Germinating Easter Cactus Seeds

Have you ever seen fruits on your Easter cactus and wondered what that's all about? These are actually fruits chock full of seeds waiting to be eaten by a bird and spread to some distant tree They can also be spread by plant geeks with too much time on their hands. Yes, I know that it's much faster to take cuttings of Easter and holiday cacti, but what if you want to make some crosses? What if you're just obsessed with epiphytic cacti and want to start them from seed just because you can? Here's how!

1. Gently break apart the fully ripe fruit with your fingers. The flesh should be juicy and translucent.

2. Slowly smear the opened fruit on a paper towel. The seeds will stick to the paper along with the pulp. You may choose to let it dry.

3. Roll your finger over the seeds with a slightly moistened finger. The seeds will seperate from the pulp and stick to your finger.

4. Gently brush off the seeds off of your fingers over a fresh paper towel.

5. Evenly spread the seeds over the paper towel. This will give them more space between each other as they grow.

6. Fill a flat tray or pot (a Chinese take out tray works well) with potting soil or seed starting mix.

7. Lay the paper towel over the tray face up and tear off the edges of the paper towel so that it easily fits in the tray. The paper towel gives the seedlings something to grab hold of, and it also has helped with fungus gnats in my experience.

8. Carefully water the container so that the soil and paper towel are lightly moistened. The seeds will stick to the towel after watering.

9. These seedlings are actually Rhipsalis baccifera 'horrida' (and Hylocereus in the back) but the technique remains the same with Rhipsalidopsis/Hatiora. Once the seedlings get too big for their tray, transplant them to separate pots.

That's it! Eventually you'll be rewarded with flowers like this for your efforts, but for now be patient and enjoy them while they're little. They grow up before you know it.


  1. There's a divide in my family. My husband likes Easter and Christmas cacti. I don't. It would be fun to grow them like this though. How long do they take to germinate?

  2. Esther:
    They only take a few days to a couple weeks to germinate, but they grow slowly. I just enjoy having little liliputian forests of cacti in the meantime! Dragonfruit cacti are fun to grow like this too.

  3. Have always gotten the "Little Red Cherry Fruits" on my Epis
    and Christmas Cactus and Easter Cactus too! But I guess I needed that blow- by- blow- how- to from you showing just how
    easy it is to do! Love the paper towel trick, it is genius as
    noted above! Thanks for a great post!! :)

  4. How do I know if my fruit are fully ripe?

  5. They should be opaque or near opaque white. They will stay on the plant for a while.

  6. Do you put a lid on the tray like you would for Epiphyllum?

  7. I did at first but stopped when there were fungus gnats. The lid would help if there isn't much humidity!


Please feel free to share your questions, ideas and suggestions!