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Mixed Cactus Seeds

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Mixed (and cheap! ) Cactus Seeds

A collector who is just starting to explore the challenges of growing cacti and succulents from seed will need a cheap source of seed to practice on. Unless you are really confident about your horticultural skills, you will lose quite a few seedlings at first. Ordering seeds from specialist nurseries outside of Malaysia is not cheap, so it is necessary to find local sources of seed.

If you know someone who has large, mature plants which blooms, you can try to acquire some seeds from that person. For example, mature Melocactus plants can produce a lot of seeds, so it may just be possible that your fellow collector might be prepared to give you some seeds.

Alternatively, it is possible to buy a mixture cactus seeds from large shopping complexes in Malaysia. These are sold in packet form, and you can find them among packets of vegetables and flowers in the gardening section of the store.

The Horti brand is the most common one. As of April 2001, it costs RM4.50 (USD1.20) in Kuala Lumpur, more expensive compared with flower seeds but cheap compared to ordering cactus seeds from overseas.

This brand is the most cost-effective too, as I have counted more than 200 seeds. You can get more than 150 seedlings from a single packet of seeds. I have bought over half a dozen of this, for myself and other collectors.

Mr. Fothergill's brand of seeds cannot be found in Malaysia anymore. This is my second packet of cactus seeds ever.

I found the other one (at far left) at a night market (pasar malam) in Melaka. It is cheaper than Horti but contains a lesser amount of seeds.

When you grow cacti from a mixed packet of seeds, you might end up with only a few hardy and fast growing species at first. The reason is that these species quickly swamps smaller and weaker seedlings. The common ones that you will find in a packet of Horti cactus seed are Myrtillocactus, Stenocereus and Ferocactus.

In order to keep those slower growing seedlings alive, I guess you'd have to either sow the seeds more thinly or move the large ones out when they become too large.

Yates is expensive and is not recommended. The one and only time I bought a packet of them, I counted less than 30 seeds in the sachet, and the germination rate was awful. Then again, maybe my technique was awful .

I saw Cooper's only once in Malaysia, and immediately bought myself a packet to try. The contents are rather like a packet of Horti mixed cactus seeds.

Buy the seeds only when you want to use them. There is no logic in keeping seeds in storage. Make sure you sow the seeds immediately after you open the sachet. Seeds will soon lose their germination viability unless properly stored.

Eventually you will probably tire of the limited varieties available in these packets of seeds, and may decide to order from reputable specialist nurseries. By that time, it is hoped that you will have enough practice so as to maximize your probability of success with more expensive seed. Here are three great suppliers that I have bought seeds from:

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  Last modified: 2002-08-26  Copyright © 1997-2002.  Kein-Hong Man.  all rights reserved