Wednesday, 24 June 2009

How to:Cactus germination

In this tutorial I’m going to show you the basics on how to germinate cactus seeds! cacti can be very rewarding to grow especially if you’re lazy because they are very easy to maintain. I will be using Peruvian Torch seeds, a great beginners cactus.

You will need

Cactus specific soil*

Cacti seeds

Ziplock or clear plastic bag

Spray bottle

Sleeping dog


A cup
*Normal soil will work your cacti may not grow as well as they could though. You can make your own and there are many guides on the internet detailing this. (I won’t tell you because I want you to become self sufficient until you have an army of cacti with various names, all with their own names and knitted jackets...)

Step 1

First you should fill up your cup with water and let it settle until it is about room temperature, this is so it doesn’t shock the seeds. Once your water has warmed up to room temp you should drop your seeds in and soak them for 8-24 hours, this step isn’t necessary but usually gives the seeds a nice head start. As with all methods, none are 100% foolproof so you shouldn’t do this with all your seeds in case something goes wrong.

Step 2

Once your seeds have soaked for the given amount of time you put the lime in the coke you nut. soil into the pot and mist it down with your sprayer, the water in your sprayer should be preferably boiled first to remove excess chlorine which could be harmful to your cacti, or at least left to sit for 24 hours. The idea is to get the soil moist not soaking.

Step 3

Now is the part where everyone argues about how deep to plant your seeds, many say on top of the soil, many say 5 miles down. But the basic rule is if they are very small you can rest them on top of the soil and if they are a bit bigger just put onto the soil and sprinkle ½-1cm of soil on top.

Step 4

Now take your ziplock or clear plastic bag and put it over your pot, you want a small enough gap for it to build up humidity, but not so small that your seeds can’t breathe. They will do fine starting off on a windowsill and in 7-14 days they will usually germinate, but some cacti varieties can take much longer so you should take some time researching your individual variety online first.

Here is one of my very first Peruvian Torch cacti, I'll call him Bert.

Hints and Tips

•Move your seedlings into indirect sunlight once they have germinated or they can burn, if you see the tips of your seedlings turning red this is the problem so take them out of the light fast!

•You should remove the bag once every few days and blow some fresh air into it to help them grow faster.

•You can gradually remove the bag over a number of months until they eventually acclimatise to your surroundings.

WARNING: Some things described on this site are potentially dangerous/illegal. The writers of this site assume no responsibility for the consequences that may result from attempting the activities described here.

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  1. How's Bert doing now? ;-)

  2. He has lots of other friends now!