Succulents are easy to propagate by using cuttings or leaves, but they can also reproduce through the use of seeds. Succulent seeds are tiny and hard to see, but like the cacti, these plants produce flowers.
The flowers contain an ovule that produces the seeds if pollinated properly. Read on to learn how to get seeds from succulents and other helpful information on the topic.
How can I get seeds from succulents?
The process of getting seeds from succulents requires patience and care because it is tricky. Once the plant’s ovum is pollinated, either by insects or by your paintbrush if grown indoors, it starts to harden. The flower starts to bloom, then dries out and eventually ripens on the stalk. Once you pick the ovum from the flower and it is hard, it means that the seeds are formed already.
The next step is to cut the flower off and place it in a dry container should you plan to extract the seeds and replant them manually. If you notice that it stays moist, this is not good– it indicates mold growth, which kills the seeds. If you notice that the flower is dry when touched, place it in a paper bag gently; the seeds will just drop naturally from the flowers.
You should be careful since the seeds are tiny and it is easy to lose them. They are lightweight and easily blown by the wind, so be sure to close the windows and switch off any nearby electric fans while you are in the process of collecting the seeds.
Place the seeds in a secure, airtight container until you are ready to germinate them. Then, place them on a silica pack in a small jar and store them in a cool, dry place until you are ready to propagate them.
How do succulents create or produce seeds?
Succulents also create seeds and reproduce just like most plants. First, the flowers need to form, which usually occurs yearly. However, succulents may vary in their reproduction cycles based on various conditions. Next, the flowers need to be pollinated. Succulents grown outdoors are pollinated naturally by bees, butterflies, and other insects.
Some succulent flowers have to be cross-pollinated so that seeds are formed. These may not look the same as the original plant. This is because cross-pollinated succulents may carry traits from both the ovule and the pollinator.
Once the pollination is complete, the ovum of succulents transforms into seeds. Since the flowers dry out, the seeds will cling to moist flowers. The wind naturally carries and spreads the seeds, which germinate in the right conditions. Succulents need moist, well-draining soil and enough space to grow roots.
What do succulent seeds look like?
Succulent seeds are so tiny that they are often mistaken as dust. They are easy to lose track of, so take extra care when placing them in the propagation tray. The seeds are usually light or dark brown and look like sand.
It is best to water them and to make sure that the soil is moist once you place the seeds. Water the bottom of the tray to keep the soil moist. Do not allow water to come over the top of the seed starter tray; the seeds will likely float into one corner and become overcrowded.
How long do succulents take to grow from seeds?
The length of time succulents take to grow from seeds will depend on the species. Some seeds germinate for a couple of days; others take up to three weeks. Most succulents are ready to be transplanted after about six months. This does not mean though that the plants are full-grown; that process may take up to a year for some.
Certain succulents may also take years to bloom, which means that reproduction is a slow process. Succulents that take a long time to bloom include the Agave and Sempervivum.
What are other ways to propagate succulents besides using seeds?
Succulents are also propagated by using leaves, cuttings, or fallen limbs or stems. Fallen stems can grow roots, and a new plant will form given the right conditions. What you can do is to cut off a certain part of the plant and with the right environment, the roots take hold and a new plant grows.
Succulents are popular among plant enthusiasts because they are lovely to look at and very easy to care for. They are propagated using seeds that you can get by following the simple process explained in this article. The key is to have patience, care, and the right conditions to successfully propagate and grow new succulents.
Image: istockphoto.com / Mohamad Faizal Bin Ramli