This blog is about growing tropical-looking plants in the Phoenix, Arizona area



April 9, 2017

Planting saguaro cactus seeds


I planted some saguaro cactus seeds yesterday. They were given to me by a friend who has had an unopened package since he was a kid in the 1970s, and he asked me if I would give it a try to see how they did.

Planting instruction for a Saguaro cactus.


These seed packets were sold as more of a joke than anything else. Saguaros are gigantic cactuses (cacti?) and they live for over 100 years, so the thought of planting one from a tiny seed just seems goofy. Of course if my friend had planted the seeds back in the '70s, instead of just keeping the seed package, unopened, on a shelf somewhere, there would be a nice-sized saguaro growing. But it's never too late, at least I hope so.

Saguaro cactus seeds


Saguaro cactus seeds

I followed the directions as precisely as I could. You have to handle the seeds carefully as they are very tiny. I used the same technique I learned when handling tiny annual flower seeds, to put them on a piece of paper and then kinda "funnel" them in towards the center. I would prefer that the plant grows close to the center of the pot, not towards the edge, just because it looks nicer.

I used regular potting soil, and as the instructions said, I didn't cover the seeds. Saguaro seeds need light to germinate. I'm keeping the pot in a shady area of my patio (which just happens to be in the Sonoran Desert, in a suburb of Phoenix). Saguaros don't start growing out in the middle of blazing sun in the desert, they grow in a shade of some other plant, until they get bigger than their "nursery" plant, and take over the area. So they need a bit of shade. My patio is plenty bright, but mostly shady, so it should be fine.

Saguaro seeds planted, and being gently misted with water

After the seeds were planted (well, sprinkled on top of the soil), I sprayed them with a gentle mist of water, and put a plastic cover over the top. According to the instructions, the seedling should germinate in a week, so I'll check back next Sunday.

Please note that I'm describing this as "planting saguaro seeds", not "growing saguaro seeds". To me there is the same difference between "fishing" and "catching". I'm OK with the process, which I enjoy, and if a plant grows that would be wonderful. I'll let you know how it goes.

Saguaro seed covered with the cover I got on an enchilada to go yesterday.
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