Christmas Cactus is a popular plant that produces beautiful flowers. But did you know you can grow them from seeds?
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.
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Christmas Cactus Seeds Overview
Christmas Cactus are epiphytes in their natural habitat, which use their roots to cling to other plants or rocks for support.
Here is a brief overview of Christmas Cactus seeds.
|Flattened pear shape
|3 to 4 mm long
|Approximately 0.004 gram
|Late fall through mid-winter
|Red when harvesting
|One year after the fruiting
|Two to three weeks
It would be best to plant the seeds fresh to get a high germination success rate.
How Do You Extract Cactus Seeds?
The pink 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.
After pollination, you will soon see Christmas Cactus fruit or seed pod forming.
When the flower blooms, the Christmas Cactus seed pod is green, which takes a year to become ripe and turns bright pink.
When the Christmas Cactus fruit or seed pod turns bright pink and starts to fall off, it indicates viable seeds.
The germination in Christmas Cactus is negatively impacted by harvesting and seed extraction before reaching maturity.
After the seeds mature, you will need a paper towel to absorb moisture, a zip-lock bag to collect seeds, and labels for labeling them before extracting them.
Steps to Extract the Seeds from Christmas Cactus
- First, 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 the 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
You can easily buy them online if you don’t want to go through the hassle of extracting tiny Christmas Cactus seeds from the seed pod.
|Within 4 to 5 days
|Within1 to 2 weeks
|Estimated between 13 days to 1.5 months
|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 plant from seeds.
The best season to plant Christmas Cactus seeds is during the spring. You can put the harvested seeds in a plastic zip-lock bag for sowing them in spring.
It would take approximately 2 to 3 weeks for your Christmas Cactus seeds to germinate.
Steps to Propagate Christmas Cactus via Seeds
After successfully extracting seeds from the fruit, follow the steps below for Christmas Cactus propagation.
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 store 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.
Step 2: Sowing the Seeds
- Before sowing, disinfect the germination tray to prevent the seeds from fungal diseases.
- Sow the fresh seeds in a 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 location 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 a frigid climate, using a heating pad to boost germination is better.
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 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 where it receives bright, indirect light. It should not get direct sunlight for more than 3 hours as it can damage the plant.
- Do not let the seeds dry; mist them regularly and avoid overwatering.
- Place the pot in a small water bowl and let the soil absorb the water via the drainage holes if the top soil appears dry.
- During the germination, maintain a temperature of 70-75°F.
- If you live in a colder climate, use a heating pad underneath to boost germination.
- You can use a humidity dome or a humidifier to maintain an overall humidity of around 60%.
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 with 8 hours of indirect sunlight would be ideal.
- You can use artificial lighting in a darker apartment without natural light.
- Christmas Cactus like higher humidity; hence, you can keep them in a bathroom or kitchen.
- The pot should have suitable 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 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 Christmas Cactus flower will last at least six days. Similarly, it will continue to give new blooms for four to six weeks.
Growing Christmas Cactus from seeds is as easy as you read above. Follow the steps and requirements mentioned above.
You can enjoy its beautiful blooms if you give them little love.