Purchase nothing but fresh seeds; their percentage of germination is much greater than that of old and indeterminate stock. To be sure of the quality buy only from established seedsmen. Then, too, fresh seeds will usually germinate within a week ortwo, while older ones require months.
Wash the seeds in Sernesan, a commercial mercuric product, which helps materially to prevent damping-off, the arch enemy of all seedlings. Directions for using and proper strengths will be found listed with the package.
Seeds may be planted either in pots or flats, which should be provided with a piece of glass to fit over the top. For a potting mixture use one-half peat moss (rubbed fine) and one-half sharp sand. Use plenty of drainage material.
When the mixture has been placed in pot or flat, spray with Semesan, again for the purpose of controlling damping off, and plant the seeds carefully in rows-scar-side down; then cover with a little sand. Supply moisture by standing the container in a saucer or tray of water, rather than by spraying the surface. Cover with glass and wipe its inner surface each morning to remove collected moisture (condensation). Maintain a temperature of as near 80 degrees as possible until growth begins; after that, 70 degrees is suitable. As soon as the seeds germinate, lift the glass a trifle to allow ventilation, and gradually increase the degree of ventilation as the seedlings grow larger. Transplant seedlings-after several groups of spines appear-to another container filled with Potting Mixture 6. Probably the little cacti will be large enough to pot separately by the following spring.