Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

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Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#1  Postby Spination » Fri Feb 12, 2016 3:50 pm

I spent a few hours yesterday potting up Aloe ferox seedlings again from 2014, so I was in the mood today to do something about fresh seedlings of Aloe plicatiis. This particular batch started out at the end of November, and due to acquiring a new lighting set up (Mars Hydro 300 LED) mid December, these little guys started growing like crazy. The lights are set up to basically augment natural lighting, except set to come on pre-dawn until mid morning, then back on late afternoon until after dark. The idea is to provide more useful blue and red wavelengths and extend their photoperiod. Here's some pics of the process.

Dec 17 a few weeks old, starting with new lights
2015 12 17 Aloe plicatilis seedlings c (2) X700.jpg
2015 12 17 Aloe plicatilis seedlings c (2) X700.jpg (236.19 KiB) Viewed 464 times


12 days later
2015 12 29 A plicatillis seedlings x750.jpg
2015 12 29 A plicatillis seedlings x750.jpg (255.67 KiB) Viewed 464 times


3 weeks later
2016 01 22 Aloe plicatillis seeds b X750.jpg
2016 01 22 Aloe plicatillis seeds b X750.jpg (110.17 KiB) Viewed 464 times


Today. How many of these guys do you think are in there? Couple dozen or so? That's what I thought...
2016 02 12 Aloe plicatilis seedlings a x750.jpg
2016 02 12 Aloe plicatilis seedlings a x750.jpg (227.69 KiB) Viewed 464 times


Would you believe.......... 63? Glad I took car of this now before the roots got too tangled up.
2016 02 12 Aloe plicatilis seedlings b x750.jpg
2016 02 12 Aloe plicatilis seedlings b x750.jpg (305.55 KiB) Viewed 464 times


Each now in it's own little pot - there's the roughly 5 x 5" container they all came out of in the background!
2016 02 12 Aloe plicatilis seedlings d x750.jpg
2016 02 12 Aloe plicatilis seedlings d x750.jpg (246.72 KiB) Viewed 464 times


New home. No more seedling heat mats, but warmer housing, and still will be enjoying the LEDs since I picked up several units after the first one. Small "farm-house" heater has thermostat to kick on at night to prevent temp from dropping below 45 or so.
2016 02 12 Aloe plicatilis seedlings e X750.jpg
2016 02 12 Aloe plicatilis seedlings e X750.jpg (118.92 KiB) Viewed 464 times
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#2  Postby Viegener » Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:50 pm

I've been following your seedling adventures & it makes me want to get a heating mat & LED lights. Mostly I've found seedlings too cumbersome & pokey, but these are moving so fast! I'm especially tempted to try Agave albopilosa seeds... think about what a hillside of them might look like eventually.

I've been looking at the Mars Hydro 300 LEDs and there seem to be two kinds, one older than the other. The older one has like 100 3w lights and the new one 60 5w ones. Is that right? Which do you have?

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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#3  Postby Spination » Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:52 pm

Matt,
I got the ones on Ebay from the seller Marshydro, which I assume must be directly connected to the source. At only $63 with free shipping, I saw no reason not to try it out. I read great things about it on the BCSS website forums. Mine is the newer version with 60 5W. Within days, I could actually see my plants growing from day to day. I know, that sounds like an outrageous statement, but it's true. I thought perhaps it was a case of expectation influencing perception of reality, but pictures don't lie. I know I've seen those same units out there for $100 plus, so I thought I should get more while the getting was good. Now I have 5 - 4 in use and 1 for another greenhouse kit I'm currently installing. At that price, I may stock a couple more as spares.
Key specs are: 4377 lumens /spectrum 430-440nm, 450-475nm, 620-630nm, 650-660nm / Lifespan 50,000-100,000 hours. I've spent as much or more money for a 4' florescent lighting fixture, and the 2 bulbs (Sylvania Grow Lux) for them...and they can't compete in any way. I love the lower operating cost, no heat generated to deal with, no ballast and light bulbs to fail and replace, no energy wasted on producing light the plants don't really need. I have done some reading on the technology, and a 50-50 mix of red and blue may not be optimal, but I'm sure not going to custom build one myself, and for the money considering there's nothing to do but hang it up and plug it into a programmable digital timer, I'm more than satisfied. My only regret is why did it take me so long to get on board??? LOL

I highly recommend it, and I'm sure you'll enjoy the same success that I and many others are experiencing. Best of luck on the albopilosa hillside, sounds awesome!

PS They also have grow tents which greatly enhances the effectiveness of the lighting in an enclosed reflective space, but I'm fine with just hanging them in the air over the plants. I may not be getting their full benefit, but on the other hand, I don't think mixing it with natural light is such a bad thing either.

Edit - just thought of one other highly important factor. Tubes send their light out in every direction. Yes, some of it reflects back down, but so much is wasted going where it's not needed. The LEDs are highly directional ("View Angle" - 90 degrees and 120 degrees mixed - that kicks butt over 360 degrees!). Much more effective.

Best Regards,
Tom
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#4  Postby Gee.S » Fri Feb 12, 2016 7:06 pm

Dang! Almost looks like a commercial operation. One thing I have recently decided -- best to overseed and thin, just as you've shown. Seedlings growing one or two to a cell don't seem to do as well as those in crowded cells.
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#5  Postby Spination » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:21 pm

Thanks. "Almost" being the operative word. My "operation" is pretty crude yet, but not bad for a hobbyist, and getting better. I don't know why the crowded situation works so much better. I used to think the ample space for each plant made sense, but that's not the experience in the germination phase. Also, I had to let go of my perfectionist tendency, as far as spacing out each seed just so in a nice geometric pattern. I get a chuckle now just sprinkling the seeds over the surface knowing I'm not wasting my time just to achieve poorer results. The seedlings don't mind at all growing right into each other, and seem to grow faster and better for it. It would be interesting to know the actual science behind it. At this point, I can only speculate.
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#6  Postby Gee.S » Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:30 pm

Perhaps they like having some siblings to talk to: What Plants Talk About

If you haven't seen this amazing episode of Nature, I believe you'll enjoy it immensely.
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"American aloe plant," 1797, from Greek Agaue, proper name in mythology (mother of Pentheus), from agauos "noble," perhaps from agasthai "wonder at".

"Some talk the talk, and others walk the walk, but we stalk the stalk"
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#7  Postby Spination » Fri Feb 12, 2016 9:06 pm

That's as good an explanation as anything I can think of. My suspicion is some sort of symbiosis. For one thing, I didn't worry much about excessive moistness as the more plants/more roots seem to soak up moisture more effectively, perhaps in that way helping each other by allowing more oxygen to penetrate the mixture between daily water spraying/misting. That's just a wild guess though.

I just googled it, and apparently conventional wisdom is to not overcrowd. From what I'm seeing, I think conventional wisdom is wrong, as far as the germination stage is concerned, up until they need to be individually potted. To give credit where credit is due, I got the idea from Haworthia For The Collector by Rudolf Schulz, a terrific book on several levels. I tried it, I like it. D))

Thanks for mentioning What Plants Talk About, I'll be sure to check it out. :U

Edit: The text in the book is "Seedlings do not mind being crowded and seem to grow better when close together"
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#8  Postby Spination » Tue Dec 12, 2017 1:44 pm

From my first batch - one of those tiny ones pictured earlier here. I had no idea - until today when I just noticed something completely unexpected.
2017 12 12 Aloe plicatilis seedling 2 yr old b.jpg
2017 12 12 Aloe plicatilis seedling 2 yr old b.jpg (62.63 KiB) Viewed 205 times
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#9  Postby Marlon Machado » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:34 pm

Jackpot, a variegated one! I am jealous :)) Well done Tom!
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#10  Postby reality_velo » Tue Dec 12, 2017 4:48 pm

WOW, very nice!
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#11  Postby Spination » Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:02 pm

Out of about 70 initial seedlings, I'd say that was darn lucky. I had been slowly potting up the larger ones, and suddenly this AM spied an oddball sitting right there in front of my face. How I never noticed it before - a mystery. :huh: I guess when they're smaller, it must not stand out much. It's pretty obvious now though, and it's looking like the variegation is going to be really nice. ::wink:: I can't wait to grow this one bigger and bigger, so I can eventually lop off branches to root, not to mention trying out seeds from this plant once it flowers. D))
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#12  Postby mickthecactus » Wed Dec 13, 2017 2:02 am

You've found the Holy Grail!
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#13  Postby Spination » Wed Dec 13, 2017 10:32 am

Or it found me... :lol:
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#14  Postby AloeGuv'na » Sun Dec 17, 2017 9:57 pm

That's so awesome! Here's one I saw at the Dry Garden recently... gives you an idea of how much they are worth if you can see the tag. That's a pretty small one for $200.
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#15  Postby mickthecactus » Tue Dec 19, 2017 3:51 am

Spiny, where did you get the plicatilis seed from?
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Re: Aloe plicatilis seedlings - real economy of space

Post Number:#16  Postby Spination » Thu Jan 04, 2018 4:31 pm

Gosh - apologies for no reply! Really, I just missed it. The seed came from my own plant - this one here... It's been flowering every year. Each inflorescence results in a new dichotomous branching right there, so a new branch. Every year, more flowers. Also, it definitely selfs - which turns out has the unexpected advantage I'm only now coming to understand better.
2017 03 09 Aloe plicatillis X750.jpg
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2017 10 27 Aloe plicatilis a.jpg
2017 10 27 Aloe plicatilis a.jpg (71.95 KiB) Viewed 34 times


Here's the crazy thing. I've had this plant for four years, and only this week I've come to realize something I just did not notice before...
2018 01 04 Aloe plicatilis a.jpg
2018 01 04 Aloe plicatilis a.jpg (62.15 KiB) Viewed 34 times


Those leaves are not pure green. There's some streaky appearance to it. Now, realizing that I may have more than one variegated seedling only now showing it's special quality - I took a hard look at my mother plant, and I believe it's actually very faintly variegated, which is probably why it's seeds which were selfed, are generating variegates. Well, one for sure so far,
Here again is the one which brought everything to my attention. You can see the oldest leaves show nothing, that second to newest leaf showing something, and the newest leaf very obviously variegated.
2018 01 04 Aloe plicatilis c.jpg
2018 01 04 Aloe plicatilis c.jpg (83.88 KiB) Viewed 34 times


What I am sure about is that the variegation did not become apparent until it got of sufficient size. Now that many are in the 8" size and 6 or so leaf stage, I'm seeing that there are others which may be variegated as well.
It could be a case of just wanting to see something that might not be there, but I don't think so. Here are a couple of others which may be in the process of showing that they might also be variegated. The leaves do show some sort of streaky coloration... which I think it will become more apparent one way or the other as they develop further. They're not all like that, but it's starting to look like there may be more than one as they grow and show better what stuff they're made of. ::wink::
2018 01 04 Aloe plicatilis b.jpg
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2018 01 04 Aloe plicatilis d.jpg
2018 01 04 Aloe plicatilis d.jpg (59.16 KiB) Viewed 34 times


Mick - are you looking for some seeds? I only sowed a few of what I had, and then the next season I got more seeds too. I just didn't think I would need hundreds of these seedlings growing, but now perhaps I see I thought wrong... :lol: I expect the seeds are good for a couple of years... I also have a small batch growing from the newest bunch of seeds. I should probably sow another batch of the original seed. Anyway, it looks like it's about a two year deal after germination before one sees exactly what there is variegation-wise among the seedlings...

Also, it's soon time for the plant to be blooming once again - which means a whole new batch of seeds on the way.
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