Hoodia is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apocynaceae, under the subfamily Asclepiadoideae, native to Southern Africa. They are stem succulents, described as "cactiform" because of their remarkable similarity to the unrelated cactus family. They can reach up to 40 inches (1 m) high and have large flowers, often with a tan color and strong smell. The group was first describe as a genus in 1844.

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Key References

  • Blom WAM, Abrahamse SL, Bradford R, et al. Effects of 15-d repeated consumption of Hoodia gordonii purified extract on safety, ad libitum energy intake, and body weight in healthy, overweight women: a randomized controlled trial.American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 201194(5):1171-1181.
  • Hoodia. Natural Medicines website. Accessed at on January 22, 2020. [Database subscription].

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Hoodia gordonii, growing from seeds

Anyone here who has tips on growing Hoodia gordonii from seeds?

PC. . .a cacti and succulent reference I have states that they are very slow - growing, originating from South Africa, and they require temperature of at lease 50 degrees in sun or shade and tend to rot in winter dampness or shrivel if too dry. Other info I've seen indicates a poor germination rate and the need to take care on the level of dampness while sprouting, or the seeds will rot. . .sorry I don't have more info.. . perhaps someone else on this forum will have actual experience growing this. It looks to be an interesting succulent. . .aka 'African hats'.

With a lot of luck and heat LOL I wish you luck, they are difficult. Use coarse washed sand, put it in the microwave for 5 minutes first. In Africa, I saw it growing in poor soil, no water for 6 months at a time, didn't see many young ones at all. Growing in hot sun 105 F, out in the open. No shade at all. I've killed three already too much water? Not enough water? I lost interest fast. Dress the seed with #5 white quartzite, the kind that goes on the bottom of bird cages. These plants were growing in quartzite stone. That's just my input, it may not help you at all, you don't live in that kind of climate. Check and see if they grow in the fog belt. That also may be a help in knowing. Will Milan I stuck my neck out again. Norma

Haven't gotten the seeds yet but should arrive soon. From the sounds o it, f it's going to be another green challenge for me, wish me luck :)

Good luck! You are brave to try it! :)

Let us know how it goes. . .pics. . .please -D. .

Milan one of my friends puts the seeds between the folds of table napkins, dampens them and sets them on a heating pad 74F the are natually growing in hot desert sand, it may take a certain temp. to greminate, and also may have to be very fresh, and may germinate at the first rains of Spring, I saw them growing in the wild, about a foot tall only. I know they can get much larger I have seen this plant at a show in San Francisco 3 ft tall. Be sure to sterilize the soil. Norma

A little update here.
I did receive 11 seeds 2 weeks ago and had sown 5 on top of a papertowel and the rest onto a perlite/sphag mix. I kept both mediums just barely moist and placed the container on top of the fridge where it is nice and warm. 3 days ago I removed it from the fridge and placed it near my Ceropegias and Stapeliads where it is room temp and wetted the mediums thoroughly. Today I saw that four seeds on the perlite/sphag mix had germinated (none on the paper towel yet).
Now I just hope I can keep them alive :).

So by now 8 out of the 11seeds had germinated and from the looks of it that is going to be the final count. As of today the eight are looking good and I hope they'll continue doing so.

Good luck Milan. you certainly take on the challenging ones!

Well as of now it was easy, but that may change quickly (though I hope not)

Does any one know where I can find the seeds here in the US?

Milan, you are lucky, when I contacted that seed company they didn't have in stock any of the seeds that I ordered. The listed seeds for sale that they didn't actually have. Norma

Milan, they look great, congrats, Norma

Yes Norma, B&T world seeds does list non-stock seeds and may only ship when/after they are harvested.
I got my seeds over E-Bay from this supplier in Canada which also ships to the US (except Cities or restricted narcotic species)

Update on my seedlings: All are doing good and I have them now placed in seperate pots, photo(s) to follow soon.

Good luck! Wishing you success! (So far so good!)

Speaking of hoodia gordonii (and you were, lol!) I read about this on another forum. have you seen it! Holey Guacamole.

My oh my . . .I counted no less than 9 nice green sprouts in your pic Milan. . .If they all make it, you'll have a small fortune's worth in Hoodia gordonii cacti if that Ebay auction is typical for this plant. .. LOL. They sure look good. . . . hope your success continues . . . -D Janet

Isn't it amazing what people pay for a plant when the words "appetite surpressing" are connected to it.
I'm just a hobby grower and I'm not trying to make money of my plants. I'll prefere trade over selling and most likely will keep two ar three if they survive and trade the rest with someone I know/trust (Just hate it when a traded plant shows up on E-Bay the same day the trade "partner" received it).
In the meanwhile I also got seeds for Hoodia ruschii and another Hoodia (can't remember name) and this time I kept them more humid and those germinated within one to two days.
Btw Janet, it was 8 gordonii that germinated out of 11 seeds.

I'd say you're successful so far. . .will be interesting to watch the progress if you can post a pic every so often. I've grown various kinds of cacti for years, but I haven't tried starting cacti from seed, but hope to try some this spring and with the help and hints I've gleaned from some of these threads, I hope I can get some to germinate. Will start with some that are supposed to be 'easy'. I was dumbfounded by the ebay item. . but then it's not the first time. . .like you, I just grow them because I like them and it's enjoyable. . .don't really have any I'd call 'valuable', just valuable to me. Janet

You are most definitely talented Milan. My hat's off to you! That little guy looks perfect! K

Wow, look at the progress. . .it's already looking 'Hoodia gordonii-ish'. . .thanks for the update. . .-D Janet

Here pictures of Hoodia ruschii of which I just started the seeds this past Sunday evening and look now 3 days later. Amazing what comes out of these little seeds :)

I'm running out of these little containers so I guess I'll have to order some Chinese food soon :)

This message was edited Nov 24, 2004 9:13 PM

How wonderful for you. I have never tried any thing from seed. You make it look so simple. I wish I had your talent . You go girl !! Binky :)))))))

I hope you will keep us updated on the progress, I may even get brave and try them. Thanks Milan, Norma

Have few questions re Hoodia Gordonii growing and seeds:

1) Can you grow these plants solely under gro-lights indoors? If so,
a) Do you need heat pad underneath?
b) Will lack of exposure to insects mean no pollination of flower, thus no seeds?

2) How do you know when and how to collect the seeds from the flowers?

3) Heard it is difficult to grow separated 'pups'. Any tips?

4) How and where do you slice off pieces if trying use for appetite control? Will cutting off pieces destroy that part of plant?

I know there will be a lot of people asking these questions after the CBS 60 minutes show, so would be great help if any of you experts have any tips.

To 1: Yes you can grow under gro lights only
To 1a: No heat pad is required as long you can provide room temperature
To 1b: selfing may be occuring occasionally but rarely, Hand pollination is possible but difficult. If you get flies inside the house then you have potential pollinators for Hoodia.

To 2: The seed pod(s) will split open to release the seeds with their fluff on them. A rubber band or piece of tape wrapped around the pod near the end will inhibit the pod to completely split open and release its seeds.

To 3: Not sure but I believe it shouldn't be much of a problem. Propagation by cuttings is possible but haven't tried it yet so dunno how difficult they are to root.

To 4: don't have the answer to this one

This message was edited Dec 24, 2004 3:08 PM

I just got another Hoodia Gordonii. How should I keep it alive. Remember I live in US zone 10 and International zone 21 any suggestions? Norma

This guy will sell 4 6-7 cm Hoodia Gordini plants for $50

I want this hoodia as well. I am from Tx. I saw a program on tv about it. If anyone has any to share. please email me!

Well its about 10 weeks after sowing and they are growing slowly but surely.

This message was edited Dec 25, 2004 2:32 AM

Milan, thanks for the update. . .did all 8 of them survive? You seem to have hit on the formula for success so far. . .must be feeling pretty good about now. congrats! . . . janet

Yes all 8 are doing fine and yes I'm sure happy that worked so well :)

Where ever you cut this plant it will have a permanent damage scar, as on all plants.
I just bought a plant for $15.00 multibranched about 6" tall. Norma

Congratulations Milan it looks very healthy and happy!

This message was edited Mar 21, 2005 1:05 PM

It's a little late for Christmas, but I thought you all would enjoy my Hoodia Tree nonetheless!

How are your babies doing Milan?

Oh they are doing good.
gordonii are in the 4 individual clay pots without label in the picture. One of them is a really slow grower.

Watch the video: Hoodia gordinii appetite suppression bushmen style