For many years people have been aware of the psychoactive effects of the Peyote. The use of the peyote for medicinal and religious reasons has been known by natives in Mexico for thousands of years. The Peyote is a button shaped cactus that normally grows to 10-13 cm in diameter. The Peyote is one of the slowest growing cacti around but if properly cultivated it can be grown much faster at home than in the wild.
For cultivating Peyotes make sure you collect the following necessities:
-Grow container with lid
-Potting Soil (50%)
-Coarse Sand (20%)
-Peyote Seeds (Lophophora williamsii)
The first step in growing your own Peyote is to make small drainage holes in the container where you will be growing in. This is necessary because over-watering can cause rotting of the roots of your cactus. The next step is to mix together the soil with the sand, perlite and gravel. First divide the gravel in half and put one half on the bottom of the growing container so it’s just covered. It’s a good idea to first sterilize the mixture, as there might live some bacteria that will eat the mixture’s useful minerals too. To do this use an oven at 80-100 °C for about an hour (make sure you use an oven proof dish and not the growing container, this will melt) or you can use the microwave at a low setting for about 30 minutes. Now when mixed together you can make it moist. A good way to determine if the soil is moist enough is to squeeze it in your hand. If there is no water emerging from the soil yet it is perfect, if it’s a bit too moist, just add some more soil, so don’t put it all together at once. Once it’s perfect you can fill the container with this mixture.
We are now ready to start the seeding. The seeds should be put on the soil and can be pressed very gently into the ground with a pencil. Make sure they are not too deep, about 1.5 – 2 times their height is ideal. Now spray a couple of times with water over the soil and close the lid on the box.
The best temperature for the germination of Peyote seeds is a temperature between 20 to 30 °C, ideally around 23 °C. To acqui
re such a temperature you could place it next to a heater or use an electric blanket to keep them warm. Always be careful when placing the growbox directly on a heater because it may dry out and your seeds will not germinate. Some people use a heating element for an aquarium or terrarium to acquire the perfect temperature. Of course this is not necessary but it will improve and speed up the process of germination.
While germinating the Peyote seeds, it’s best to keep the humidity high. In this period the soil should also be kept moist. After a while the cacti are mature enough to get used to a very dry environment. To let the young cacti adapt from their humid environment to dry conditions, we start to make holes in the lid of the container to slowly bring down the humidity in the growbox. After a few weeks you can completely remove the lid, but still keep the soil moist for about two months.
While your Peyote seeds are germinating it is important to not put the container in contact with full sunlight. Use fluorescent tube lighting or compact fluorescent lighting (CLS) for 16-18 hours a day. When the cacti are a bit stronger and older (2-3months) you can slowly let them get used to the indirect sunlight. If they are around 1 year old they can be placed in direct sunlight. After this we can start treating the cacti like adult species and give them less and less water. Make sure that the soil completely dries out before watering the cacti, to simulate dry growing conditions. If the cacti are about one year old (or 1 cm in diameter) you can start thinking about repotting them. Always keep in mind that a bigger pot is not always better. Try to get a pot that has about the 3-4 times the diameter and 4-5 times height of the cactus. Changing pots will give you the opportunity to give the cactus more nutrients in the new soil. Providing Peyote with a deep pot gives it the opportunity to grow a healthy tab root.