Succulents are some of the dearest houseplants in our busy modern life. They are so easy to care for, and so pleasing to look at. Succulents are very resilient; they do not require a lot of attention, yet with their interestingly various shapes, sizes, colors, and textures they would spruce up any living space. One of the most wonderful things about succulents is that they can be propagated easily from leaves, stems, or offsets. Propagating succulents and watching baby plants grow from a piece of thick, chunky succulent leaf is fascinating. However, not many people are aware that, like other plants, some succulents can be grown from seeds too.
Seed planting has been around since the beginning of human civilization, and planting succulents from seeds is pretty much similar to most plants. It is a time-consuming process, which can be frustrating because the success rate is lower than propagation, but it is a challenge that many succulent lovers are up for, as it is also very rewarding. There is always something magical about new living things being born from tiny dots of seeds. Successfully growing baby plants from seeds is an invaluable experience!
If you want to step up your gardening game and try this method, read on.
Why Should We Germinate Succulents from Seeds?
Succulents are easy to propagate from cuttings, and they are also readily available almost in every plant store and market. However, some rare succulents are not easy to find. Some, you can find in the stores, but they would cost you an arm and leg, so it might not be ideal to buy as many of them as you’d like to. In those cases, seed planting is a good money-saving option to expand your collection.
Photo by wichatsuri
Another reason people grow succulents from seeds is to have an incredible gardening experience. If you are into gardening, or succulents, or both, seed planting is something you definitely should try. See for yourself if you can yield a bountiful harvest! If you succeed, you will have plenty of tiny beauties for your home garden and for giving away to your friends and family.
[What We Need to Start]What We Need to Start Growing Succulents from Seeds?
Seed planting isn’t rocket science. There have been tons of knowledge about this method in agriculture that we can apply to grow our succulents from seeds. However, as succulents have their own care requirements, it is very important that we mimic a suitable, succulent-friendly environment for the seeds to grow.
This seems obvious, but we still need to emphasize the importance of good seeds, because good, authentic succulent seeds are more difficult to find than other plants. You can first try to look around your local plant nurseries and succulent gardens, and then search for exotic, rare seeds online. Amazon and Etsy do have trust-worthy sellers with high-quality seeds but beware of shady sellers and scammers. Make sure you purchase your seeds from reputable sources with verified positive buyer reviews.
Tiny succulent seeds.
Photo by The Greedy Vegan
Good Growing Medium
A good, clean growing medium is a deciding factor for the success of seed planting. You can either use coarse sand, or a well-draining and porous soil especially made for succulents. You can also use a soilless medium like coconut coir. The most important thing is to ensure the growing medium of the seeds has good drainage and airflow.
There are several planting tools you need for this method:
- A clean, shallow tray with drainage holes. Any plastic tray would do, but we recommend that you use a seed starter tray with a humidity-vented dome. You can find this kind of tray in most gardening stores. It is designed for seeds to grow, so it optimizes airflow and drainage.
- A mister to keep the soil moist without disturbing the seeds.
- Toothpicks to pick up tiny succulent seeds.
[How to Grow Succulent from Seeds]How to Grow Succulent from Seeds - Step By Step
Step 1: Soak the Seeds
Soaking is not a must, but we recommend that you soak your succulent seeds in warm water of around 90 degrees Fahrenheit for 12-24 hours before planting. Most seeds germinate better and faster when they are submerged in water, as water will penetrate the seed coat, making the embryos inside plump up. Do not soak the seeds for more than 24 hours or the seeds will decompose. Remove the seeds and plant them immediately in moist soil.
Step 2: Prepare the Tray
Fill the tray with your choice of growing medium. Water it thoroughly and let all excess water drain completely. The soil should be moist but not waterlogged so that the seeds can stick to the soil and stay in place.
Step 3: Planting
You can use a dampened toothpick to lift the seeds and carefully put them on your soil mix, make sure you give them enough space between each seed. If you use a tray with multiple small compartments (cells), place 1-2 seeds in each cell. Press the seed gently into the soil, and do not cover them with a layer of soil.
Gently putting the seeds on the soil.
Photo by mixetto
Step 4: Care for Your Seeds During Germination Time
Your succulent seeds have the best chance to germinate if you provide them with an ideal environment to grow, which includes stable and warm temperatures, high humidity, and indirect light. We recommend that you use a plastic cover for the tray to slow down evaporation and lock in humidity. The soil should be moistened by misting every couple of days. Place the tray in an airy, bright spot away from direct sunlight.
Germinating time can take anywhere from 2-10 weeks, or even longer. It depends on the type of succulents, the quality of the seeds, and the indoor environment that you have. Most of the time, you can expect to see tiny seedlings sprouting in 2-6 weeks.
Step 5: Care for Seedlings
When your seeds start to sprout and seedlings appear, rush to take your phone to snap some photos, and don’t forget to remove the tray lid so they have better airflow. Continue to mist the soil, or start to water gently. Keeping the soil moist does wonders in promoting root development. Be careful not to overwater and make sure the soil drains well. You can gradually reduce watering and introduce your baby plants to more sunlight once the root system has established (in a couple of months).
Tiny seedlings sprouting.
Photo by Clement Peiffer
Step 6: Repot Baby Succulents
You can move your baby succulents to their pots after a few months when they are mature enough to be repotted. You should loosen the soil around the base and lift the plants gently without pulling the roots. From now on, take care of your succulents according to their own care guide.
- Maintain a stable environment between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit without extreme hot or cold drafts or sudden changes in temperature and humidity.
- Use a grow lamp if your home does not have enough natural light
- Don’t worry if there is a small layer of mold caused by high humidity on the topsoil of the tray. Replace the topsoil if needed.
- If your seeds haven’t germinated after a few weeks, be patient. It may take several more weeks to see sprouts. Some seeds may fail to germinate and that’s ok too. Failed germination is a part of the seed planting game and you can always try again.