Cactus and Tender Succulents forum: Which cacti/succulents do you grow from seed?

Views: 291, Replies: 11 » Jump to the end
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Jan 28, 2018 12:04 PM CST
I want to grow some cacti and/or succulents from seed. I have had preliminary (less than 2-year old plants) success growing Lithops from seed, but not much else in terms of cacti and succulents.

I'm going to start browsing catalogs and websites, but I'm wondering what species you've successfully sprouted and grown on from seed.

If you could post pictures of them, that would be wonderful too. Smiling
Keep going!
Name: Baja
Baja California (Zone 11b)
Cactus and Succulents Seed Starter Foliage Fan Xeriscape Container Gardener Hummingbirder
Native Plants and Wildflowers Garden Photography Region: Mexico Plant Identifier Forum moderator Plant Database Moderator
Image
Baja_Costero
Jan 28, 2018 7:40 PM CST

Moderator

You can sort of divide them into different groups based on the size of the seed... some succulents make fairly big seeds (for example many agaves and aloes) and others make very fine, dust-like powder (Echeveria and Dudleya, probably most of that family). They require different approaches and the bigger seeds are often quicker to reach a degree of independence, so easier in that sense. If you're wanting the easiest starting point, try a bigger seed.

The very fine seed you have to leave under cover for quite a while before the young seedlings will survive manipulation. It's often hard to sow the fine seed at just the right density, so there may also be a winnowing period where the young seedlings battle it out for survival when there are too many in a limited space. Anyway, the key is to make sure the soil doesn't start growing things during the relatively long period these seedlings have to be left under cover. I like to microwave it but various other approaches can work too. Our native Dudleya brittonii makes tiny seeds and volunteers like crazy in the container garden. I have learned to take advantage of this behavior by putting an empty pot under the seed heads and letting nature take its course.



When you grow plants from seed you may have one or two different goals in mind. The experience itself (watching the process unfold) can be magical. For example this baby medusa has just sprouted the first of what will be dozens of arms over the course of its life.



But sometimes your goal is to see the natural variation within a species, and then seeds allow you to see a spectrum that isn't evident from vegetative reproduction. For example our native agave has all sorts of interesting variation in the marginal spines. A pretty savage example here.



You may also want to grow plants from seed that you can breed or use to produce more seed. When plants do not self-pollinate, you need at least two individuals of a given species to be able to continue the cycle of life. In some cases you need two individuals of different sexes (when plants have sexes) which means more than 2 may be necessary to get a breeding pair. Anyway all this is easily attainable by growing a relatively small number of plants from seed.

About a year ago I started some Calibanus plants from seed and I kept 5 plants to have a good chance of a mating pair when they grow up. (Statistically, that gives me a 1 in 16 chance of not having a mating pair among the group when they eventually flower.)



Some of the plants I grew from seed became parents, quite a few of them by hybridizing with other plants I grew from seed, so the family continues to grow. Aloes are particularly satisfying this way. The diversity in flowers is a particularly rich field to mine.



I have some Echeveria and Euphorbia hybrids too. Here's an Echeveria that I grew from seed from a black parent and a powder blue parent.



One of my more prolific early experiments was Euphorbia bupleurifolia (which has sexes) and by now I am 3 or 4 generations along the line there. That plant has a transplant time around 3 months (which is quite early) and starts flowering as early as the second set of true leaves.



That might not be a beginner plant in some other respects (it requires excellent drainage and strong light) but it's been the fastest and easiest Euphorbia I've tried.

Pachypodiums are not hard to grow from seed (the common ones especially). For some reason my seedlings included a couple of crests so it has been fun watching those grow out.

Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Jan 28, 2018 8:41 PM CST
Wow, all very good info and some great photos for illustration. I love that crested Madagascar Palm!
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Jan 29, 2018 2:49 PM CST
Thank you!

When I sowed the Lithops I actually thought it was pointless and I'd fail because the seeds were so extremely tiny, the size of dust or black pepper (the condiment) yet I somehow managed to succeed. lol
Keep going!
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Jan 29, 2018 3:14 PM CST
Seeds that are like dust must be a challenge. I'm just starting to get into growing more things from seed.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Jan 29, 2018 3:18 PM CST
You can't really put such tiny seeds wherever you want them. You can only put them where they themselves want to go.

If one lands in the wrong spot, it's not like you would even know necessarily, much less be able to pick it up and move it.
Keep going!
Name: Lindsey
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters Dog Lover Cat Lover Bromeliad
Container Gardener Region: Ohio Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse
Image
ljones26
Jan 29, 2018 5:09 PM CST
I grow a mixed variety of cacti including rhipsalis species, lithops, aloe Vera, sand rose succulents, and a few others all from seed! I also grow Pygmy sundews from spores which is very interesting.
[Last edited by ljones26 - Jan 29, 2018 9:24 PM (+)]
Give a thumbs up | Quote | Post #1630884 (7)
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jan 29, 2018 7:19 PM CST
Not even one cactus in that list, Lindsey. Smiling

I used to have a 8" bulb pot full of cactus mix under my bottom bench. Whenever a cactus went to seed, the seed went into the pot. I did that for a couple years, never bothering to look. Then when day I did.... Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing Rolling on the floor laughing

Thumb of 2018-01-30/DaisyI/33cc5a

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Karen
NM (Zone 7b)
Region: New Mexico Region: Arizona Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse Sempervivums Bromeliad
Adeniums Garden Ideas: Level 1 Tropicals Xeriscape Garden Art Plumerias
Image
plantmanager
Jan 29, 2018 8:39 PM CST
That worked well, Daisy! I love the pot full of cute little seedlings.
Handcrafted Coastal Inspired Art SeaMosaics!
Name: Lindsey
Ohio (Zone 6a)
Bee Lover Garden Photography Enjoys or suffers cold winters Dog Lover Cat Lover Bromeliad
Container Gardener Region: Ohio Cactus and Succulents Greenhouse
Image
ljones26
Jan 29, 2018 9:24 PM CST
Pretty sure rhipsalis is a cactus. Didn't mean the rest were, I know that.
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
Not all who wander are lost
Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
DaisyI
Jan 29, 2018 10:07 PM CST
You are right Lindsey. Smiling

Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

Webmaster: osnnv.org
Name: Jai or Jack
WV (Zone 6b)
Om shanti om.
Container Gardener Region: West Virginia Multi-Region Gardener Garden Photography Amaryllis Zinnias
Gardens in Buckets Annuals Houseplants Plant and/or Seed Trader Birds Garden Ideas: Level 1
Image
Jai_Ganesha
Jan 30, 2018 6:55 AM CST
It's always interesting to me how not all succulents are cacti, and since "succulent" is not a precise term it is debatable whether all cacti are even succulents (some Pereskia, for example, are non-succulent cacti).
Keep going!

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Cactus and Tender Succulents forum
Only the members of the Members group may reply to this thread.

Member Login:

Username:

Password:

[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by TBGDN and is called "Atomic Blue Petunia"