How to Propagate Cactus by Seeds Step by Step

Many people ask us how to propagate cactus by seeds. Today I explain how to do it step by step.

Why Would Anyone Want to Grow Cacti Using Seeds?

For Several Reasons:

1- Many companies sell mixed cactus seeds in stores. You don’t know what cacti you will get until you see them growing. This arouses the curiosity of many.

2- Others grow cacti that are hard to get. Many times, they can’t be shipped to another country, but some seeds can.

3- It is an inexpensive way to grow your cactus and succulent collection. I have friends who collect Desert Rose and order seeds through the internet.

4- It is rewarding and economical.

How to Propagate Cactus by Seeds

1- Fill a tray or plastic container with a substrate for cacti and succulents. It does not need drainage holes. You can make your substrate or buy a commercial substrate.  

2- Level the substrate and moisten it a little with a spray bottle.

3- Spread your cactus seeds on the surface of the substrate. Do not put them in the ground.

4- Cover the tray with a clear plastic bag. This will create a greenhouse effect and keep in moisture. You can also cover it with a clear plastic lid if you have one.

5- Place the tray in a bright area where it will not receive direct sunlight.

6- Every few days check that the substrate is somewhat moist. Never let it dry out completely, but don’t soak it either. If you need to moisten the substrate use a spray bottle. Remember that the tray does not contain drainage.

7- The seeds will germinate within a few weeks to a few months. Keep in mind that the above-ground growth develops before the root system. For the roots to develop they need constant moisture.

8- When the roots are established you can move them to an individual pot, if desired. If it puts up resistance, you can move it. You may need to use tweezers for this step. You can also let the plant develop longer. To see if its roots are established give it a little tug.

9- Do not place the plants in full sun until they are mature. You can place them in a place where they receive filtered light. As they grow you can acclimate them to more light. As a general rule, cactus seedlings generally need sun protection for the first few years or until the seedlings are about 3 inches wide.

propagate cactus
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.