Growing cacti from seed

While we here are KidsGardening are still dreaming big for Kids Garden Month, we’re also dreaming tiny when it comes to our indoor staff garden.

Let me back up a bit.

Back in February, our staff embarked on a growing project. We decided to try something none of us in the office had any experience starting from seed – cactuses! Succulents and cactuses are all the rage right now for good reason – they’re adorable, are available in such interesting shapes and colors, and their tiny size make them appealing to collect.

Most of us here at KidsGardening have started seedlings for an annual vegetable or flower garden before, but the cactuses have been an entirely new experience for all of us. Honestly, that’s been one of the best parts – no one really knows what they’re doing, so we have all gotten the opportunity to learn together.

One of the first bits of research we did about growing cactuses taught us that we would need to be patient. It will take about a year before they’ll be big enough to transplant to their own pots!

If you’re interested in growing your own cactuses, here’s what we have done so far for our cactus babies, affectionately called the Prickly Palace.

Materials

  • Packet of mixed cactus seeds
  • Plastic growing flat and cover
  • Seed starting soil mix
  • Bonsai soil mix, or other gritty soil
  • Heat mat (this was necessary for our drafty winter window, but your climate may vary)

Method

starting cactus from seed
Pour seed starting soil mix into your plastic growing flat. Moisten with water, and mix so the water is evenly distributed.
growing cactus from seed
Evenly distribute the cactus seeds on the soil.
starting cactus from seed
Cover with a light coating of bonsai soil mix.
growing cactus from seed
Place on top of a heat mat to ensure the proper seed germination temperature. Cover with the plastic cover in order to maintain moisture. Your cactuses should be exposed to some sunlight, but not direct sun all day.
growing cactus from seed
After a few weeks, the cactuses will sprout!
growing cactus from seed
Once they have spines, ventilate your plants by taking the plastic cover off for several hours each day. We let ours dry out a bit, but still water 1-2 times a week. (Dime for scale)

Once the cactuses are the size of marbles, they will be ready to transplant into their own pots. At that point, we’ll use a cactus / succulent soil mix to repot them into individual clay pots. Only 10 more months to go!

This would be a GREAT project for patient kids or adults! What about you? Have you grown cactus from seed? Do you have any advice for us?

Blog by: Beth Saunders

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