Peyote, also known as Lophophora williamsii, is one of the only cacti that is friendly to touch, having orderly rows of soft fuzz where other cacti have thorns. It is well known for containing mescaline, a strong psychedelic compound.
Peyote grows naturally only in South Texas and Northern Mexico, but it can grow everywhere else in the world if the right conditions are created.
Peyote is a very slow growing cactus, and it can be grown from seeds, cuttings and boosted by grafting. Once the cactus reaches its point of maturity it starts flowering. A naturally grown Peyote cactus starts flowering after 10 years; in cultures, under the proper conditions, the flowering period can happen within the first 3 to 5 years, and grafted Peyote sometimes can reach its maturity within 2 years.
Like most cacti, Peyote is fairly simple to propagate from seeds, although it may take anything from three days to a year for seeds to germinate.
To germinate cactus seeds fill small pots with compost mix and flatten the mix down gently. It is usually suggested a mix of 1/3 washed sand, 1/3 cactus compost, and 1/3 perlite but any seedling mix purchased at your home and garden center will do.
Then, soak the compost using boiling water to kill parasites and allow draining and cooling for about an hour. Sprinkle the seeds evenly over the compost mix, and then gently press them down and level with top of the mix using a spoon.
Cover the top of the pot with transparent film. You can also directly place the pots inside zip lock plastic bags. Place the pots under grow lights or if you do it with natural light, in front of a window, but not in direct sunlight, as this could scorch your seedlings.
The temperature should be between 15 to 38 degrees C. If it is getting too dry, spray some water to moisten the surface. If pots are placed in zip lock bags, water might not be needed for months. The seeds should then germinate within 2 to 14 days.
When the seedlings are about six weeks old you can start making little holes on the transparent film or plastic of the zip lock, a little each day, to acclimatize the seedlings to the environment.
Try to keep the seedlings in indirect sunlight for about 6 months, and then slowly let them have more light. Seedlings should have a lush green color if the light levels are right. If the skin turns red it means they are getting too much light. If so, raise the grow lights or shade the window.
You won’t need to be in a hurry to repot your seedlings. Lophophora enjoys the company of the others, so wait until they are really fighting for room to repot the cacti.
When the Peyote is about 1 to 2 years old, or when the pots are getting too crowded, then it is time to transplant them to individual pots. Usually when the cactus is more than 6 cm large, or at least around 24 grams (when dried) then, if you want, you can think of harvesting.