The Q&A Archives: Starting Succulent Seeds

Question: A friend is sending me seed of the following species of succulents. (I have a few species of Aloe e.g.. A Broomii; A. claviflora; A. dichotoma, A gariepensis and A hereroensis). Then I have some Euphorbia avasmontana, Pachypodium namaquanum and Hoodia gordonii. Are there any special treatments the seeds will need for germination? I'm sorry to bother you with this, but this is a one time chance for me to get some of these species, especially the Pacypodium, and I want to give the seed the best chance.

Answer: The aloe seeds need light and warmth to germinate. Sow them on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and press them in, but don't cover with additional soil. Place plastic wrap over the pots, trays or flats to help retain moisture, then provide a warm place for them to germinate(propagation mats, cables, or even on top of the refrigerator). Seedlings should appear in 30-180 days when kept at 70F.

Euphorbia seeds will need a pre-germination treatment prior to sowing. Begin by chilling the seeds for 7 days, then soaking for 2 hours in cold water. Sow the pretreated seeds 1/4" deep in moistened seed starting mix. The seeds are erratic in germination, so don't give up on them! Provide bottom heat (70F-80F) through heating cables or a propagation mat. Seeds should sprout in 10-15 days.

Pachypodium seeds need light and warmth, and are also erratic in their germination. Sow seeds on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and barely press into the mix. Cover the pots or trays with plastic wrap to help hold in moisture and provide warmth. Seeds will germinate in 30-180 days when kept at 65F-75F degrees.

Hoodia seeds are germinated just like Sempervivum: sow on the surface of moistened seed starting mix and provide warmth. Seeds will sprout in 14-42 days when kept at 70F-80F degrees.

Best of luck with your new seedlings!

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