How to Germinate Cactus Seeds

Most people who want to grow a cactus plant garden get their start by purchasing and caring for a cactus that has already grown. This is a great way to get a start as a plant hobbyist since cactus plants are so tough and difficult to kill.

But some people want to take the hobby a step further and grow their own cactus plants from “scratch.” The process of raising a plant all the way from a seed is call “germinating.”

Getting the Seeds

The first thing you’ll need is the seeds, of which you will typically have two options. If you have already gotten practice taking care of a living cactus (which is recommended before taking on germination) and if your current cactus has been sprouting pods; you can harvest seeds from these pods.

If you don’t have access to home-grown seeds, you can always purchase them from any local gardening store.

How to Plant a Cactus Seed

melocactus
Adult melocactus are expensive.  If you are patient you can grow them from seeds.

Start by purchasing a shallow container for the seeds to be planted in. You will need to fill the container with proper soil. Gardening stores sell special cactus-mix soil that can be used. This is important because soil that is not highly-drained may be too moist for cactus plants. Moisten the soil for your cactus seeds but do not allow for any excess water to be the container.

The container should have a hole in the bottom to drain properly.

When it comes time to plant the seeds, do not bury them in the soil as you might expect. Just sprinkle them lightly over the surface of the soil.

Getting Access to Sun

Sunlight can be a bit trickier when dealing with seeds. A grown cactus will have a hard time getting too much sun, but the seeds are a bit more delicate and will only need direct sunlight for a few hours a day.

A trick you can use is to put plastic wrap over the top of the container. The purpose of this is that the clear plastic will allow sunlight to travel in to the seeds, but will also keep moisture inside the container at the same time, preventing the soil from drying up too quickly.

Try to keep your seeds at a steady and warm temperature.

Once the Spines Set

As you start to see the seeds develop into spines, you will know that your cactus plants have germinated and have taken their first step into becoming adult plants. At this point you can remove the plastic wrap to let your plants breathe the open air.

Keep in mind that it can take up to a month or even longer for a cactus seed to germinate, so be patient. These seeds take a bit longer to grow, but that’s because they’re building a plant that lasts.

Once your cactus plant begins to grow you can enjoy it for many years.