Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Growing Succulents Help

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LadyShiva89
Jul 20, 2016 3:29 PM CST
I want to try and grow some succulents/cacti from seeds. Anyone has any tips on what species are better to start with? And where to buy them? I have no experience with succulents at all (only with veggie/fruit plants).

I would also appreciate some info on soil mixtures and the like. I've seen many different opinions going around.

Thanks :)
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jul 20, 2016 4:13 PM CST
Hi & welcome! I've never seen any seeds for any kinds of house plants for sale at a store, just already growing plants. If you want to buy seeds on the internet, that's probably possible but would likely cost about as much as a plant after you pay shipping charges.
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 20, 2016 4:48 PM CST
Welcome! to NGA! And the Cactus and Succulent forum.

In the seed section of your local nursery, you can usually find packets of mixed succulents and mixed cactus seeds. That's were I started (about 40 years ago). Most of the succulents turned out to be Euphorbia. The cactus were an interesting mixed bag but it was fun to watch them germinate, grow and eventually bloom.

I still have 2 Gasteria and a Euphorbia from those original packets.

Daisy

Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jul 21, 2016 10:06 AM CST
Could you please take a pic next time? I must revise what I said to mention that I have seen this seed pack in the racks with the annuals and bought them more times than I can remember, over the past couple decades in OH and AL but nothing has ever sprouted, at any time of year inside or out, in a pot, in the ground, while dry, while moist, while scattered, while purposely slightly buried, while buried more deeply, while totally exposed, while in more shade, nothing.
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 21, 2016 2:16 PM CST
Sounds like you have it covered Tiffany. Smiling Yes, it is a Ferry Morse seed pack I was thinking of.

Bottom heat, bottom watering and humidity are usually the key ingredients for making cactus and succulent seed germinate on a time line of 3 days to several years. I was re-using the soil from my failed cactus seed attempts - either mixing it with more soil for repotting or dumping it into pots until I needed it. I have un-identified cactus coming up everywhere.
Name: Tiffany
Opp, AL (Zone 8b)
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purpleinopp
Jul 21, 2016 5:32 PM CST
No kiddin'? Well, clearly it's something personal having to do with me then! I'll keep an eye out for slow sprouts. Thanks!

And I'd originally gotten excited that you'd found some packed specifically by species and a new trend was starting. So many people want to grow house plants from seeds. So many house plants do make copious amounts of seeds when growing where hardy. Why aren't there packs of Aglaonema seeds? Monstera? Palm? The mystery remains.
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Name: Daisy
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jul 21, 2016 7:26 PM CST
There are but only on the internet. You could buy all that and more on Ebay. Sticking tongue out

Actually, cactus seeds are tough to germinate but you can do it. That's why I suggested starting with cheap seeds. Ferry Morse - $1 a pack. What's cheaper than that?

I recently bought some expensive Gymnocalycium seeds that are supposed to produce variegated plants. I am afraid to plant them for fear that I will fail and then won't be able to find more seeds. I have been starting cactus seeds for 40 years and I am still scared silly every time I plant some.

What has occurred to me more than once is that I am making this too hard. Cactus seeds germinate in the desert all the time. Why can't I consistently do it? Sighing!

Daisy
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
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Baja_Costero
Jul 22, 2016 4:58 PM CST
Daisy, I share your sense of foreboding, or maybe just uncomfortable uncertainty, when it comes time to start a new batch of seeds. There's a whole ritual going along with it where I cook the soil and get the moisture just right during the setup. Maybe I should include some chanting or swaying to get my plants in the right groove. Smiling

My experience with germination has been quite variable with respect to time and viability. Right now I have about 8 pots set up with seeds over the last couple months where nothing at all has happened. But then something will pop up when you least expect it, so I am leaving them alone in good light. Some seeds are just plain more reliable that way than others, at least among the ones I have sowed. Fresher is better. The best way to get a sense of how this works is to just try. Ideally over the course of 40 years your odds go up significantly. Smiling

To add to the previous comments about growing succulents from seed, a couple of observations. You can find cactus seed in the grocery store: prickly pears (also called tunas) and dragonfruit. If you want a very specific kind of seed, try Mesa Garden, quality assured. Or if you go for the cheap trial pack of mixed plants, be aware that different sizes of seed behave in a qualitatively different way. The big ones (like many aloes and agaves, or the prickly pear) tend to sprout fast and get off to a quick start, due to the stored up energy. The sooner they become independent, the easier it is for you. The small seeds require a lot more babying, or maybe just being left alone with the right level of humidity. Plan on leaving them under clear plastic or a dome for months unless you like misting (which strikes me as more work but maybe that's a good ritual if you like it).
[Last edited by Baja_Costero - Jul 22, 2016 4:59 PM (+)]
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Name: Karen
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plantmanager
Jul 22, 2016 6:51 PM CST
I haven't tried growing cacti from seed, but I remember seeing a lot of cacti seeds at Bach's cactus nursery in Tucson, AZ. I don't know if they will mail order or not. I'm betting they will.
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