Can You Grow Succulents From Seed: Tips For Planting Succulent Seeds

succulent seedling
succulent seedling
(Image credit: Ton Rulkens)

Most of us who collect and grow succulents have a couple of varieties we want badly but can never find for purchase at a reasonable price. Perhaps, we can’t find them at all - if the plant is rare or difficult in some way. One option for adding these to our collection is growing succulents from seed. While many of us wouldn’t be intimidated by starting other plants of any kind in this manner, we may be unsure of how to sow succulent seeds. Or we might even wonder can you grow succulents from seed?

Planting Succulent Seeds

Is it realistic to attempt succulent seed propagation? Let’s discuss the fine points of what is different about growing succulents from seed. Starting new succulents in this way is a slow process, but if you’re willing to devote the time and effort, it can be an inexpensive way to get unusual plants.

Finding quality seeds that are properly labeled is of utmost importance. Many that write online about growing succulents from seed say they use local nurseries as their source. Others mention online sources for acquiring seeds. Check with companies you use for buying other plants. Use only legitimate, reputable nurseries to buy succulent seeds, and be cautious when ordering from online retailers. Research customer reviews, and check the Better Business Bureau as well when warranted.

How to Sow Succulent Seeds

We’ll want to start off with the proper germinating medium. Some suggest coarse sand, such as builder’s sand. Playground and other fine sand are not appropriate. You can add bagged potting soil to the sand at one half, as you wish. Others mention pumice and perlite, but since seeds are so small, it would be easy to lose them in this coarse medium.

Moisten the soil thoroughly before planting. Sow seeds on top of the germinating mix, lightly pressing into the soil and sprinkling with sand to barely cover them. Keep the soil consistently moist by misting it as it dries out. Don’t let the soil get soggy or dry out.

Containers for starting these seeds should be shallow with several holes punched into the bottom. You can use plastic take-out trays with clear lids for easy covering. Or you can cover it with plastic or glass. Make sure containers are clean and sanitized before planting.

The seeds are tiny, making them easy to lose and sometimes difficult to work with. So small, in fact, they could potentially blow away in the wind. Plant them indoors or in a wind-free area. Keep the planted seeds where the wind can’t reach them, in bright light but not direct sun.

Growing succulent plants from seed requires patience. When seeds sprout in a few weeks, remove the covering and continue to keep misted. Give them limited, dappled sun at this point, if possible.

Let the plants continue to grow. Transplant into individual containers when a good root system has developed. Care for them as you normally would and enjoy your new, unique, and interesting plants.

Becca Badgett

Becca Badgett was a regular contributor to Gardening Know How for ten years. Co-author of the book How to Grow an EMERGENCY Garden, Becca specializes in succulent and cactus gardening.