The Q&A Archives: Germinating Pine Cone Seeds

Question: Is it possible to start pinecone seeds? I was lucky enough to receive some pinecones with seeds, and I would like to try to start them.

Answer: The pinecones you have may have come from pines, but may also have come from other kinds of needled evergreen trees. This is important for you to know if you're successful in germinating the seeds. I wouldn't want you to be disappointed with the trees if they turned out to be something other than pines!

Here are some general tips for germinating conifer seeds:

Soak the seeds overnight, then mix them together with some slightly damp potting soil, seal in a plastic bag, and refrigerate for 6 weeks. Remove seeds and sow just on the surface of moistened seed starting mix, in individual pots. Cover with plastic wrap to help hold in moisture. Keep the pots at 55F-65F degrees and seedlings should appear in 30-60 days. Remove the plastic wrap as soon as the seeds germinate. Place your new little seedlings in a bright area. When they're about 6" tall you can take them outdoors to a protected area where they will continue to thrive. Plant directly in the ground when they're about 12" tall.

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