HomeCactus & SucculentsHow to Grow Cactus from Seeds+Best Cacti for Seed Propagation

How to Grow Cactus from Seeds+Best Cacti for Seed Propagation

Growing Cactus from Seeds is very rewarding! You can grow many expensive & unique varieties cheaply and add them to your collection or gift them!

Starting cactus from seeds is an inexpensive growing method that will only cost a few cents per plant. This will allow you to give them away as gifts and share them with friends too! Here is everything and more you need to know on How to Grow Cactus from Seeds!

Check out our article on best fertilizer for cactus here

Getting Seeds

Seeds of your choice can be purchased from any garden supply center, nursery, online, or harvested from a cactus in bloom. The seed pods are usually a brightly-colored off-shoot from a plant that bears flowers. Once flowers fall off, the pod filled with seeds remains.

Slice the pod open with a sharp knife and scrape out the seeds. Seed color and size varies depending on the species.

Here are some popular cactus types you can grow easily

How to Grow Cactus from Seeds

How to Grow Cactus from Seeds

Seeds make it easier to get different cactus species that may not be available as plants or available at a very high price. This way, you can fill your home or landscape with a wide variety of these interesting desert plants! Use these tips and tricks and start growing cactus from seeds for yourself!

Germination Time

The amount of time it takes for cactus seeds to germinate depends on the species and climate. If cactus seeds are started indoors or in a covered area like a balcony, they will germinate faster than seeds planted outdoors. The controlled environment inside your home will prompt the seeds to germinate in a few weeks.

Cacti seeds planted outdoors (If the growing conditions remain stable and ideal) will take anywhere between 3 weeks to several months, depending on the species type and growing conditions. The seeds will remain dormant in the soil until the ideal moisture and temperature occur, and that is unpredictable.

Soil for Planting

Cactus seeds need sterilized, well-draining potting media, as pest-free as possible. Purchase potting mix specially formulated for growing cactus. Regular soil is not good enough for cactus seeds and will expose them to bacteria, which will lead to poor germination and root rot.

Container Requirements

If you are reusing pots and trays, make sure you clean them thoroughly to prevent potential pests and diseases from damaging the seeds or destroying seedlings after the seeds have germinated. Clean and disinfect recycled pots with bleach water and rinse thoroughly.

When and How To Plant Cactus Seeds?

Sow seeds in late winter or early spring for best results. This will give the seedlings plenty of time to grow during summer and establish a strong root system before winter.

If you live in a warm frost-free climate, you can propagate seeds any time, except peak summer. There too, winter and spring are the best seasons for growing cactus from seeds.

  • Fill a clean container with sterilized soil and water moderately.
  • Spread cactus seeds on top of the soil, but don’t press them into the soil. Lightly cover them with a thin layer of either sand or cactus soil.
  • After the seeds have been planted, cover the container with a plastic wrap. It helps in retaining moisture while allowing light to reach the soil and germinating seedlings.
  • Place the container near a sunny window where it’ll get a bright but indirect sunlight.

Note: Cactus seedlings are very sensitive and need protection from direct sun. Provide them bright light and stable growing conditions until they become established plants, then introduce them to the outdoors slowly.

For colder climates, pick cold-hardy varieties. The Opuntia family of cactus plants is a champion for cold environments. 

Have a look at the succulents you can grow from seeds here

Best Cacti to Grow from Seeds

  • Barrel Cactus: It can reach 5-10 feet tall with a 2-foot spread. Produces a 3-inch wide orange-yellow flower on each tip in summer.
  • Ball Cactus: Can reach a mature height of 3-feet and covered with hair-like spines. Produces yellow flowers in summer.
  • Pincushion Cactus: Looks like a round pincushion and will tolerate heat and light frost. This cactus produces clusters of bright pink funnel-shaped flowers in the spring.
  • Prickly Pears: Has round, flat joints called pads. Covered with small, barbed spines, and the pads are easy to root and propagate.
  • Mammillaria: A compact plant with globular stems with fluffy areoles.
  • Rebutia: Quite easy to grow and maintain. Forms a cute cluster of small plants.
  • Acanthocereus: Sprawling cactus plants with long stems, triangular cactus from this genus is most popular.


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