How To Grow Cactus Seeds – There are two ways to grow cactus: from seeds or cuttings. Growing cactus from seeds will require patience, but those who enjoy this task find it rewarding as time progresses.
It takes a cactus seedling some time to develop, depending on the species and climate. A cactus is quite fragile as a seedling and needs protection from direct sunlight for most of its development.
How Long Does A Seed Take To Germinate?
The time it takes for seeds to germinate depends on the species and the environment it is in. For example, if you grow your cactus indoors then they are more likely to sprout much faster than a plant that grows outdoors.
One thing you might not know is that cacti grow at different speeds and depending on their environment. Indoors, they grow easily in partial shade, but outdoors this would only cause them to wait for the right year.
Cactus seedlings need special planting and care, including shade until they are at least 3 inches tall. The best way to protect these young plants is to either allow them to grow outdoors or keep them in an area with plenty of light indoors.
When they are about 1 inch long, you can start introducing them to the sun. Go increase the light intensity and keep them off if they start scorching. If after some time you comfortably leave them on the windowsill consistently, then it may be time to take them outdoors.
Why Grow Seeds?
Instead of making cuts, you may be wondering why opting for cactus seeds instead. Here are a few reasons:
Seedlings are an inexpensive option since they cost a few cents. If you have other plants in your collection or simply get them from a friend, this is basically free.
While it is easier to propagate plants of the desired species, finding them at nurseries can be difficult.
When it comes to seeds, you can easily hand them out as gifts!
When cactus seedlings start to develop transparent covers, gradually remove the cover with time. Remove when the spines of the seedlings start developing.
When pulling the cover off, don’t just take it off in one swoop; start by cutting sections of it to introduce the plant to the new environment. Small cacti that have been buried for about six months are okay if you want them to grow larger and stay as potted plants.
The Steps How To Grow Cactus Seeds
Acquiring the seeds
The first step to planting cactus seeds is purchasing them. Most garden supply stores will carry the variety you need, but ordering online dispenses with all the chasing around and guarantees that your order will be fulfilled quickly and efficiently.
If you prefer to grow your own cactus from seed, it’s important to benefit from stores with already blooming plants. When these off-shoots bear flower buds, pick some off the plant and select a wholesome one that is protruding in contrast to other nearby seeds.
Put your seeds into the ground early in the year so they will have time to grow during warmer months.
Harvesting from the pods
Removal of pods from a tree is the process by which you remove seeds in order to harvest them. Removal should occur when the pod is still damp, but not wet. Attempting removal when the pod is dry will result in cracking or splitting of the pod and spillage of its contents.
You should now remove any mature pods from your cactus. Using a knife, slice the pods and scrape off the seeds. Note that different species have different colors for their seeds: some are black or have reddish dots while others are extremely small.
The soil you plant the seeds in is significant
One thing about planting cactus seeds is that they are intolerant to poorly draining soil. If you want your seedlings to stay healthy and free from bacteria and molds, the soil needs to be sterilized before planting.
Below are some sterilizing methods which can be used to make the soil sterile.
There are multiple ways to sterilize your soil before planting seedlings in it.
One way to remove tree roots from the ground is by steaming the soil. Place a few shallow pans of dirt (not more than 4 inches deep) over a rack and cover each one with foil paper before closing the lid. Steam for 30 minutes.
If you do not have a pressure cooker, pour an inch of water into a sterilizing container and place soil-filled pans (usually covered with foil) on a rack on the water. Cover the container and steam for about 30 minutes.
For both methods, let the soil cool after steaming while wrapped in foil.
Using a microwave
If using a microwave, place moist soil in an airtight container with holes that allows for pressure release. Do not use foil to cover the top.
Put your soil in a container that you can easily heat with a stove or other heat source. Wait 90 seconds, remove and cover the ventilation holes with tape afterward.
One option would be to put two pounds of moist soil in a polypropylene bag. Place the soil in the microwave with the top left part open for ventilation. Microwave for 2 minutes at full power and then take it out when complete, closing it uptight.
Using an oven
For the oven, you need a container that is made for use in an oven. Place soil about 4 inches deep into the container and cover it with foil. Using a thermometer, place it at the center of your pot and heat at 180F for about 30 minutes.
Before you put the foil in, make sure that you have enough time for it to cool down. Do not remove the foil until ready.
To help your cactus seedlings stay healthy and grow at a rapid pace, you might need to include the right proportions in their soil.
- Pumice or granite stone
- Cactus soil
The base of the soil mixture should be pumice stone and cactus soil. The first step to creating this mixture is to remove any chunks because they may contain bacteria or don’t drain water well.
Place the cactus soil in a sifter and mix with pumice or granite stone. If you can’t find pumice, limestone screenings will work as well. Make sure there is more pumice by 10% than cactus soil.
Pour the potting soil and sow the seeds, for best results, pour around where you intend to plant and do not pack it in. Seedlings are small so using a 2-inch pot is enough or even existing vessels can be used as pots for the seedlings
Cleaning pots is a critical step in the process to ensure that once you plant them again, they have enough nutrients and minerals for the seedlings. Cleaning them can be done with bleach water.
Ensure that the soil has a high-dryness factor and ensure that moisture is applied to the area but make sure drainage occurs.
To plant your cactus seeds, lay them on top of the soil, or only cover the roots with a thin layer of either sand or cactus soil. You can also try planting them in pots with an new potting mix to provide these seedlings with more stability when they first start sending out their roots.
It is extremely important to label containers as you plant your seedlings. This avoids confusion when trying to care for different species; be sure not to mix up similar-looking plants in the same container, or worse yet forget which one is what!
Exposing the seeds to the sun
To prevent soil from drying out, first wet the site in which you’ve both your seeds and then cover them with sand. Once planted, place them in a location that has access to enough sun. Alternatively (or additionally), you can use an artificial light source indoors for 18-24 hours per day.
Don’t place them outside because they don’t like intense sunlight. The purpose of the transparent lid retains moisture and helps the cacti sprout as well as allow light to reach the plant.
Keep a close eye on your seedlings. When they start to turn spotted or red, reduce the amount of light they receive.
When planting the seed container, it is best to place them in areas that are warm and out of direct sunlight, such as near a warm kitchen. However, you can also experiment with heated matting for a boost in germination rates.
Cacti, like many other plants, need a temperature between 70F and 90F for germination.
What to do when germination starts
Like was earlier mentioned, cacti are slow to grow. You might have patience enough to wait for germination before seeing the plants flourish because it may take as few as 1-2 months of changing lighting and temperature conditions.
Tiny spines start to form. Slowly give the plant more air by gradually leaving the top open for a few hours every day, then increasing that time period.
Keep doing this until you establish that the cactus is strong enough to be wrapped and weaned off.
When removing the cactus, remember that water evaporates much more quickly than in other environments. Eventually, you’ll need to establish a watering schedule to avoid the plant from drying out and dying.
One of the best ways to prevent bacteria and algae from growing on your cacti is by using water that has been distilled or at least filtered. A tap-water filtration pitcher will work lots, but in some cases, it isn’t enough — because the roots are quite delicate, tap water with chlorine can burn them.
Even though seedlings may look healthy above the ground, their roots are still too weak below ground and cannot absorb enough nutrients. Keep them in plastic wrap until they outgrow it. The high humidity encourages the roots to grow strong enough for the absorption of needed resources.
Some species don’t have spines, so an indication of growth is when the seedlings sprout. Make sure you don’t leave any water on the soil. Keep checking for signs of overwatering. No standing water should be in the container.
When it comes to watering, you should make sure that your plants get what they need. Some signs of trouble you may start to see are thickening seedlings or thinner ones. Sensitive cactus may be covered in algae at the top and going black from the fungus below.
After years of growth, it’s time to repot your tree. You need a pot that drains quickly so you can avoid root rot. In order to water the new plant, drill holes in the bottom or buy a pot that already has drainage channels installed.
Terracotta and unglazed ceramic pots are given as examples of good drainage pots. However, any pot can work as long as it drains water quickly so that the soil does not become clogged with water.
While you get the container that is perfect, how much that you water your plant contributes to whether it rots or not.
Cacti grow slowly and will eventually need to be re-potted to give them more room. Get the right size pot for your cactus and don’t get a pot too small or it will inhibit its growth.
After you remove the cactus from its former plastic wrap, use the same formula you used for its previous potting soil. Once mixed, place the plant into the pot and then pour in the mixture.
Recovery time after repotting
Once you repot, allowing the plant to take on the new changes helps it avoid any problems. Repotting can be stressful to plants, and they need recovery time. If you previously placed it near a place with ample sunlight for several days, try keeping them in the shade until they recover before reintroducing them slowly to direct sunlight.
Unlike other potted plants, cacti have low water requirements. They are succulents, and they often store water during periods of drought. It is recommended to wait until the soil has dried before watering again.
Once your plant has grown, water monthly. In the winter months, most plants only require watering when necessary. You’d rather have a plant that is underwatered than overwatered because it is easier to deal with an insufficient amount of water than to fix one that received too much.
Use a cactus fertilizer in growing months to help them grow. Generally, they need less fertilizer than other plants. In order to have a successful cactus growth, follow the above steps and you will be able to grow it successfully.
How often do you water cactus seedlings?
During the colder winter months, when your cactus isn’t growing much, you may only need to water it every 4-6 weeks; but, during the hot summer months, when the plant is expanding, you may need to check the potting mix for dryness every few days.
There are two ways you can grow cactus from seed: from seeds or cuttings. Cacti grow at different rates depending on the species and the environment they are grown in. If you prefer to grow your own cactus from seed, it’s important to benefit from stores with already blooming plants. When these off-shoots bear flower buds, pick some off the plant and select a wholesome one that is protruding in contrast to other nearby seeds. Put your seeds into the ground early so they will have time to grow during warmer months.
To help your cactus seedlings grow at a rapid pace, you might need to include the right proportions in their soil. The base of the soil mixture should be pumice stone and cactus soil. To create this mixture, place the soil in a container that is made for use in an oven and heats it at 180F for 30 minutes. When planting the seed container, it is best to place them in areas that are warm and out of direct sunlight. Cacti need a temperature between 70F and 90F for germination.
When removing the cactus, remember that water evaporates much more quickly than in other environments. What to do when germination starts High humidity encourages the roots to grow strong enough for absorption of needed resources. Some species don’t have spines, so an indication of growth is when the seedlings sprout. In order to water the new plant, drill holes in the bottom or buy a pot that already has drainage channels. Cacti grow slowly and will eventually need to be re-potted to give them more room.
Get the right size pot for your cactus and don’t get a pot too small. Repotting can be stressful to plants, and they need recovery time. Unlike other potted plants, cacti have low water requirements.