The San Pedro cactus is an ideal accent plant that adds character and interest to any landscape in hardiness zone 10a or higher. It grows in a columnar shape with striking, ribbed branches and eye-catching, trumpet-shaped flowers that bloom in midsummer. They have a fast growth rate and can reach 10 to 20 feet tall. Plant a grouping of San Pedro cacti as a focal point in your fire-resistant landscape, or line your driveway with them to attract all the right attention.
While best propagated from cuttings, it’s possible to grow San Pedro cacti from seeds. Plant them under the right conditions to ensure successful germination and minimize the risk of disease.
Select shallow, 3-inch pots with drainage holes and wash them thoroughly. Next, select a fast-draining medium, such as perlite or sand. It’s a good idea to sterilize the medium to kill any existing bacteria that could obstruct the germination process. To do this, place the perlite or sand in an oven-safe bowl and heat it for one hour at 200 degrees F.
Next, moisten the sterilized perlite or sand. It has reached the proper moisture content if you can’t squeeze any more water out of it. Fill up each pot with dampened perlite or sand to 1/2 inch from the top.
Gather San Pedro Cactus Seeds
If a friend or neighbor already has San Pedro cactus plants, this could be a great way to harvest seeds. Be sure to ask permission before doing so.
Wait until the cactus fruit ripens to a pinkish color in early autumn. Pick a fruit, remove the spongy matter from the inside, and pick out some tiny black seeds. Cactus seeds germinate best when fresh, so be prepared to plant them immediately after harvesting.
Sow San Pedro Cactus Seeds
Plant several seeds in each pot to increase the chance that at least one will germinate. Place each seed on the surface of the perlite or sand roughly 1/2 inch apart. Gently press the seeds to anchor them firmly to the surface. Then, cover them with a single layer of perlite to allow plenty of light to penetrate. Mist the seeds with cool water and gently tamp the perlite or sand to settle it on top of the seeds.
Help San Pedro Cactus Seeds Germinate
Cover each pot with plastic wrap or a propagation dome to hold in heat and humidity. Set the pots where they will receive six to eight hours of indirect sunlight each day. Placing them near a south-facing window works well. Then, set the pots on a bottom-heating propagation mat or heating pad set on low to warm them to 80 degrees F during the day. Then, allow the pots to cool to 70 degrees F at night.
Check the moisture level of the perlite or sand each day and water it once it feels nearly dry. Overwatering can lead to harmful bacteria growth, so watering from the base is best. To do this, place the pots in a tray and fill the tray with water until the pots are halfway submerged. Allow the water to soak in for 20 minutes, and then return the pots to the propagation mat or heating pad.
Aftercare and Transplanting San Pedro Cactus Seedlings
The seeds should germinate within a month. If more than one seed germinates in each pot, thin them to one each. Move the pots to a sheltered outdoor location and gradually remove the plastic wrap or propagation dome over the course of a week to acclimate the seedlings to a normal humidity level. Once hardened off, transplant the seedlings to larger containers filled with standard cactus potting mix.
Grow your San Pedro cacti under light shade for the first summer. Then, when cooler weather arrives in the fall, you can choose to plant them in the ground where they will receive full sun. The cacti are one-year-old at this point and should be about a centimeter in diameter. You can also grow San Pedro cacti as potted plants and even keep them inside near a south-facing window.
Buy San Pedro Cactus for Your Yard
Growing any plant from seeds can be a rewarding process, but it’s also time-consuming with no guarantee of success. Rather than taking a year to grow a San Pedro cactus, why not buy a mature plant that will add beauty to your landscape from day one?
At Moon Valley Nurseries, we carry only the best plants grown from premium specimens. We have multiple sizes of San Pedro cactus in stock, so you can pick the best ones for your needs. Purchase cacti from us and plant them yourself, or schedule professional planting services for guaranteed results. We work hard to ensure a successful planting day by accounting for everything from HOA standards to community-specific weather trends.
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