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A Guide to Growing Peyote From Seed

At Sacred Buttons, our mission is to provide the knowledge needed to cultivate Peyote and other sacred cacti sustainably, ensuring these wonderful plants are preserved and protected from poaching in their natural habitats.

In this article, we will provide you with a method and resources to help you grow these sacred plants from seed. Along the way, we'll also delve into their rich history and cultural significance.

Legal Status of Peyote

Before we start, it's important to cover the legal status of Peyote. The sale, possession, and cultivation of Peyote is completely legal in Canada. However, in the USA, the cultivation of Peyote is illegal in most states.

There are a few exceptions, such as Arizona, where cultivation is legal under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Therefore, it is crucial to understand and comply with the laws in your specific area before beginning your cultivation journey.

Cultural Significance

Peyote is a small spineless cactus that contains a powerful psychedelic called mescaline. It has been used by indigenous communities in North America for at least 5,000 years. It plays a central role in their spiritual ceremonies. To them, Peyote is sacred and believed to facilitate healing on physical, mental, and emotional levels.

Peyote is also a means of connecting with the divine, believed to allow communication with the spirits of ancestors and deities. 

Peyote ceremonies are often accompanied by prayer, chanting, drumming, singing, and storytelling, There is a strong emphasis on connection with others as well as nature. If you're interested in learning more about these ceremonies, read our blog covering them in detail HERE.

Is it Difficult to Grow Peyote?

Peyote is a low maintenance and remarkably resilience plant, capable of handling extended periods without water. While these qualities make it a hardy plant, the most challenging aspect of growing Peyote lies in its seed germination process.

At Sacred Buttons, we offer pre-grown seedlings for those who may find germination challenging. However, if you're eager to take on the challenge yourself, get your seeds HERE and let's begin the cultivation journey.

Peyote Seed Germination

Once you receive your Peyote seeds, they should be germinated as soon as possible. The fresher the seeds, the more viable they will be. 

Soil

Peyote seedlings like high levels of moisture so it's best to use a plant potting mix instead of a cactus mix for germination. I recommend using a high quality mix with no nutrients like Pro-Mix HP. You may also purchase our seed starting mix which is specifically designed for sacred cactus seeds HERE.

Start by bringing the soil to field capacity by adding spring water gradually and mixing it well. Try not to use tap water. The chemicals found in tap water may hurt germination rates. Also stay away from distilled and reverse osmosis water as these waters contain no beneficial minerals.

You’ll know the soil has reached field capacity when you firmly squeeze a handful and only a few drops of water come out. If water pours from the soil, it's too wet. If no water comes out, it's too dry. Adjust accordingly until the soil is at the right moisture level.

Then the soil should be pasteurized in a conventional oven using an oven safe bowl. This will kill any bugs, fungus, or mold spores that may be present in the soil. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and heat the soil to between 180 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Do not allow the temperature to reach above 200 degrees Fahrenheit as this will kill off beneficial microorganisms in the soil.

Allow the soil to cool completely before use.

Container

The container that you use for germination should be at least a few inches deep. Peyote have a long downward growing taproot. The growth of this root must not be impeded or the growth of the peyote may be stunted.

It is a good idea to use clear plastic containers as these will make it easier to monitor the moisture level of the soil once you begin watering the seedlings. A Tupperware container works well.

It is also important that the container contains drainage holes, so drill a few quarter inch holes in the bottom to prevent water from pooling and rotting the roots of your peyote.

You may also find it handy to label the container with the type of seeds you are germinating as well as the date.

Preparing Your Work Area

To prevent the soil from becoming contaminated during germination, it is important to work clean. Prior to sowing the seeds, turn off any fans or AC units in the room that may be blowing dust and spores around. It is also a good idea to perform this work after showering and putting on freshly laundered clothes.

Wipe down your work surface with 99% isopropyl alcohol. Also disinfect your hands and forearms, a spoon, and the germination container. The cleaner you work the less chance there will be that you will encounter a contamination.

Sowing the Seeds

Once you have prepared the work area, fill your container with the pasteurized soil and gently flatten the surface of the soil with the back of the disinfected spoon. Be sure to leave an inch or so of space between the surface of the soil and the top of the container. You will be covering the container with plastic wrap so it is important to leave room for the seedlings to grow.

Once the surface is level, sprinkle your seeds on top. Do not cover the seeds as they will require light in order to germinate. After sprinkling your seeds onto the soil, generously spray the entire surface with pure 3% hydrogen peroxide using a spray bottle. This will help to sterilize the seeds, the soil, and increase germination rates. 

Finally, cover the container tightly with plastic wrap. You may secure it with tape if needed. This will create a high humidity environment which will help the seeds to germinate. 

Light 

Place the container in indirect sunlight. Direct sunlight may burn the delicate seedlings. If using a grow light, position it around 2 feet away for fluorescent lights and 3 feet for powerful LED lights. The seedlings will be very sensitive, so adjust the height as needed:

  • Optimal Appearance: Seedlings should be bright green.
  • Too Much Light: Seedlings turn red or orange. Move the light farther away.
  • Too Little Light: Seedlings grow tall and skinny. Move the light closer.

Set a timer for 16 hours on and 8 hours off. 

Temperature

For best germination results, maintain a temperature above 80°F (26.5°C) to a maximum of 90°F (32°C) while the lights are on. The temperature should dip down between 70°F (21°C) and 60°F (15.5°C) while the lights are off.

You may use a heat mat during the day to help achieve higher temperatures. If this fluctuation cannot be achieved, try to keep the seeds in a warm spot at a constant 80°F. Germination should take place within 2-14 days.

Maintaining the Seedlings

Once the seedlings sprout, maintain temperature between 70°F and 90°F, with a constant 80°F being ideal. Colder temperatures will slow growth, while higher temperatures may encourage fungus and mold.

Keep the container covered until the seedlings are at least a centimeter in diameter. Avoid opening the container to prevent contamination and to protect the seedlings from dry air.

The soil should stay moist while covered. If it begins to dry out, slightly lift a corner of the plastic wrap and mist the soil with a spray bottle. Spray lightly to avoid disturbing the delicate seedlings.

Once the seedlings reach a centimeter in diameter, they can be hardened off. This is the process of slowly introducing them to dry air. This process is covered in our YouTube video HERE.

More Information on Growing Peyote From Seed

Navigating the germination process might seem challenging at first, but with practice, you'll get the hang of it. You can watch our YouTube video covering this entire process HERE.

If you're interested in learning more about growing peyote, check out our comprehensive online course. In this course you'll learn everything you need to know about growing Peyote from seed to flower, get bonuses like access to a private Facebook group, and more. Click HERE to learn more.

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