Lyn is a horticulturist and YouTuber with over 35 years of experience growing succulents and cacti.
How to Grow a Cactus
Contrary to what you might think, it is so easy to grow cactus from seed. In the demo video above, I show how to sow Ferocactus seeds, but this method will work for any type of cactus.
How Long Does It Take for Cactus to Grow from Seed?
Cactus seeds can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 12 weeks to germinate.
When Is the Best Time to Sow Cactus Seeds?
The best time of year to sow cactus seeds is in spring and summer, but you can sow them at any time of year if you have grow lights, even in the wintertime.
- An empty container with some holes in the bottom. I often use a Tupperware container, which is very good for sowing seeds.
- A larger container that the first Tupperware can sit in.
- Cactus seeds! In the demo video above, I'm using Ferocactus seeds.
- Well-draining soil. I recommend using seed-sowing soil and adding extra pumice or grit (go for a 50/50 ratio of pumice or grit to seed-sowing soil).
- A little bit of sand or vermiculite just to sprinkle over the top once you've sown the seeds.
- A little piece of folded-up card or paper, if the seeds are very tiny.
- Once you've mixed the soil, fill the container with holes in it up with the soil. Then tamp it down gently.
- Add an inch or two of water to the larger container, and then set the container with soil into the water. (Wetting the soil before sowing the seeds helps keep the seeds from floating off over the top of the soil.)
- Leave the containers for about 20 minutes or so, or until the top of the surface of the soil is completely moist.
- Remove the container with soil from the container with the water in it.
- Distribute the seeds as evenly as you can across the soil surface. If the seeds are very tiny (some cactus seeds can be almost dust-like), you can put them into a little folded piece of card and then tap it across to distribute the seed evenly. If the seeds are quite large, you can just sprinkle them across the surface of the soil with your fingers.
- Lightly cover the seeds with a sprinkling of sand or vermiculite. (If the seeds are very, very small, you don't have to cover them.)
- Label your container what type of cactus species you are sowing and the date it's been sown (e.g., Ferocactus, Jan. 2, 2022).
- Keep the soil evenly moist at all times. Never let the soil dry out, because when they're young seedlings, the delicate root hairs can dry out.
- Keep the seeds warm at a minimum temperature of 70˚F in a bright window (but avoid direct, strong sunshine until the seeds have germinated).
More Cactus Inspiration!
- How to Get Your Cactus to Flower
Having trouble getting your desert cactus to flower indoors? Make sure you aren't over-potting and remember to overwinter! These tips and more inside!
- 5 Tips for Overwintering Cacti (From Watering Less to Checking for Pests)
From keeping your cacti away from heat sources to checking regularly for pests, here are five tips for keeping your cacti alive this winter.
- How to Repot a Cactus Without Getting Hurt
Step-by-step instructions on how to repot and safely handle cacti in your garden.
© 2022 Lyn Kimberley