sagiXsagi

Ephedra sp. cultivation notes and discussion

153 posts in this topic

Compiling some interesting information I found here and on the www. I include several opinions, knowing that not all people grow stuff the same way and not everyone has the same climate and enviroment, 

 

Germinating seeds 

 

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one of the reasons we only germ these when it is really hot is because the germination is reliably short. A few days if using CCS. In cooler weather [even if it is a cool spell in summer] we often have low germ rates, germination stretched over many weeks, and many seeds and seedlings rotting during germination.

we also avoid the wetseason as this increases post germination losses

 

Torsten

 

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I've had pretty good results with ephedra seed (compared to what I've heard).

I lightly sand along the seeds edge/seem or whatever it's called, just enough to weaken the shell then, soak overnight in warm water (on top of heated reptile enclosure)

then plant out in very loose, sandy seed raising mix. Don't let the ground dry too much. For about the first 8 - 12 months the plants need a decent amount of watering, after that stage they become pretty hardy and drought tolerant.

I water my mature Ephedra plants once a week with miraclegro in summer, in winter it's more like once a month.

That's about all I know.

Good luck, more people should grow this plant!!!

EDIT; They usually germinate within 1 - 2 weeks, I've never had 1 take more than about 20 days.

 

the germinator

 

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Of the few different Ephedra species I've got, none took more than a week and a half to sprout. Though in my expirence cold stratification definitely pushed the success rate up, it still is nearly 80% for purchased/directly down seeds without any special treatment. Just keep humidity high until sprouts are visible, don't over-water, and make sure the growing medium is highly porous. (So don't use store-bought soil more or less, and get a decent amount of course sand or perlite)

 

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My secret to germination was to lay the seeds on soil (don't cover with soil) and keep moist by spraying with water using a garden sprayer at least two/three times per day. You really can't over water when germinating the seeds. The other secret is sun and heat. I used a indoor growing light and a heat mat. I had the indoor growing light setup on a timer to illuminate 16 hours per day. I had 90% success with germination. You can also probably get a similar success rate in the summer months outside. Once transplanted outside you must find the sunniest place available. In my case this was the side of my house where the seedling had sun from nearly sun up to sun down. I was having a problem with birds and rabbits eating the seedling so I fenced in the area with chicken wire. This is a real slow growing plant. My plants have been growing for 18 months. I've read that the epherdra sinica plant takes approx. 3 years to fully mature.

problems after germination 

 

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bastard things...had mine on the edge of death since i got it (1yr?)...grows, yellows dies back...comesback

do what everyone else says to do and grow sp. major

 

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if the go yellow and die back, and than come back, than they are not pampered enough, so increase the waterings, step, by step, and the fertilizer, and they will go green and strong.

reply by planthelper 

 

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important to know is, that one chooses the right ephedra plant, for the right location, for example:

Ephedra distachya, is the most frost hardy and can survive even -25 deg C.

ephedra major, can withstand high temps, but gerardiana for example hates high temps and did die at my place, but I am sure it would as well survive even a place much colder than Canberra...

sinica unfortunately suffers a bit as well from too much heat.

on a site note, diego maradona suffered a while from ephedra addiction, so did probably john smith who founded the Mormon faith.

 

planthelper 

 

On flowering time - how long does it take to reach maturity 

 

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we've just got a 2 y.o. sinensis flowering this year, but usually it is 3 years minimum.

E.major we have 5 y.o. plants [bigger than any of our other E plants] and no flowers at all.

 

Torsten 

 

propagation 

 

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Cuttings sometimes work, but only 1 in 300 or so and depends on species. Not avisable.

Layering works though. Just push down some low branches and bury them well for 1 or 2 years, then look for roots. Sometimes there will be roots, sometimes not.

 

Torsten 

 

Various short comments 

 

Fresh seed makes things a lot easier and then getting them past their seedling stage is the next hurdle

 

nice link with lots of info on cultivation 

http://www.ephedra.nu/en/botanical_2.htm

 

EDITED TO ADD MORE STUFF:

 

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Seed germination, sowing instructions for Ma Huang. Ephedra sinica is easy to grow from seeds. Sow seeds in sandy soil. Do not cover the small seeds, but press gentle into the earth. Keep seeds in constant moisture with temperatures of about 68 degrees F



also on erowid

 

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Ephedra should be planted in dry locations. It thrives in ordinary loamy soil and does very well in a loose rocky soil with full sun and little water. It is most often propagated by division of the clumps in spring, and seeds sown in a light sandy soil in early spring. It may also be propagated by layers and suckers.

 

 

 

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I've found the best way to germinate Ephedra seeds is to sow them on the surface of a good, but well draining mix. Getting a good seed raising mix and mixing it with a bit of coarse sand/fine gravel/perlite/diatomite should be ideal.

If you can be bothered, the seeds should be sown with the point down, so that the radicle emerges straight into the soil. If you just scatter the seeds across the surface without orientating each seed, the radicle may emerge skywards, resulting in the root arching over to find the soil, wasting energy in the process and risking drying out while exposed. It still works of course, but you might find yourself painstakingly trying to help out those seedlings which have not immediately found the soil.

Until the seeds germinate and the cotyledons have unfurled, you should keep them humid by whatever means you find convenient, such as polyethylene wrap placed over the pot/s, or placing them inside an enclosed plastic tub, etc. Then shortly after, harden them off to to atmospheric humidity so that the seedlings do not succumb to damping off. Be careful not to let the pot/container get too hot while enclosed with cling wrap or whatever you're using to keep it humid as they will cook (so full sun is not a good idea at first). Partial sun is good, at least initially. Full sun should be fine when they've established themselves a little. After that, treat them similarly to cacti, e.g. don't over water, etc, but also be careful not to under water. Just make sure that the soil is always at least a little moist, but not saturated.

 

on e. sinica:

 

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Seed planting and germination:  The seed is easy to germinate in a warm, sandy medium. Strew the seed on surface of very sandy potting soil (50% sand) and barely cover with more of the same potting soil.  Tamp securely and keep evenly moist until germination, which in the greenhouse or under propagation lights should take about 11 days.  If you are trying to do this outside in the garden it might take longer, as cold nights will prolong germination times.  Basically you want to provide as much control as possible (ie plant in flats, not in the garden dirt) because the seedlings are small and you need to work them up to about 4 inches before transplanting.  After germination, back off on the watering because the young seedlings can easily damp off--this is a desert plant.  We grow the plants in a sand mulch, about 4 inches thick, in the full sun, with moderate watering. They create, in 2 or 3 years, a stubby, woody trunk bristling with the jointed stems. The flower is inconspicuous, but the fruits are quite fascinating--fleshy scales adhered together at the end of the branch, colored orange, gooey and mucilagenous, and very sweet to the taste, containing the paired seeds with their flattened sides lightly clasped together. Cold hardy.

 

karode from shroomery:


 

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Very easy to germinate. Plant them about 3-5mm below soil and keep moist until they sprout. Humidity dome isn't needed, just keep the soil moist. Once they're up you let the soil dry inbetween waterings. Most people kill them by over watering. Treat like a lophophora during the growing season.

 

The plant grows segmented stems and at the segments(nodes) they produce new stems. First year is basically about producing primary stems, after this they produce secondary stems from the nodes and lower on the plant. They tend to branch more in the second year and start to "bush" out.

 

 

modern shaman:

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Do not use a humidity dome or remove the dome immediately after it emerges from seed to prevent damp-off.
Like cacti you don't want the soil to ever be wet and want it a moist the first few weeks. Watering once a week is enough after they are a little over an inch tall. 
They do well in high sunlight very early on. 
They have very weak roots at first so sow the seeds in individual pots or let them grow a few inches and transfer later.

 

 
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my fave method is to fill a 4" pot half full with good potting mix. then about 3-4cm of coarse sharp sand (CSS). Put the seed in the sand and push down about 5mm. level out hole with some extra sand.

Germination will happen in the sand, but the root will quite quickly tap into the nutrient rich potting mix below.

Transplanting seedlings causes a huge fatality rate (>50%), so best to sow in the pot where they will spend their first 6 months (ie one seed per 4" pot)

 

 

torsten 2006

 

well that's all for now, please add your own experience and discuss. 

 

PS: I will be making my first attempts the following days 

Edited by sagiXsagi
adding info
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Day #1:  sowed some 120+  seeds of Ephedra campylopoda = E.fragilis = E. foeminea  in small pots and in a sowing tray. 

 

btw the species seems to be red-listed but not in a critical state 

http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/201710/0

 

no tricks like filing and soaking the seeds , I just left the pots in 4 different positions, from relatively sunny to bright but shady to shadier but still bright to inside the house. 

 

I am afraid the seeds might have been damaged from the fruit (start of rot??) but I am not sure.

 

 I still got some that are supposed to be fresher-harvested. 

 

In any case, this is a rehearsal. I intend to get some sinica or other interesting species..

 

PM me if you can sell or trade fresh seeds of any other species.. 

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today (12 days after sowing) I saw the first seedlings sprouting... actually I saw one that seems to have sprouted a bit earlier but I saw it today for the first time and another that seems to be sprouting now.  

 

well I am not amazed by the sprouting rate hearing how its hard to keep them going, but I am at least happy I have a couple going. 

 

I also found a nice dude with whom we did a nice trade and sent me among other things 5x fresh sinica seeds. 

 

I noted that a portion of the compylopoda seed was not swollen but rather sunk in, and I remember this also at a sinica batch I tried some years ago (one sprout, which died after couple months , as me was not looking after it much) . The 5 seeds I got now seem strong, fat & swollen. 

 

Having only 5 to start, I think I will definately go with the nailing / thinning the seed exterior. 

 

Please throw in any idea or whatever... 

 

PS: I thought these were monocotyledons, so I expected to see a single baby leaf/needle - seems I was wrong!!

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They be Gymnosperms Sagi, so technically they dont have fruit/flowers (like the Angiosperms - monocots/dicots).

The "fruit" is a cone as such, they are more like a pine tree in a sense. Dinosaur plants:wink:

 

Job well done getting them up:)

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bad news for the 2 seedlings the last days... 

 

case 1. the baby seemed to have difficulty to raise its needles so I tried to help - I dont know if I did good or bad, but one of the needles died back, it seems the eye is intact so far. now sitting in filtered light

 

case 2. the baby seemed to wither (needles lied in the ground) and I placed it in a sunnier spot where it seemed to get happy. I didn't wanna water it, but it might got splashed by watering next plantlets (I had placed it among cappis to filer the sun) . next day it was weak I pulled it and it had rotted in the base. possible death cause: seed sown too deep and/or wrond soil

 

good news? 

 

3 or 4 new ones popped up today

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Some pics , please share your own

 

P1150837.jpg  P1150838.jpg  

on the right, the tall seedling, is this etiolation?? 

I am afraid to place in full sun so soon... 

 

on the sowing tray on the left, the one with the withered needle is other other of the 2 early sprouters... 

since I had watered the tray, I placed it in a warmer sunnier spot, Hope I dont kill them all... 

 

How long does the seedling stage last?? 

 

P1150804.jpg

^^^ this one died, note the eye seems to be in the soil 

 

P1150835.jpg  P1150836.jpg

Edited by sagiXsagi

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some updates:  

 

1/5 sinica sprouting..

I broke my camera... more pics soon...

a "branch" on one foeminea.. Yooohooooo!

 

foeminea stats:  27 seedlings currently, 2 deaths so far

Edited by sagiXsagi
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Loving this thread mate..

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the sinica seedling seemed less green more brownish orange when baby but soon it became like the others.

 

P1140073.jpgimg host

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update (35 days after sowing foemineas) :  36 seedlings currently 

2/5 sinica sprouted so far. indeed sinica seedling has browninsh orangish colours as soon as it sprouts, and gets green as the foemineas soon enough ... 

 

One thing I might have learnt so far is this: if in doubt whether to water or not, dont water. postpone it for the next day. For what its worth I havent potted them in the best of soils. In some , one of the two cotelydons dies back up to the eye, but they seem to manage after that. 

 

Another thing I am a bit worried is the etiolation, some seedlings are etiolating, I have placed them in bright shade with few direct sun each day, maybe 1 hour at noon.  Well since I have many, I could try out some experiments to see how they react to more sun. 

 

some notes like modern shaman's  say they like it full sun early on, but I sense this is only after a couple weeks. 

 

Also few inches or 4 inches, as notes indicate  (AKA 10 cm) might not be really weeks old, I have one at 9,5 cm right now at the germination spot (they stay a bit there, then go to more dry and sunny)  and it hasn't yet shed its seed shell. (hint hint etiolation) 

 

Any notes and thoughts are really welcomed

Edited by sagiXsagi
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update:  

one of the two sinica seedlings died, I think it was underwatering this time

the sinicas I sowed in a more appropriate soil (lots of perlite) 

 

foemineas: 40+ seedlings

 

A couple days ago I received a small but more mature plant off ebay, a sinica, I was worried at first as it came really badly packed, the soil had fallen all over, anyways I potted it up, but yeasterday I saw it began sprouting from 3 or 4 nodes, so I was pretty excited - I thought it could die.. I stupidly didn't take a shot of the root, before planting, it was pretty long but not with much side rootlets. The plantlet I bought seemed to be a result of a layered rooting of a part of a mature plant. 

 

have no camera currently, more pics pretty soon! 

 

 

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I have been informed that e. sinica seeds need to be fresh to be viable, I received some old seed in a giveaway that I had no success with, I tried again with a ~650ppm ga3 solution over night with no luck either.

My question is now is it worth trying again with a higher ga3 concentration or longer duration?? And where should I cold stratify??? Before or after ga3 soak?? Any thoughts appreciated :-)

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.

Edited by doublebenno
double post

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everything I read about this matter I have quite fresh in my mind..  

 

ephedra seed need to be fresh to germinate.. the foeminea seed I was given was harvested from local plant and was ~3 months fresh... In sowing this seed, rather in bad soil (not enough drainage), it seems I have a decent ~50%  germ rate with no technique except a right positioning in the soil (pointy edge facing side-downwards). 

 

I would say it doesnt harm to try... maybe this time, try to file/nail the seed exterior before sowing.. or file half of them, then dip in yr solution... 

 

I read that older catha seed, which also needs to be fresh to germ can be revived in part with such tricks as those you mention, but I didnt read anything about ephedra older seeds helped by this.. Because I have some older catha seed, I was willing to try this revival tek.. 

 

 

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yoohoo, if this aint sagittarian luck I dont know what is... 

 

yesterday one friend brought me a couple flowering twigs "is this ephedra" - I am like "I'll be damned!"   ... we were at the beach after swimming, you know beers amd suvlaki and chilli peppers and that friend went for a 40 min trekking with some dude who knew some trails up the hill... amazing!!

 

99% a foeminea, will go to the spot tomorrow, its supposedly huge and to my knowledge the first found in my area... 

 

Ephedras seem to be quite scattered in habitat, I suppose there are more if you look around... 

Edited by sagiXsagi
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nice one sagi 

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boy what a spot... there's not one but tens of individuals, some of which quite big and impressive. today was my second visit to the spot..  a small lane of unharmed  'forest' that was left -who knows- from pity, for shade or for the beauty of it, and has seemingly invaded the other side of the road, its actually a case fucken study of the plant, with so many individuals around, leaning and climbing on different trees.  

 

the greek foeminea species seems to be different from other ephedra species I seen in pictures, which are erect, in that its a leaner, and resembles much the behaviour of either climber or crawler, judging from the result... 

 

I read somewhere this is a short living genus, but I am not really sure, these bushes seem pretty old and I will need several visits to get the whole picture. F.e. to try and find the trunks of the bigger ones to observe and shoot.

 

I am also happy to share these first habitat pics with this particular board, a very special place in the world for me and world ethnobotany at large

 

P1140129.jpg  14081233_10154443092289108_1125510341_n.

 

13989477_10154436905814108_771787548_n.j  14011876_10154436905709108_1789367168_n.

 14018133_10154436905704108_867084528_n.j

 

P1140120.jpgimage host

 

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one reel cool pic of foeminea in all its mediterranean glory, groing on an olive 

 

P1140125.jpgimage host 

 

P1140126.jpg  P1140128.jpg

 

 

PS: tasted a fruit.. its indeed sweetish ... 

 

 

 

Edited by sagiXsagi
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reading through this, it has to be said, I am having sproutings of foemineas ( I had put 4 seeds per pot)  at approx. 50+ days after sowing. Reminds me of that Torsten comment how sprouting spreads in a wide area due to temps, and sowing must be done in the time of optimal temps or something,  I guess I could attempt with even fresher seed. 

 

there should be a seed give away of fresh E. foeminea seeds, PM me if yr interested.... I might just send it to the people that would most seriously try to master the cultivation of this ancient plant.  and to such people I would love to gift the fruits I wil harvest.. 

 

I understand, that oz, is , again a problem, due to strict custom rules on plants, or maybe I am mistakening.. 

 

 

Edited by sagiXsagi

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I have taken a couple rooted branches without harming or stressing the mother plants, plus I found a patch of (many?) young, it seems, patch ,that has grown in a dirt road inside an olive grove.. the olive grove seems tidy and machinery obvious get in and fuck up the patch, which is now sprouting. 

 

I got some more nice pics as well, a couple plants / brantches are now creating fruits... forming fruits look like flowerbuds, but dont make any mistakes, this is an ancient plant with cones. 

 

All the (60 days now?) foeminea sedlings I have transplanted, the roots are weak and scarce, but it seems the root is going straight down, so tap root means a large deep container... I remember seeing an argyreia in very small pot in a friends house up northern greece, that refused to make a vine or anything... 

 

Please if you have any knowledgable friends, adress them here.. Where is planthelper nowdays? or some other mofos like tst tantra 

 

 

Edited by sagiXsagi

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my older, bought and not seed grown sinica seems to be doing ok.. so do some of the foeminea rooted cuttings I took (the bigger one started throwing a couple sprouts after it dried away the biggest portion of the green needles and branches. 

 

foeminea seems to have a mess of roots, and it seems much of a crawler.. I dont know if that kind of cuttings would be possible for other species without harming the mother plant.. I found an awesome spot where for some reason a complex of plants seems to be re-sprouting, possibly after plowing of the olive grove.. Cant tell if its an old plant re sprouting, or several plants that are sprouting from the roots...

 

I also checked a couple cuttings I tried a couple weeks ago, to be honest, not expecting anything, and one TO MY AMAZEMENT, has rooted!!!   took some more rooted cuttings, now I trimmed their leaves a bit... 

 

I also took some of the roots I messed up, and potted them.. Perhaps they too will throw branches.. if they do, it might be an awesome way to propagate these plants...

 

PS: I checked my books for E species. fragilis is described as crawler, sprawling or climbing, and campylopoda as a ssp with even more fragil stems and white (not yellow or brown) pith.... 

Edited by sagiXsagi

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E. sinica  - got it off the mail as rooted cutting or something

Thankfully it took, the "hand" photos indicate recent growth

P1140752.jpg

P1140753.jpg

P1140754.jpg

 

E. foeminea seedlings and rootted cuttings I took from habitat 

 

 

P1140749.jpg

P1140750.jpg

P1140771.jpg

 

these last three following, are in a less favorable spot sun wise, but a pretty big metal barel sized pot, let's see it they will survive and maybe climb.. there are several different cuttings in there... 

P1140772.jpg

P1140773.jpg


P1140774.jpg

 

 

Edited by sagiXsagi
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then there's this awesome thread with pictures of central asian species... 

Species equisetina intermedia fedtschenkoae  gerardiana &  regeliana  are mentioned along with beautiful habitat photos. 

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Hey sagiXsagi have you considered sprouting seeds in coco coir?  A relative's friend in Turkey starts them in pots in pure shredded coco coir and feeds them a home made

concoction of nutrients in solution.

They really take off fast. You can ofcourse use pre made hydroponic solution of ya lazy or something.

The coco provides excellent drainage and stability for the long tap root, whilst giving you a good way to gauge how hungry or how dry the roots are - this helps take the guess work out of how much food it requires and also keeps the roots from rotting from too much water. After a year or two of sitting on her balcony she plants them out in her garden.

I think i might have taken some photos last time i visited but i can dig em out for you if you want.

Grous photos mang.

 

Edited by etherealdrifter
spelling
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Sure I would like you to look for the photos.. What species does she grow? Even cooler, you might contact her to send me some fresh seeds :P 

 

There are a couple references that getting them to 2 years old is the easy part. I haven't used coco for anything, and I am not the feeding type, but I might check your tip for xerophytic species (foeminea seems like a faster grower and unlike other species... What size is the pot she sows? no repotting till the 2 years of growth? got to be a deep pot no? 

 

 

 

 

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