A mature Echeveria with waxy leaves resembling a rose is a beautiful sight to behold. Although they originate from Mexico and Central America, these drought-tolerant plants can be grown from seeds in many parts of the world. Advanced and beginner gardening enthusiasts can grow their Echeveria plants from seeds by following the process outlined below.
Preparing Seeds for Planting
Ensure that you use fresh seeds to grow your plants. Old seeds germinate rarely, and they often fail to grow well. Once you have sourced suitable seeds, mix them with approximately twice the volume of fine sand and stir the mixture gently with a toothpick. Echeveria seeds are black and tiny, so the resulting mixture resembles a fine, multi-colored powder.
Successful Echeveria plants require pots with an average diameter measuring 4 inches (10 cm). These pots should be filled with a well-draining soil-free potting mix. Purchase this potting mix from an online or brick-and-mortar retailer, or you can make your own. Each pot requires firm tapping against a bench or table to settle the potting mix. Next, gather a pinch of sand and seed mixture between finger and thumb and carefully sprinkle it over the soil so that each pot has a sparse covering.
To encourage germination, place your pots with the Echeveria seeds in a tray filled with water. This setup allows the soil in each pot to absorb water from the bottom. The tray is placed in a location with bright but indirect light at a temperature around 65 °F (18 °C). It is important to maintain the correct temperature, as Echeveria seeds do not germinate above 70 °F (21 °C). The pots can be covered with plastic wrap to keep the surrounding air humid. Keep the potting mix moist.
How to Spot Signs of Germination
Around three weeks after the seeds are planted, tiny leaves should start to appear. Once this happens, remove the plastic covering to give the tiny seedlings access to fresh air. They must watch out for fungal infections, common in Echeveria seedlings during the first two months of growth. You should treat all their pots with fungicide if any fungus is visible.
How to Care
When the Echeveria seedlings have grown to fill their pots, they must be moved into larger containers. A slightly larger pot than each plant's root ball is the ideal size since a large volume of potting mix can hold too much moisture and pose a risk of rotting in the ground. Adult Echeveria plants require less water than seedlings, and they are watered only when their potting mix feels dry to the touch. Echeverias also require little fertilizer. A dose of dilute liquid fertilizer at the beginning of spring is enough to fuel their growth. As Echeveria are related to cacti, they grow well with specialist cactus fertilizer or a general-purpose fertilizer with low nitrogen content. Although these plants can thrive outdoors during the summer, they do not like cold temperatures. Therefore, if you reside in a place that experiences frost you should bring these plants inside during the winter months.
Growing Echeveria from seed is a rewarding activity. As long as the seeds are fresh and the conditions are right, soon you will see fresh green leaves where once there were only a few Echeveria seeds.
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