Starting Succulent Seeds
As with all seeds there are many ways to get succulent seeds to germinate and grow, but the method below is how we start them.
The keys to successful succulent germination is light, warmth, and moisture.
Succulents can take over 30 days to germinate so it is important to start with a sterile growing medium. Since succulents can take so long to germinate, we use a sterile medium so fungus or mold won’t grow before the seeds have a chance to germinate. We use screened peat with some vermiculite, pearlite, or coarse sand added. You can also use commercial seed starter soil as these are usually sterilized for starting plants. You can also use commercial potting soils, or homemade potting soils made with compost, but you will have to sterilize them first by baking them in an oven set at 200 degrees for one hour. If you are sterilizing your own soil like this make sure the potting mixture does not have any Styrofoam added.
Once your soil mixture is ready you want to pre moisten your soil so it is slightly damp, but not soaking wet. Trying to sow most seeds in a soaking wet environment will make them rot before they can germinate and grow. Additionally if when using a peat/sand mixture we will pre moisten our soil with a diluted (1/4 strength) mixture of water-soluble fertilizer like Miracle Grow. Commercial soils usually have some nutrient level in them and in this case only use water.
Succulents are some of the smallest seeds we sell so it is important to sow them evenly and not clump your seeds together.
In the picture above we have taken, a Tupperware container and added our pre-moistened soil and gently patted down our soil. We then mix our seeds with some sand and use a shaker to evenly distribute them into our pot. You can use any shaker that has large enough holes to allow the seeds to pass, a clean Parmesan cheese or spice bottle will work.
We then put a translucent (clear) lid on the container with the corner of the lid cracked open, or in this case we have covered our container with plastic wrap (and secured with a rubber band) and have poked a few holes for humidity control.
We then have a small shop light attached to our container for a light and heat source. As our soil dries out we water very slightly on the inside of the container being careful not to water directly on our seeds.
Like all seeds succulents needs warmth and moisture to germinate. When using a shop light, and an incandescent light bulb, you should be able to maintain a 70-degree temperature of your surface soil and we recommend using a kitchen type thermometer to help you place your light at the proper distance.
You can also use a LED style grow light or fluorescent shop light, but this will not generate enough warmth and you might have to use a germination heat mat that is easily found on many online vendors like Amazon, Walmart, Ebay, etc. for around $10 to maintain your heat level. It will take a bit of trial and error to get the right set up to maintain a temperature around 70 degrees.
Once your seedlings are about 1” tall you can transplant them to individual pots. If growing to transplant outside slow and steady is the best way to introduce any seedling to your garden. We gradually increase the size of the pot and in spring start putting our seedlings where they get 2 hours of direct sunlight per day for one week. After a week, and if threat of freezing weather has passed, we leave them outdoors in a protected spot where they only get morning sun for a second week and then after that into our garden.