Growing a succulent from seeds is fun. While you can easily buy any succulent you like, there is a sense of pride seeing a tiny, cute shoot transforming into a healthy and beautiful succulent. Growing a cactus at home or any succulent is relatively straightforward. You need to get familiar with the succulents or cacti you want to grow. Once you master how to grow them from seeds, you can have your own collection of the world’s best rare succulents if you want to.
Why Should You Grow Succulents From Seeds
There are many interesting reasons why you should propagate your own succulents.
- It offers a deeply satisfying and rewarding feeling.
- Some rare varieties are hard to find and expensive when they are sold fully grown.
- Growing your favorite succulents can yield a bountiful harvest and start a succulent collection or give away to friends.
- Succulents do not demand lots of efforts and time.
Benefits of Growing Succulents From Seeds
Growing these unique plants can benefit you in many ways. You can replace your artificial succulents that look the same as the real ones and finally enjoy the perks of living decorative pieces around.
Bring in Fresh Air
Plants improve air quality, reduce airborne dust levels, increase humidity, and keep the temperature down. If you don’t like big plants in your room, succulents are the best option. They bring in the fresh air that helps you breathe better. Succulents are known for their excellent air purifying ability and removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They release a lot of water vapor into the air that pulls down contaminated air to the roots and convert it into food.
Make You Happier
Beautiful things naturally improve mood. Taking care of something that grows beautifully brings pleasurable and happy feelings. Succulents can grow beautiful flowers, too. Echinocereus reichenbachii cactus, for instance, is admired for its lovely flowers. Seeing them grow and bloom reduces the feeling of isolation or loneliness during this pandemic period.
Provide a Healing Factor
Many succulents have healing properties. They can cure common colds, sore throat, dry, itchy skin, and lower high blood pressure. Aloe Vera is famous for its soothing, cooling, and moisturizing properties. Eating the leaves of Stonecrops helps in lowering blood pressure. Succulents also aid in the quick recovery from illness and improve the pain tolerance capacity.
Offer Medicinal Properties
Some succulents are edible and provide amazing medical properties such as proteins, iron, calcium, vitamins, and fiber. The cactus leaves, for example, have certain antioxidants that protect the body cells against free radicals. They help prevent liver, prostate, colon, and breast cancer. Certain types of cactus contain phenolic and flavoring that can reduce body inflammation and hangover. Moreover, edible succulents that are rich in fiber and water content help in weight loss. Other types of succulents bear fruits that can be eaten and provide essential B-vitamins like b12, b6, b2, and b1.
Objects of Art
Succulents come in different colors, sizes, and shapes. They serve as beautiful centerpieces and decorative pieces. Premium hanging succulents are perfect wall hanging decors and showpieces. They are also cool gifts to your loved ones and friends. Giving away some of your well-loved succulents proves your affection to the person.
How Does Growing Succulents From Seeds Work
Growing a succulent from seeds is not rocket science. You need the basic knowledge, tools, the right soil, and quality seeds to start growing them.
You have to learn how to make a succulent soil medium to kill bacteria. Baby succulents are vulnerable, so you need to ensure that your seeds thrive in a safe environment. Buy treated potting soil or make your own by baking garden soil at 300° F for about 30 minutes.
When done, let the soil medium cool before wetting it and pouring it into a seed tray. Sprinkle the seeds into the soil. You don’t need to bury the seeds, spread and lightly press them down the soil. Ensure that the seeds are adequately spaced apart so they won’t be crowded when the rosettes begin to form.
Wait for the seed to germinate. During this process, the succulent seeds will be absorbing the soil moisture to hydrate their cells. With the right amount of water and light, the embryo inside the seeds will grow, send out roots, and grow stems. To ensure enough moisture, you need to put the seedling tray on top of a bigger tray filled with water. The water below will keep the soil consistently moist and nourish the seeds. Another option is to mist the seeds using a spray bottle.
Prevent evaporation and increase humidity by covering your seed tray with a transparent dome. You can also punch several tiny holes into the dome to promote proper airflow. However, using a dome is optional and should be used only during germination.
Succulent seeds require indirect, bright light to germinate. Avoid direct sun exposure to prevent burning the baby leaves. Placing it near a bright window is good, ensuring a warm and consistent temperature. Do not change its location too often. If you place it in an area with a cooler temperature, make sure to place a heating mat under the tray to provide warmth while the seeds are growing. Once the stems or baby rosettes start to peek from the soil, you can remove the heating mat and the humidity dome. Sustain the light and soil condition.
Slowly reduce watering when the root system is fully established. You can start following the basic care instructions for growing mature succulents. You may be tempted to transfer the baby succulents to your garden, but it is not advisable. You must wait until there is no space in the seedling tray or they are fully mature. They need to have more developed and strong roots to survive in their new locations.
Repotting succulents is important and must be handled properly to help the succulents thrive excellently. Once you have planted them in their permanent homes, follow the general care tips for succulents.
Pros and Cons of Growing Succulents From Seeds
Succulents are having their shining moment right now. A lot of people want to have them in their outdoor and indoor spaces. There are many varieties to choose from if you want a full-grown succulent. It would be a fun yet challenging task for those who want to grow beautiful rare succulents from seeds.
- It is a cheaper way to have a collection of rare and common succulents.
- You get to choose a diverse, trendy succulent collection.
- Succulents require minimal caring when they become mature.
- Growing succulents from seeds is a slower process compared to cuttings.
- Some succulent seeds are very picky and sensitive about the growing conditions. A slight fluctuation in the environment affects their germination.
- Not all seeds are grown from naturally occurring species; some are cultivated varieties or genetic sports. Make sure to source quality seeds to make sure that the resulting succulents are identical to the parent plants.
Things You Need to Grow Succulents From Seeds
If you are up to the challenge, here are the basic things you need to cultivate your own succulents from seeds:
Purchase authentic succulent seeds. Be diligent and find seeds from reputable sources. You must check the users’ reviews and the seller’s credibility, especially if you are ordering online. This ensures that you are growing ‘supposed seeds’ of the variants you want in your collection.
Use a propagating container that offers proper moisture conditions. It is best to use a seed-starting tray, but a plastic container with a lid is a good option if you cannot find one. A shallow planting tray with several holes on the bottom will ensure proper drainage.
Look for well-draining soil that is specifically-mixed for succulents. Some of the best growing mediums are pure vermiculite, coco coir, finely crushed perlite, coarse silica sand, and unscented kitty litter. The rule of thumb is using a medium that is not so fine that it becomes very compact and impedes the baby’s growth succulent. It should also be not too coarse to avoid losing the tiny succulent seedlings.
Things to Know About Growing Succulents From Seeds
Growing succulent begins by choosing the plant that appeals to you. Make sure to read information about your chosen plant to know how to take care of it during the growing period. Also, choosing the right succulent ground cover will enhance the charm of your garden.
Generally, succulents like light but not direct sunlight. Depending on the kind of succulent you have, it needs at least 6 hours of sun exposure every day. It is important to find the perfect location to ensure that your plant is getting sufficient light necessary for its growth. Choose a south-facing window where you get a lot of sunlight. You can use a grow light if your place does not receive ample natural light. The ideal temperature for effective germination is 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
To ensure that your succulents enjoy sufficient heat from the light, it is necessary to rotate them on different sides. You will know that your plant needs more light when it is leaning toward the source.
Water According to the Season
Succulents and cacti, like other plants, go through their growing period during summer and spring. It is important to regularly water your succulents during these seasons because they need more nutrients. They do not need a lot of water during the fall and winter as succulents enter the dormancy or resting period. You can afford to have longer intervals between your watering schedules.
Water the Soil Directly
Emulating the rainfall pattern in their natural habitat is ideal for ensuring that they are getting enough stored water. It is typical in the deserts to receive more than 9 inches of rainfall every year, so make sure to soak the plant’s base until the water is trickling down the drainage holes. Avoid misting them when they start to grow leaves because it might lead to moldy leaves and brittle roots.
Keep Succulents Clean
Get rid of accumulated dirt, dust, and perhaps some bugs hiding in the leaves. Wipe the leaves and spines of the succulents using a clean cloth. For hard-to-reach areas, a soft paintbrush will do the trick.
Choose a Container With Drainage
If you are a beginner, terra-cotta pots are excellent containers when it is time to re-pot them individually. Succulents dislike sitting too much moisture because it will rot the roots and cause the plants’ death.
Plant Succulents in the Right Soil
You need to plant your succulent seeds in the correct substrate. The right soil is the determining factor in their growth. A potting substrate that is well-draining and very coarse would be excellent. Another great option is a mixture of regular soil with grit and perlite to do very well or buy the best soil mix available on the market.
Get Rid of Bugs
If your succulents got some bugs due to the absence of proper drainage or having too much drainage, you need to get rid of them immediately. You need to separate the plants with bugs with other succulents before spraying them with 70% isopropyl alcohol.
Fertilize Succulents in the Summer
Succulents do not really need fertilizing, but you can apply some during spring when the growth period begins and then again in the summer. Never fertilize them in winter, which is their rest or dormant period.
How to Grow Your Succulents From Seeds
Growing your succulents from seeds requires a system and several factors. It is also important to designate a planting station, preferably an indoor table, so the wind will not blow away the tiny succulent seeds.
Step 1 – Prepare all the necessary supplies and tools
- Authentic succulent seeds
- Well-draining soil mixture
- A shallow propagating tray with drainage holes
- A plant dome for covering
Step 2 – Fill your sowing tray with vermiculite or substrate mix
Moisten the soil until the water drains through the tray’s holes. Make sure there is a removable tray below to catch the excess liquid. Soaking it thoroughly is vital to ensure that your succulent seeds will stick to the soil and develop roots.
Step 3 – Spread the succulent seeds on the soil surface
Leave sufficient space between them. If you are using a planting tray with cells, add one or two seeds in each cell. Do not cover the seeds with soil to avoid depleting their stored food. To ensure the right level of humidity during the germination period, cover them with a dome. You can put the tray in a location that receives full, direct light or artificial grow light.
Step 4 – Remove the dome
Once the sprouts pop out, remove the dome to allow fresh air and remove the excess moisture that can cause mold or rot. To help the baby succulents establish a strong root system, keep the soil moist, but gradually reduce the watering. Place the tray in a location that receives bright, indirect sunlight.
Do’s and Don’ts When Growing Succulents From Seeds
- Do plant the succulent seeds in a well-draining soil or substrate mixture.
- Do give them enough space to encourage better water and nutrition absorption that is vital during germination.
- Do use containers or pots with drainage holes.
- Do place them in a location that receives bright, indirect light when they are fully-grown.
- Do rotate them to enjoy a bit of sun. East and West-facing windows are good locations.
- Don’t overwater your succulents. Water them when the soil around the roots is arid.
- Don’t overcrowd them to prevent mold formation and insect infestation.
- Don’t put different varieties of succulents in the planting tray because each species has its own unique germination period.
- Don’t grow impractical variety, especially if you plan to have them as indoor plants.
- Don’t use containers that do not have drainage holes like jars, bowls, terrariums, or mugs.
- Don’t use premix potting soil with fertilizer. It usually has too much organic material and does not have the right nutritional balance that your succulents need. Find the right soil mixture or make your own.
- Don’t use moss and non-porous rocks like glass, marbles, river rocks, or pea gravel in your succulent pots. They encourage bacteria or fungi formation and trap moisture. Make sure that the soil receives plenty of air. You can use shale and pumice because they double as drainage materials.
FAQ About Succulent Seeds
How long does it take to grow succulents from seeds?
It depends on the kind of succulent you want to propagate. Generally, succulent seeds germinate between one and three weeks. Some rare varieties take months to grow.
Where can I buy succulent seeds?
If you are buying online, find trusted sellers of authentic succulent seeds on Etsy and Amazon. Some of the best sources are Seeds, The Succulent Source, Mountain Crest Garden, and Leaf and Clay. You can also buy succulent seeds in local stores, garden centers, and plant nurseries.
How do you get seeds from succulents?
You can get seeds from succulent fruits and flowers. Allow the flower to bloom and harvest your own seeds. You can also buy a fruit of the succulent you want to grow and collect the seeds. The seeds need to be fertilized or the ovum (egg) requires pollen to be pollinated and grow into seeds. It requires intervention by putting the seeds in the outdoors to allow bees and butterflies to transfer pollen. Once the seed pods develop, remove the flowers and place them inside a paper bag to dry out. When the seed pods break, your seeds will be safe inside. You can plant them immediately or continue drying them until you are ready to sow them. If you want to store the seed, put them in a small bottle or paper envelope with a silica gel packet to prevent moisture buildup.
Can you use sand to plant succulents?
A soil and sand mixture is perfect as it protects the plants from rotting and ensures rapid drainage. Succulents thrive best in porous sandy soil. For potted indoor succulents, use coarse grit materials. For planting succulents in the ground, use a sandy loam that is 50 to 80% coarse sand. It prevents fungal infections.
How deep do you plant succulents?
To plant outdoor succulents, dig holes the size of a root ball for each of them. Do not tuck or backfill the soil back around their roots. It promotes root growth near the surface of the soil, allowing them to breathe. Some recommend preparing 3 inches (8 cm) deep soil. For indoor plants, planting them in shallow pots encourages better root growth and prevents water from pooling at the bottom part.
Can you plant succulents in just rocks?
No. Succulents have extensive roots that require nutrients from the soil to grow and thrive. The correct potting soil provides nutrition, warmth, and moisture. Rock, pebbles, or gravel cannot support the growth of succulents.
Can you plant succulents in pots without holes?
While it is not recommended, it is possible. However, you need to be extra vigilant when watering your succulents to prevent excess water in the bottom. Too much moisture can cause root rot. It is also important to wait until the soil is parched before watering them again.
When can I plant succulents?
The perfect time to plant your succulents is during the early spring, as most of them begin their growth phase in this season. It works well with both outdoor and indoor succulents.
Growing succulents from succulents can be exhilarating, but the satisfaction of observing the growth evolution of the plant is a life-changing, addicting experience. Just remember to follow this guide to ensure successful endeavors.
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