One of the most fascinating and enjoyable aspects of succulents is the ease with which they can be propagated, or bred, into new plants! This can be achieved by a variety of means such as leaf cuttings, offsets, stem cuttings, or seeds.
There are more than 2,000 species of cacti and succulents. Cactus and succulent seeds are generally available from commercial seed companies.
The genus and species of your succulent(s) will determine the most effective means of propagation.
For example, some species, like sedums and some echeverias, can be propagated with a leaf or cutting, while aeoniums require cuttings. Growing from seeds is both challenging and rewarding.
We begin to propagate a Sencio in our video called A Crazy Day. Click below to watch
Thank you tee8614 for dropping the name in the comments. Now we know what the plant in the video is! Watch Part 3 for more information!
Propagating with seeds is by far the slowest method, but it can be very rewarding! Mature succulents produce seeds at the swollen base of their flowers which can be collected when the plant is finished flowering.
It’s best to start the seed propagating process at the beginning of spring so the plants can have a longer growing period before entering into the winter dormancy stage.
Step One: Line a tray or planter with succulent/cactus soil, or your home made well-filtering mix! Soak your seeds for 30 minutes to loosen the outer seed coat and then spread the seeds on the soil while providing space between them to encourage and facilitate growth.
Afterwards, cover your seeds with a very thin layer of sand or succulent soil, making sure not to bury the seeds.
Step Two: Place the tray or planter in a warm environment and cover the tray with clear plastic to create a greenhouse effect, keeping the seeds moist and warm.
Step Three: Water the seeds with a spray bottle daily, only letting the top soil dry out between watering. The seeds will start to germinate in 2-3 weeks.
Keep an eye out as we follow the progress of these seeds!
As the succulents grow you can gradually revert to a more traditional succulent watering cycle.
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Clean your propagation pans by washing them with disinfectant. Pans should be small and shallow, no more than 4 inches deep and 6 inches in diameter. There are many different suggested growing media formulas to experiment with.
One formula calls for mixing a coarsely sifted organic growing medium, such as commercial potting soil, with an equal volume of sharp sand, perlite or pumice for drainage.
You can pasteurize your growing medium by baking it in an oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Allow it to cool and wet it thoroughly. Let it drain but not dry out. Fill the propagation pans with the moist soil mixture to about ½ inch below the rim.
Sow seeds in the pans around the end of April. Plant seeds as deep into the soil as the seeds are wide and press down lightly. Cover small seeds with a sprinkling of sand to hold them in place.
Seed spacing will depend on the species of cactus or succulent you are germinating. Cover the pans with clear plastic or glass.
Place them in a bright location but out of direct sun. Keep temperature around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If soil seems too dry, spray lightly with water. Be sparing. Too much water can drown the seed. Don’t let soil dry out.
Watch for germination. Most cacti and succulents will germinate within three weeks but some species require more time even up to a year.
When seedling plants appear, raise the cover during the day for ventilation. Watch soil moisture. Don’t all the ow soil to dry out but also don’t saturate it. Keep the temperature between 50 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Transplant your plants into their permanent pots. Most cacti and succulents will be ready to transplant in 6 months to a year after germination.
The right growth size for transplanting will depend on the species you are growing. Most cacti can be transplanted when they are the size of a large marble.
Many other succulents may be transplanted when they are 2 to 4 inches tall. Gently lift the plants from the growing medium, set into the soil of the new container, firm the soil around the roots and water well.
Check out our web page Propagating Succulents for more information on other propagation techniques.