Wondering how to grow succulents from seeds? So was I! I’m embarking on an experiment to learn all about growing succulents from seeds and will be sharing my progress here. Follow along for updates!
How to Grow Succulents From Seeds
Growing plants from seeds is by far the most affordable way to get new plants. But it is time-consuming and can occasionally be frustrating when your seeds don’t germinate, sprout, or grow into anything worth writing home about.
I grow things from seeds outdoors in my raised garden beds, and there’s really nothing more rewarding than watching something sprout from a teeny tiny seed you put in the dirt. Every time it happens, I truly feel like I am seeing it for the first time. It never gets old.
Where can I buy succulent seeds?
There are a lot of places you can buy succulent seeds. Most of the nurseries in the big box hardware stores sell succulents, but they don’t sell seeds. You can check you local specialty nursery (that is, a store that is just a plant nursery, not a hardware or big box store), but I haven’t seen any succulent seeds in my favorite local plant shops. So I bought my seeds online.
I am hesitant to buy something like seeds on Amazon. I’m sure it’s fine it you’re buying through a seller you trust, but I didn’t know too much about sellers. So I went where I always go for random items: Etsy! There are a lot of rare succulent seed shops on Etsy. Most of them seem really similar in terms of selection and reviews.
I ended up settling on Secret Garden Bay because they had a fantastic selection and had every variety I wanted. Etsy is weird like that—if you buy from multiple sellers, you’ll pay shipping separately and it ends up costing more. They also have a disclaimer saying that you are guaranteed to receive the seeds you actually buy because they don’t sell or ship seeds from China. All of theirs seeds come from their latest harvest and they buy from trusted suppliers.
I went with Echeveria purple rosettes, Sedum Morganianum (aka donkey’s tail), Echeveria laui (light purple succulent), and Sinocrassula yunnanensis (the black succulent!). The seeds came fairly quickly, especially considering they were traveling from Poland to Maryland in the United States. They were packaged separately and labeled. My seeds pretty affordable, too.
Each packet of seeds was about $4 USD and contained 10 seeds, with the exception of the Donkey’s Tail seeds, which had 20. I bought them just before Christmas and decided to wait until closer to spring to start them. Well, it’s February and I can’t wait any longer, so here we go!
What kind of seed tray should I use to start succulent seeds?
In the past when I’ve started seeds for the garden, I’ve just used those little seed starting trays from the garden center. But I wanted to step it up for these. After all, the little babies had traveled all the way to Poland to meet me—I didn’t want them to die. So after some research I decided to buy a reusable seed starter tray with a humidity vented dome and a watering tray. Sounds expensive, but it was under 20 bucks.
I liked how the trays were transparent so you could monitor growth, and the fact that the trays are pretty sturdy and reusable. The humidity lid has adjustable vents to help create and control humidity levels, which I thought was essential considering it’s the dead of winter here and DRY indoors!
The little slots for seeds are also small, meaning I could plant a bunch at once without it taking up a ton of room. And, finally, since moisture is really important for the seeds’ developing roots, each of the slots has a drainage hole and a watertight base tray. This helps prevent the roots from getting too much water while at the same time keeping the soil moist.
I typically make my own succulent soil, but I sprung for some bougie organic succulent and cactus soil for this experiment as well. If they fail, I want to make sure it’s user error! (Or bum seeds, but it will probably be user error.)
How to Grow Succulents From Seeds
Here’s a list of exactly what I used:
And here’s how I went about starting my seeds.
Step 1: Fill the seed starting slots
First I filled each of the planting slots in my seed-standing tray with my succulent soil. Then I thoroughly watered the soil to drench it, letting the excess water drain out the drainage holes into the sink.
Step 2: Add seeds
Next I washed and dried my hands thoroughly. The succulent seeds are so unbelievably teeny tiny that I wanted to make sure I didn’t lose them or transfer anything weird onto them.I dropped one seed on top of the damp soil in each planting slot and just pressed down ever so slightly.
Step 3: Provide light, humidity, and water
Succulent seeds need a lot of moisture to germinate, root, and grow. The seed starting tray makes watering them very easy because it has drainage holes that the excess water drains down into. Then you can “water them from the bottom” by keeping that tray filled with a bit of water. Once the seeds start to sprout, you can also start watering as normal from the top.
The clear plastic dome that goes on top of the seed tray helps retain moisture. This is essential for keeping the germinating seedlings happy and preventing the soil from drying out! Like most indoor plants, the ideal temperature range is between 65 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The dome helps keep things warm in there, too.
I decided to do two different lighting setups to see if there was a big difference. I put one of the trays in a bathroom window that gets late morning, midday, and evening sun. For the other tray, I put it next to a window that gets morning sun but that is under a grow light for 8 hours each day. (I wrote about my grow light in this post about cheap, practical gifts for plant lovers.)
Step 4: Baby them!
Continue providing water and light for your seeds. They should germinate (“sprout”) within about 2 to 8 weeks. A few days after your seeds have sprouted, you can remove the topper. They need to get some air! Continue filling the water tray as needed. Do not let the soil dry out.
Once you begin to notice the root system really developing (probably about 3 or 4 months), you can cut back on watering. Begin allowing the soil to dry completely between waterings just as you would a normal succulent. Then you can carefully transfer your new little babies to their own pots.
If you begin to develop mold on top of your seedling trays, don’t fret. Take the lid off and let them get some air. You may also be providing too much water, so ease back on watering. You can remove some of the top layer of soil if you’d like. But as you can see below, it’s not hurting the seedling and preventing it from sprouting.
However, if the mold growth is from over-watering, that can hurt your seedling or lead to its tiny little roots rotting once it begins to further develop. Also, don’t worry if it’s been a few weeks and your seeds haven’t germinated. Mine began sprouting after about 2 weeks, and they continued to sprout sporadically for weeks afterward.
I’ll be updating this post in the future with the progress on how each of my succulent varieties are doing. In the meantime, happy seed starting!
Interested in plant-related DIYs? Check out my test tube propagation station, my glass jar propagation station, my midcentury plant stand, my stainless steel bowl hanging planter, and my hanging plant pot holder.