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Rare Species

Growing Cactus From Seeds

Full In Depth Guide With Fixes For Common Problems

After months of growing cactus from seeds with very mixed results, we decided to speak to some of Australia’s top cacti gurus to collect their best tips and tricks to share with the public.

Commercial growers and hard-core cactus collectors often have their own personal tweaks to every step but we did manage to come across some common ground that most agreed upon.

In this guide we will cover everything in great depth including materials, light, seeds, water, ph, germination rate, soil mix, grow lights and much more. 

If you’re a beginner and just want to do the basics, check out our beginners guide with cost-effective ways to easily grow cactus from seed.


If you know what you’re after, skip ahead here-




Soil Mix



Germination Rate

Grow Lights

Problems & Solutions



2) Preparation Steps

The first thing to consider when trying to grow cactus from seed is all the material & supplies needed to do it.

For the purpose of this guide being for beginners, we are going to keep the materials used cost effective. More advanced and expensive options can be found on the advanced guide.

In order to grow cacti from seeds you will need-

  1. Cactus Seeds- At least 10x seeds but more is better.
  2. Light- A very sunny location with minimum 6+ hours of great sunlight each day (10+ is better).
  3. Water Spray Bottle- This is to wet the soil without drenching it or disturbing the seeds.
  4. Tray/Container- A clear container with a lid is perfect. If not, a growers tray works great with glad wrap as a lid.
  5. Soil Mix- You can use cacti/succulent pre mixes or make a DIY mix (1/3 soil, 1/3 pearlite & 1/3 river sand)


Other Optional Tips From Cacti Pros-

  1. Shade- If using direct light, a shade cloth is needed to reduce intensity (30-50% is good). We recommend a nice all day indirect light spot like 1m back from a window sill.
  2. Spring Water- Best practice is to use spring water as most tap waters ph is a little higher than cacti prefer.
  3. Anti Fungal- This is optional, some like to mix an anti-fungal power in with the soil (growing media) or sprinkle on top after the seeds to help avoid fungal or mould attack the seedlings. Personally, we try avoid using additives (will explain soon) 
  4. Rubbing Alcohol- This is for cleaning everything to reduce chance of fungus or mould growth.
  5. Microwave/Pressure Cooker- Clean soil mix will definitely improve your chances of successful cactus seed germination.
  6. Grow Light-
  7. Heat Mat-

2) Preparation Steps

Before actually sewing (planting) your cactus seeds, there is a few things to consider to give you the best possible chance at success-

  1. The Location- Possibly the most important factor in growing cacti from seeds. Pick a spot like a window sill that gets indirect light all day but not direct sunlight (this burns the seedlings). It’s a good idea to use a table bench to allow the seed container to sit half a metre back from the window to avoid glare burning off the glass.
PRO TIP: Plan ahead, best to leave the seeds in this location for at least 6 months to avoid shock in a new location.


  1. Too much direct sun light and your seedlings with turn red/purple and die.
  2. Too little light will not met the requirements for the cactus seeds to get started (germinate), they will likely do nothing and wait for the right conditions.
2) Once you’ve selected where the seeds will be left to germinate, it’s time to select what container they will grow in.