending on what I expect or want... I also try to graft a few of the fattest plumpest seedlings I can next.Especially so if it is a terscheckii cross or something known to produce fat seedlings.

 

Other traits are picked as well such as the seedlings with the largest spines or those with the smallest spines, but those sort of traits are picked on older second round seedlings that will get grafted.

 

Lastly, if the cross is very rare or is known to only throw a few seedlings I might simply graft each and every one of those seedlings to give them an advantage as it is entirely possible to  graft a seedling and have it grow a full foot in a single year. Especially so if you can graft a two week old seedling to a nice tall tall Trichocereus that already has several feet of growth under its belt.

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