Growing Succulents and Cactuses from Seeds and Cuttings

The only way to get flawless specimens of cactus and succulents is to grow the plants yourself from seed. The process is generally quite simple. Specimens collected in the wild can be damaged, and thus are not usually as robust as plants grown from seed. You can begin your cactus from seed at any time of year with the confidence of producing plants of a good size in twelve months or so. This is especially true of such genera as Cereus and Opuntia.

To grow cactuses from seed sow the seeds in a well-drained seed soil, and handle them like any other seed. After germination give less water than for other kinds of seedlings or the young plants with burst. That is to say, the skin will open, resulting in a permanent scar.

Making a cutting of cactus is the easiest thing in the world. Just cut or break off a piece of the plant and you’re done! Since the tissues are so watery, the cut surface must be callused before the cutting is planted. Lay in on a shelf in a sunny location where there is good circulation. The cut will callus within a few days.

Such succulents as the aloes, haworthias, apicras, and gasterias may also grow from suckers as well as from seeds and cuttings.

Late May and June is best for starting the cuttings because the wounds will heal quickly and well.

When collecting a plant from a friend’s yard or garden, they may be badly damaged when removed. Make a clean cut with a sharp knife (always a sharp, sterilized knife). If the base of the plant is hard and woody, remove that part also, because the roots will start only from the fresh growing parts of the plant. Cut back to the soft, watery tissue, and expose to the sun until the wound has callused. Any diseased or decayed portion of the plants must be cut out. If the disease continues to spread, cut out the area again and cauterize with a hot iron.

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