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pine cone seeds

Pine cone seeds

Collect seed in the fall when cones begin to open. Open cones have already dropped their seeds. Collect closed cones only. Wearing garden gloves, bend back the needles and twist the cone off the branch. Place cones in a paper bag in a warm location. When the cones open, the ripe seeds fall out in the bag.

Prepare a potting mixture of 3 parts potting soil, 1 part peat moss, 1 part pine bark and 1 part garden sand. Do not use beach sand which may contain salt. Fill 4-inch pots with good drainage with the potting mixture. Place one seed in each pot. Cover the seed with one-quarter inch of potting mixture. Water well. Place in a full sun location, protected from the wind.

Growing a pine tree from seed is a task for a patient gardener. Worldwide, there are more than 115 different species of pine trees. Many are native to Sunset Climate Zones. Others that grow well in Sunset Climate Zones have been introduced from other countries with similar climates, including Japan, China and Australia. Pine trees are evergreen trees, retaining their long, deep green needles year-around. Pine cones are not a seed nor a fruit. They are a tight cluster of woody scales grouped together to protect the developing seeds inside. Pine cone seeds, properly stratified, can be germinated fairly easily to cultivate new trees. When you have harvested the cone from a local tree, you are more likely to grow a tree that will be successful in your climate.

Drain the seeds but do not let them dry out completely. Place moist seeds in a zipper-top plastic bag and place in the vegetable drawer of the refrigerator for 60 to 90 days. Do not allow the seeds to freeze. After the seeds have stratified for 60 to 90 days, remove from the refrigerator.

Store seed in the freezer. Remove the seed from the freezer approximately 60 to 90 days before the last spring freeze. Allow the seeds to warm naturally to room temperature. Place the seeds in a glass bowl of lukewarm water and soak for 24 to 48 hours.

Keep the soil mixture in the pots uniformly moist. Consistent, even moisture is critical to seed germination. Do not allow the surface of the soil to dry out completely. As seeds germinate and develop, water daily. When seedlings are 8 to 12 inches tall, they are ready for repotting or transplanting to a permanent location.

Pine cone seeds

You can’t plant a pine cone and expect it to grow. There are several reasons why this won’t work.

If you have your heart set on a pine tree in your garden, your best bet is start with a seedling or small tree.

Can I Plant a Pine Cone?

If you’ve thought about growing a pine tree by sprouting a whole pine cone, don’t waste your time and energy because unfortunately, it won’t work. Although planting entire pine cones sounds like a great idea, it isn’t a viable method for growing a pine tree. Read on to learn why.

Planting Pine Tree Seeds

Even if the seeds in the cones are at the exact perfect stage of ripeness, sprouting pine cones by planting entire pine cones still won’t work. The seeds need sunlight, which they can’t get when they are enclosed in the cone.