Christmas Cactus is a popular cactus plant grown indoors that produces beautiful pink blooms during the time of Christmas.
At Christmas, you may have gifted Christmas Cactus to your loved ones.
Gifting a full-grown plant can be expensive, so you might want to propagate from seeds and gift them on Christmas.
Generally, you can extract Christmas Cactus seeds from ripe fruit, which is ready to fall off. To germinate the extracted seeds, use fresh seeds immediately or stored seeds after soaking for 30 minutes before sowing. Likewise, sow them in well-draining soil under a steady temperature of 70-75°F.
However, you should know the basic requirements and procedures to propagate the seeds successfully.
Continue reading to find out how to grow lush Christmas Cactus.
Table of Contents
- Christmas Cactus Seeds Overview
- How Do You Extract Cactus Seeds?
- Christmas Cactus Seeds for Sale
- Can You Grow Christmas Cactus from Seeds?
- Tips to Care for Christmas Cactus Seeds After Propagation
Christmas Cactus Seeds Overview
Christmas Cactus are epiphytes in the natural habitat, which use their roots to cling to other plants or rock for support.
Furthermore, Christmas Cactus or Schlumbergera buckleyi produces fruit during Christmas time.
Here is a brief overview of Christmas Cactus seeds.
|Shape||Flattened pear shape|
|Size||3 to 4 mm long|
|Weight||Approximately 0.004 gram|
|Fruiting season||Late fall through mid-winter.|
|Fruit Color||Red when harvesting|
|Flowering Season||During Christmas|
|Harvesting season||One year after the fruiting|
|Germination Time||Two to three weeks|
You should plant the seeds fresh to get a high germination success rate.
How Do You Extract Cactus Seeds?
The pink, inch-long fruit that the Christmas Cactus produces is attractive and will grow at the base of the pollinated flower.
If you wish to hand pollinate the flowers, identify the stigma and anther on the flowers.
Then rub the anther of a flower with a cotton swab to collect the pollen and rub the same cotton swab onto the sticky stigma of another Christmas Cactus flower.
Likewise, if you are not getting enough blooms to extract the seeds, you can use a bloom booster to speed up the blooming process.
After pollination, you will soon see a fruit forming. The seed pods are green when the flower blooms, so you have to wait for a year for the seed pods to become ripe and turn bright pink.
Ensure the temperature is below 90°F as the flower buds may drop in extreme heat.
When the Christmas Cactus fruit turns bright pink and starts to fall off, it indicates viable seeds.
In the Christmas Cactus, germination is negatively impacted by harvesting and seed extraction before reaching maturity.
According to a study on research gate, prematurely harvested seed often has low germination and has a limited lifespan.
After the seeds are mature, you can easily extract the seeds with some essential tools.
|Paper towel||To absorb excess moisture after extraction|
|White paper||To ensure the tiny seeds does not get lost|
|Zip lock bags||To store the seeds|
|Labels||For writing seeds description|
Steps to Extract the Seeds from Christmas Cactus
- To begin with, handpick the fruits when they are ripe or wait until they drop off.
- If you have multiple fruits produced, it is better to choose the ripest.
- Squeeze one end and squirt the seeds onto a paper towel.
- Place them in a sieve with tiny holes under running water, and wash the seeds to clean of pulp.
- Rub the tiny black seeds around the paper towel to dry and separate.
- Put the seeds on white paper and store them in a zip lock bag to avoid losing them.
- Finally, keep them in a cool and dry location away from heat sources and direct sunlight.
Christmas Cactus Seeds for Sale
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of extracting seeds, you can easily buy them in online stores.
|Amazon||Within 4 to 5 days|
|Etsy||Within1 to 2 weeks|
|ebay||Estimated between 13 days to 1.5 months|
|Windowsill Cactus||Varies according to location|
Can You Grow Christmas Cactus from Seeds?
The most popular way of growing Christmas Cactus is through stem cutting. However, you can easily grow the Christmas Cactus from seeds.
The seeds are ready for propagation instantly after extracting. But you can also plant them during spring by saving the seeds during harvesting.
The best season to plant Christmas Cactus seeds is during the spring. For sowing them in spring, you can put the harvested seeds in a plastic zip-lock bag.
It would approximately take 2 to 3 weeks for your Christmas Cactus seeds to germinate.
Materials Required to Grow Christmas Cactus from Seeds
To propagate the seeds correctly, you need the following material.
|Seed Starter Mix||For growing the seeds|
|Seed Tray||Potting Medium|
| Gloves||For safety|
|Plastic bag or sheet||To maintain humidity and temperature for the seeds|
Steps to Propagate Christmas Cactus via Seeds
After successfully extracting seeds from the fruit, you can follow the steps below to propagate the Christmas Cactus.
Step 1: Preparing the Seeds
The freshly extracted seeds do not need to be prepared. You can directly sow them in the potting mix.
Similarly, if you are storing the seeds for later, store them in a ziplock bag in the refrigerator for a month.
It helps increase germination rates by imitating a natural winter dormant period.
Additionally, if you have stored the seeds for months, it is better to soak them for a few hours to rehydrate.
As the seeds of Christmas Cactus are small, it does not need 24 hours of soaking.
Step 2: Sowing the Seeds
- Before sowing, disinfect the germination tray to prevent the seeds from fungal diseases.
- Sow the fresh seeds in a seed tray containing equal parts of moistened, finely milled sphagnum peat moss and perlite.
- You can also buy a commercial potting mix for your cactus.
- Press the seeds lightly into the medium, but do not cover the seed.
- Cover the seed tray with clear plastic wrap or enclose it in a plastic bag to maintain high humidity levels.
- Move them to a place where it gets bright, indirect light for germination.
- Maintain the temperature between 70 to 75 F to see the seedling sprout.
- If you live in an extremely cold climate, it is better to use a heating pad to boost germination.
Normally, it would take 2 to 3 weeks to germinate the Christmas Cactus seeds.
Step 3: Transplanting the Sprouts
The last part is transplanting the sprouts into the pot or your garden.
- Only transplant the sprouts when it grows about 2-3 inches.
- Likewise, the pot can be clay or plastic with a good drainage hole but not in glazed ceramics.
- Ensure you do not damage the roots when transplanting them into a pot. Handle the plant really carefully.
- You can plant them in a hanging pot near a window to get the cascading effect.
- Finally, after the successful transplant into the pot, provide them plenty of water.
Glazed ceramics should be avoided as they are not porous, as Christmas Cactus cannot obtain oxygen from the surrounding air.
Tips to Care for Christmas Cactus Seeds During Propagation
- Move the pot to a location receiving bright, indirect light. It should not get direct sunlight for more than 3 hours as it can damage the plant.
- Do not allow the seeds to dry; mist them regularly and avoid overwatering.
- Ensure the potting soil is well-drained as they do not like sitting in a pool of water.
- Place the pot in a small water bowl and let the soil absorb the water via the drainage holes if the top soil appears to be dry.
- During the germination, maintain the temperature of 70-75°F.
- If you live in a colder climate, use a heating pad underneath to boost the germination process.
- To maintain the overall humidity of around 60%, you can use a humidity dome or a humidifier.
The Christmas Cactus roots will form in 2-3 weeks after you sow them.
Tips to Care for Christmas Cactus Seeds After Propagation
- A location within three feet of large south, east, or west-facing window would be ideal where it gets 8 hours of indirect sunlight.
- If you live in a darker apartment with no sight of natural light, you can use artificial lighting.
- Christmas Cactus like higher humidity; hence, you can keep them in a bathroom or kitchen.
- The pot should have good drainage holes in the bottom.
- In the fall, when shoot growth stops, let the soil surface dry out in between waterings to reduce the likelihood of root rot.
- Use all-purpose 20-20-20 fertilizer every 2-3 weeks from spring to ensure proper nutrients for your plant.
- Maintain a stable temperature of 60-70°F.
- Your plant may be susceptible to mealy bugs, so dab the cotton swab drenched in 70% or less solution of rubbing alcohol in the infected area.
Christmas Cactus will bloom around 18 months after planting from seed under ideal conditions.
After the blooms, each flower in Christmas Cactus will last for at least six days. Similarly, it will continue to give new blooms for four to six weeks.
Read our article on Christmas Cactus light Requirements: A Complete Guide.
Growing Christmas Cactus from seeds is as easy as you read above. Follow the steps and requirements I have mentioned.
They are a minimal care requirement plant, which you do not have to worry about.
You can enjoy its beautiful blooms if you give them little love.