User avatar
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 5477
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 1:59 pm
Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

How to harvest and plant cactus seeds.

I bought 60 different types of cactus on ebay many of them have seed pods.

What is the correct way to harvest the seeds?

What is the best way to grow from seeds?

I have planted seeds before, few seeds grow the ones that do die after a few days. What am I doing wrong.


User avatar
Mod Emeritus
Posts: 7646
Joined: Tue Jun 24, 2008 1:04 am
Location: Oregon

Many cactus cuttings do better when planted in dry soil. Dryness stimulates the production of roots on cuttings, and in a similar way, it stimulates the root to emerge from the seed coat. For that reason, most cactus seeds should be sown in dry soil. Wait a couple of weeks before providing water to the seeds.

Molds, which don't have much of a presence in desert-like climates, often attack seeds in cooler climates. Being careful to use sterile soil and containers when planting cactus seeds can promote better success with germination. Most potting mixes are sterile, and containers can simply be rinsed in a solution of water and chlorine bleach.

Personally, I would allow the seed pods to ripen on the cactus, possibly bagging them to prevent loss of the seeds if the pods were to split open. I would use paper bags to avoid creating a humid environment around the pods as they ripen. However, it's my understanding that most seed pods are eaten by animals, which then disperse the seeds, so it might be a good idea to break the pods open after they're dry, and spread the seeds out in a warm, dry place so they can dry further.

That's about all I can think of off the top of my head. I googled and found [url=]this site[/url] that seems to have good information. It's a European site, so all the measurements are metric.

The site suggests trying a variety of methods to germinate cactus seeds, including the damp paper towel method often used for other types of seeds. It would be good to try each method on just a few seeds, to find which works best for each type of cactus. :)
"Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?" - Douglas Adams

Full Member
Posts: 44
Joined: Tue May 17, 2011 11:10 pm
Location: Calgary, Alberta

I started some cacti mix seeds in a small pot (actually a cut down 7Eleven Big Gulp cup :lol:) in a vegetable/produce ziplock bag.

Cacti surprise mixed seed in Baggie Germinator

Perlite and cactus soil at 50/50, in a pot with bowl underneath to catch run-offs. Thoroughly wet it with a mister until water runs out at the bottom. Put it in a vegetable/produce ziplock (the ones with tiny little pores so they can breathe, but retain humidity) and somewhere that's gets filtered light (I just put them outside in the shade of other plants).

Alternatively, any domed clear container (like a supermarket roast chicken take-away container) is good too.

Aloe polyphylla, Dioscorea elephantipes and Cereus forbesii spiralis seeds in Chicken Dome :)

After about a week, I have the first eager cactus poking out to meet the sunlight :) one of the seeds from the Baggie Germinator has hatched!

Mind you cacti seedlings burn very easily, so try not to put it in direct sunlight.
The mighty Oak is just another lonely nut who stood its ground ...

Return to “Cactus Forum - Cacti Including all Succulent Plants”