When To Plant Cactus Seeds

The cactus blossoms produce seeds. If you want to try collecting them, pick the faded blooms and put them in a tiny paper bag. As soon as the blossoms have completely dried out, you can find the seeds. As many seeds are sold online, you can also buy them. Make sure you’re buying from a reliable source by checking. You want seeds that are healthy and likely to grow.

The seed must be awakened from its dormancy before it may sprout. When learning how to plant cactus seeds successfully, there are several ways to eliminate the dormancy factor that are crucial.

Nick the seed’s protective hard shell. Some types of seeds require soaking before planting. One of the seeds with a hard seed coat is opuntia, which will germinate more quickly if the seed surface is scratched and wet. The cold stratification procedure is advantageous for opuntia seeds as well. Follow the steps in this order for the best seed growth:

  • With sandpaper, a little knife, or your fingernail, scarify the seed by creating a tiny opening.
  • Spend a few days soaking in warm water, changing it every day.
  • Put the soil in the freezer or somewhere cool to stratify for 4 to 6 weeks.

Following these procedures, sow your seeds in a moist, well-draining seed starting mix, and then cover them. Avoid planting deeply. Some can simply be placed on top of the soil, like the golden barrel cactus. For others, all that is required is a light soil covering.

Locate away from the sun yet in a bright area. Sunlight with filters is acceptable. Even though cactus grows in dry areas, it requires high humidity to germinate. The soil must be kept wet but not drenched. In a few weeks to a few months, seeds will begin to sprout. A virtue is patience.

According to information on growing cactus seeds, above-ground development takes shape before the root system does, therefore constant hydration and high humidity are required until roots have fully formed. This typically continues until the plant has filled the starter container. Then you can transfer the cactus you started from seed.

What time of year do cactus seeds need to be planted?

I’ll be discussing how to grow cactus and succulent plants from seed in this blog as well as the way I prefer to use to do so. Over the years, this method has been quite successful for me in growing my cacti and succulent plants from seed.

Although growing cacti and succulents from seed may be done in a variety of ways and there is no right or wrong way to do it, in this blog I’ll teach you how to grow them using a bag.

I’ve included some movies I’ve created for my Cacti & Succulent Plant You Tube channel called Desert Plants of Avalon. These videos feature step-by-step directions on how to grow Cacti and Succulents from seed as well as a video on how to care for seedlings through their first Winter.

Knowing that you have raised your cacti and succulents from seed is a great buzz. Growing from seed can be highly satisfying because you get to watch your plants develop over time from seedlings to mature plants.

Because of the longer days and warmer temperatures, late Winter, early spring, and early summer are the best times to plant cacti and succulent seeds. However, if you have grow lights and additional heating, you can still plant seeds in autumn and winter. What’s most important is that the seeds or seedlings are maintained at a minimum temperature of 70 Fahrenheit/21 Celsius.

You will require:

Two parts of loam-based seed sowing soil, seeds, plant pots, clear zip-top bags, a pen, plant labels, or white sticky labels ( or any well draining soil ) Grit or perlite in one part, horticulture sand in one part.

I’ve discovered that the clear fruit containers that cherry tomatoes and strawberries are frequently sold in are ideal sizes to use as small seed pots and they fit perfectly in the bags as well. They’re also a great way to recycle, but make sure to give them a thorough cleaning before using them for seed sowing.

Check out the video I prepared for my You Tube channel, Desert Plants of Avalon, below if you want to discover exactly how to grow cacti and succulents from seed.

Mix the 2 parts seed-starting soil, 1 part perlite OR grit, and 1 part horticultural sand thoroughly. Depending on the size of your seed pots, you can use as much soil mixture as you need.

It is advisable to remove any stones, lumps of bark chippings, or other impurities from the soil you are using by first passing it through a gardening sieve.

It is advisable to sterilize the soil by heating it in the oven or microwaving it after properly mixing the soil with the perlite or grit and sand. This step is optional, but I like to do it since it helps to prevent bacterial and fungal attacks on the newly hatched seedlings.

It is crucial that the soil mix is extremely hot because this is what will kill any pathogens and sterilise your soil. If you are sterilizing the soil in the microwave, place all of the soil mix into the microwave on high for 3 minutes, stopping halfway through to thoroughly stir the soil mix.

If you’re sterilizing your soil mix in the oven, bake it at 180–200 F (82–93 C) for at least 30 minutes, or test the soil’s temperature with a cake thermometer when it hits 180 F (82 C).

If using rainwater, it may be preferable to boil the water first and then let it to cool so that any pathogens that may be in the water are decreased. Once the soil mix has cooled, insert the soil mix into the seed pots and place the seed pots in a tray or trays filled with 2-3 inches of clean water.

It may take up to an hour or longer, but it’s vital to be patient so the soil mix is properly moist all the way through the soil. Leave the pots in the water until the soil mixture in the pots is completely soaked with the water.

On the plant labels or white sticky labels that you will attach to the bags, write the name(s) of the seeds you will be sowing along with the date you will be sowing the seeds.

Make sure your hands are completely clean before evenly scattering the seeds over the pot’s surface. Larger seeds, such those from opuntia or aloe, can be placed on the surface individually and gently pressed down. If the seeds are very little, it is better to sprinkle them on like pepper as equally apart as possible.

After the seeds have been planted, you can very lightly sprinkle some damp horticultural sand on top of the soil. Sand can reduce the amount of moss that tends to form on the soil that new seedlings are growing in since the soil must always be kept moist.

Before sealing the bags, make sure to let all the air out of the clear plastic bags that contain the seed pots.

Place the bags in a well-lit, bright area that gets some sun but not a lot of it or a lot of heat.

If the seedlings are still small and the soil in the bags is still moist, you can keep them in the transparent bags for longer than three months. I have maintained seedlings in the bags for up to ten months when they are still small.

Following Care

NEVER open the bag(s) until at least 3 months have passed in order to maintain the sterility of the seedlings and soil. However, if you find your seedlings have fungus or any other issues, opening the bag(s) may occasionally be necessary.

Since young seedlings do not require a lot of water, the clear bags act as a mini-greenhouse and prevent the young plants from drying out for up to three months. However, if you notice that the soil inside the bag(s) appears to be drying out, you will need to open the bag(s) and water it before the three months have passed.

After three months, you can progressively open the clear bags over a few days to enable the seedlings get used to the drier air outside of them in their new surroundings. After a few days, you can totally remove the seedlings from their bag(s).

If your seedlings are still young after three months and the soil in the bag(s) is still moist, they can continue to grow there for many more weeks or months. In certain cases, I’ll keep my seedlings in the bag(s) for up to nine months if I don’t need to remove them.

What winter care should I give to young cacti and succulent seedlings?

Many people may find this confusing because we are instructed to keep our plants cool and dry during the winter as cactus and succulent growers, but what should we do with new seedlings, especially during their first winter? since they are still so young and their roots will still be healthy and developing, but a cold and extremely dry time could destroy them.

For their first Winter, I strongly advise you to overwinter your young cactus and succulent seedlings indoors at a minimum temperature of roughly 15 C/60 F. In order to prevent the fragile root hairs from drying out, I would still water them very sparingly.

Therefore, in nature in their natural habitats in dry arid deserts even in the Winter young seedlings would still be receiving moisture from the humidity on the lower grounds of the vegetation for their young developing. Young cacti and succulents would be growing under the shade of larger plants and vegetation where they would naturally be receiving more humidity and warmth than their mature parents who are more exposed to the elements.

Depending on their size and the sort of cactus or succulent they are, you can continue to care for them after their first year as you would more mature cacti and succulents.

Here is a video I prepared for my Desert Plants of Avalon channel on You Tube that explains how to take care of cacti and succulent plant seedlings during their first winter:

If you viewed my video on How to Grow Cacti from Seed for my Desert Plants of Avalon YouTube channel, then check out the video I did on the update below:

Before planting, should cactus seeds be soaked?

Use pre-made or homemade cactus soil mix to fill a tiny pot. To level the earth, gently press it down. The soil is properly drained and aerated with the use of inorganic grit, sand, or pumice.

Step 2

The seeds should be soaked in warm water for 30 minutes prior to planting. This encourages germination and loosens the seed coat. Opuntias need a few days of soaking in warm water since their seed coverings are quite resistant. Soak the seeds, then scatter them over the top of the flat soil. Unless the seed is exceptionally large, avoid pressing it into the soil.

Step 3

Just enough inorganic top dressing should be used to completely cover the seeds and soil surface. Try not to bury the seeds in the top dressing. Water gently and let the pot entirely drain.

A word about watering: During step 4, it is essential to use freshwater or distilled water to help avoid bacterial and algal growth. If the chlorine in your tap water is overpowering, you should think about drinking distilled water instead. The chlorine will damage or stop growth by burning the young, delicate roots and perhaps causing iron chlorosis. Careful watering can be accomplished by either letting the pot stand in water that is half its height or less, or by gently watering from the top while being careful not to wash away the top dressing. Allow the pot to drain completely in both scenarios.

Step 4

With a plastic container that enables light to pass through, cover and seal the pot. This might be a plastic tub or a supported plastic bag that is rubber-banded shut around the plant. The goal is to create a setting that will act as a greenhouse by retaining heat and moisture. Many things will work, so think creatively and ingeniously! But take cautious not to leave the seedling container submerged in water for too long. If you have chosen a plastic cover that is clear and colorless, move the pot to a location with bright indirect light that is approximately 70 F (21 C). If you’ve picked a clear but colored container, like blue or green, you should put it somewhere with a little more light while keeping the temperature the same. If you have chosen a container that is slightly hazy or foggy, you should put it in a cooler environment, 65 F (18 C), where it receives at least 4 and no more than 8 hours of direct sunlight, with the remaining hours of the day spent in brilliant indirect light.

Keep in mind that the sun is hotter in the late morning and afternoon than it is in the early morning or early evening. Consider the plastic bottle in general as sunscreen. The most light can travel through clear, colorless plastic, slightly less light can pass through clear, colored plastic, and even less light can flow through fogged, clear plastic. In every situation, the plastic container’s interior will warm up.

Don’t fry your young, delicate plants! If the walls of your container dry out during germination, water sparingly, reseal the container, and move it to a warm, well-lit area. If algal growth appears, remove the cover and let the seedling pot partially breathe before wiping it down with a solution of no more than 1 part bleach to 20 parts water (5 percent bleach in water). Give the cover time to dry. Place the seedling container back in a warm, well-lit area after recovering it and sealing it. As needed, keep cleaning the plastic container.

Step 5

The recently sprouting seedlings appear to be well on their way, despite being above earth. They have disproportionately small root systems underground, making it difficult for them to quickly take in the nutrients they need to grow into mature plants. Therefore, until they are almost fully grown, the seedlings should be kept in a plastic container at a high humidity level. Up until appropriate root systems are created, high humidity makes it easier for the roots and leaves to absorb water and nutrients.

Step 6

When the seedlings are large enough to handle, carefully take each seedling from its original nursing pot while wearing gloves or covering your fingers with tape. If the soil has kept moist, this is much simpler.

Step 7

Repot the seedling gently into a pot filled with cactus and succulent soil mix, filling the pot all the way to the top, and top dress with sand, gravel, or pumice. 3 or 4 days later, water. Never put the cactus back in its humidity compartment made of plastic.