First a little background,

I live in Sri Lanka where the temperature is at about 30c throughout the year. The sun is also very strong for the entire year and yeah we don't have different seasons here. On December it gets to about 25c but that's not much of a difference. The sun rises at about 6am and sets at 6pm. Starting from 10am to 3pm there is full sunlight and it's a bit hard to a person to work outdoors for more than 30minutes in direct sunlight. Also, in the area that I live, we don't have succulent nurseries or a place to buy succulent potting soil.

Previously, I bought succulent seeds from eBay but they turned out to be some weed. The "succulent" seedlings died instantly when I gave them a bit of morning sun from a shaded window(maybe they died because they weren't succulents).

These are the steps I followed to germinate them.

  • Take some normal soil and add extra stones into it so it will drain faster.

  • Put it into microwave at 800w for 2minutes.

  • Wait for it to cool down and then add seeds on the surface then cover it with a clear cover to trap the moisture inside.

This is what they turned out to be. "succulent" seedlings

I'm pretty sure that these aren't succulents.

Now my questions.

  • Am I mistaken and those are succulent seedlings ?

  • I bought new succulent seeds. Lets assume they are real succulent seeds.So I'm going to give it a try again. The steps I followed to germinate "succulents" were correct or something was wrong?

  • I have also bought a 10w grow led chip. Can I use it to grow the seedlings? If so, how high should I place the led grow light? (When lit, it's colour is similar to pink)

  • How often should I water the succulents as they grow up? The soil that I mixed up drains fast. I watered the soil 3days ago just to check and it still is a bit wet to the touch.

  • How fast should the soil dry up?

  • If the succulents germinate how many hours of sunlight should I give them? If it's possible to use the grow lights. How many hours of light should I give?

Sorry for the image quality. It's the only image that I have of them.

Thank you.

  • The term 'succulents' covers a wide range of plants, so first, we need to know precisely which plants you're trying to grow from seed. Second, seedlings should never be exposed to sunlight until they are reasonably sized plants - seedlings can't take it. Third, the seedlings shown in your picture did not receive enough light (daylight), but bear in mind that the first 'leaves' which appear are not true leaves, they are only the cotyledons, and its usually impossible to tell until the next set of leaves appears what plant it is.
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 13:10
  • It was a succulent mix for 1$, I found out that most of the cheap succulent seed mixes on eBay are fake seeds. They just pack some weeds and ship it. As it's a mix of seeds, even I don't know what kind of succulents I was germinating.
    – user17924
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 13:13
  • No names listed anywhere regarding variety, especially Latin names, not on the packet nor the site? Seedlings shown might be succulents, impossible to say at that early stage
    – Bamboo
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 13:16
  • ebay.ca/itm/131927487177 it was this item on eBay. Got 150seeds for 1$ it was in a sealed bag. No names. No instructions. Nothing on the small package. I still have about 100 seeds left. I will try germinating them under the grow light as soon as possible.
    – user17924
    Commented Jun 14, 2017 at 14:42

2 Answers 2


I have grown a few cactus from seed. The most effective method was putting my moist potting mix in small pots, sprinkle the seeds on it and cover it with small top-dressing (gravel). Put it in a medium Ziploc bag and place it where it can get some sun. I use square plastic pots 3"x3" or less.

Heat from the bottom (warm soil) also helps.

Mist when it gets dryish and keep the top closed.

If you want to accelerate the process, put the seeds between damp paper towel on a plate in a big seal-able plastic bag. Put in in a warm darkish place. When the seeds sprout, grab them (gently) with tweezers and put them in your prepared pots/bags. Pointy end down!

I've never grown lithops from seed but I do have a volunteer lithop (?) that grew from a stray seed from my plants.

Now I primarily put the seeds in the plant pot I've gotten quite a few seedlings that way.

Keep in mind that succulents, particularly cactus grow very slowly.

As for soil, I use something called coconut coir (rinse if it is too acid) and something called TurfaceMVP (landscape/sports field suppliers). (about a 50/50 mix) You might also be able to get oil absorbent at an auto parts store. You want the stuff that has been baked so it doesn't dissolve in water. Pumice is also a good substitute.

Water should flow through your pots fairly quickly, but they should also absorb water into the voids and absorbent material (turface, pumice, etc), then release it slowly to the plants.

Sand and/or gravel doesn't absorb water so it's not ideal.

In my mind richness = organic material. Not necessarily good for cactus because it can encourage growth of mold, fungus, insects, etc and hold it against the root and plant surfaces.

I provide nutrients from the water/fertilizer I use. They don't get anything from the soil that I don't put in there. (Can you tell I"m an anal-retentive cactus grower?)

Best of luck!


Thanks for the link, which tells me the seeds are, or should be, varieties of Lithops. Instructions here for how to grow from seed, though I realise you probably can't get hold of perlite or vermiculite - hopefully you can find some clean sand to use, 'play' sand, silver sand or horticultural sand. Or washed building sand if you can't get any of those. Given your temperatures and high UV levels, find a bright spot for the tray, but I wouldn't recommend direct sunlight unless its just an hour early morning or at the end of the day. How to Germinate Lithops. Unless your overnight temperatures get low, you probably don't need to worry about bottom heat (heat mat) either.

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