Growing succulents from seeds is not the easiest and the fastest way to propagate these beauties, but it’s an exciting and rewarding experience. Leaf cuttings are surely the fastest way to propagate succulents, but that means you can propagate only what you already have. And who can resist the tons of gorgeous succulents available on the market? If you’d like to expand your succulent collection and learn how to grow them from seeds, take a look at our guide.
If you’re a patient gardener that shares love for succulents and seed raising, then you will definitely enjoy watching your seeds turn into beautiful tiny rosettes.
As said previously, succulents are slow growers and some seeds need months to germinate. But, it’s the cheapest way to add a lot of beautiful new plants to your collection.
But, first – let’s say something on succulent reproduction.
Most succulents are self-sterile, meaning they need pollen from another plant to reproduce. The only certain way to get the exact plant you want is propagating from cuttings or when the female plant is pollinated by the other plant from the same species.
That brings us to the most important thing – buying seeds from a reliable seller. Getting your succulent seeds from a reliable source guarantee that your seeds have a great quality. It also guarantees that you’ll get the exact succulent you’ve asked for.
However, some people love that element of surprise when growing succulents from seeds. Growing hybrid seedlings that have different characteristics than their parent plants is surely an interesting aspect of growing succulents. Especially if you’re collecting the seeds from your plants on your own.
While some succulent species have large seeds, most of the seeds are extremely and unbelievably tiny, almost like dust. It might be tricky to handle them, but it’s manageable. Collect them with clean, sterilized fingers, or use a popsicle stick, toothpick or even a q-tip.
The best soil for succulent seedlings is the compost of sand and peat. Be sure to use sterilized or new-bought soil, since young plants are susceptible to bacteria. The soil should be porous and able to drain out quickly.
You can use a flat or section tray, or even make your own. Be sure to use a tray with drainage holes.
When sowing succulents, be sure to clean your hands and use clean tools. Since seeds are mostly dust-like, find a place sheltered from the wind.
Growing medium should be damp, so the seeds would stick to the soil. Try to place them apart enough so each seedling has space to grow. Don’t cover them with soil, just press them gently. Succulent seeds need light and regular watering to germinate.
To keep the soil moist without washing the seeds out and lose them in the soil, use a spray bottle. Another option is watering from below. In that case, put the tray into the larger tray with water and the soil will pull up the needed amount of water.
Using a tray cover is not mandatory, but it could speed up the process of germination and help in retaining moisture. Cover the tray with a plastic wrap or with a clear, plastic lid with holes. The windowsill greenhouse kit is also handy.
The tray with the seeds should be kept under bright, indirect light.
The temperature should be constant – succulents seeds need the temperature to be at least 70°F (21°C) to germinate.
Once you’ve provided your seeds with the optimal conditions, you will need to wait for several days, weeks or sometimes months, for them to germinate, depending on the succulent type.
When the first leaves appear, remove the lid. You will need to maintain a regular watering schedule until new plants establish a strong root system. Avoid exposing these baby plants to the direct light, because the hot sun can burn them. As they grow, you can gradually start introducing them to more and more direct light.
When the leaves start to look ‘fleshy’, you can start treating your succulent seedlings as mature plants and cut back on watering gradually.
If the whole process of growing succulents from seeds sounds a bit terrifying to you, there’s a silver lining – succulent seedlings handle transplantation very well.
When your new succulent babies develop a root system and grow big enough to make the tray crowded, it’s time for transplanting them into their new homes.
Repot the new grown succulents in a good organic potting mix and rock/perlite mixture. Organic matter provides plants with required nutrients, while the rock component provides good drainage and stability to the soil mix.
Find a sunny place for your succulents and be sure to water them only when the soil is completely dry. Now that you have a variety of shapes and colors, and the ability to make jaw-dropping succulent arrangements, it seems that the path from a succulent seed to the grown plant is not that hard after all.