How To Grow a Pine Tree From Seed?

Growing pine and fir trees from seed may be difficult. It is feasible to cultivate pine and fir trees successfully with a little (really a lot) of patience and persistence. Let's look at how to start a pine tree from scratch. Pine trees may be grown from seed in pine cone scales collected from female cones. Female pine cones are much bigger than male pine cones. 

Pine cones that have reached maturity are woody and brown in appearance. Under each scale, one cone produces around two seeds. These seeds will stay in the cone until it dries out and fully opens out. 

The prominent-looking wing, which is linked to the seed for dissemination, is commonly used to identify seed in pine cones. When the seeds fall from the tree in the autumn, generally between September and November, they may be gathered.

How to Grow

Autumn is the greatest time to harvest pine cones for seed extraction. Pinecones open up and fall to the ground throughout the autumn months, between September and November, releasing their seeds. After you've gathered your pinecones, gently tap them to encourage the tree to release the seeds. Pick out seeds that seem to be healthy and unblemished. Avoid seeds that seem to be chipped, smaller than the others, or have mold developing on them. Float testing is a simple approach to distinguish healthy seeds from duds. 

Put your seeds in a dish of water and wait for them to sprout. Plant them if they float! If they sink, toss them out. Unfortunately, starting a pine tree from seed is a time-consuming operation. There will be some waiting. Once your seeds have been float tested, properly dry them and keep them in an airtight container until planting season, which is in December. Now comes the fun part! It's time to sow your seed once December/early January arrives. 

Fill a tiny container with earth and plant your seed. With the pointy end of the seed pointing down, place it slightly underneath the surface. In the hole, it should be vertical. Fill with water and place near a sunny window. Now comes the not-so-fun phase! It's now time to wait. And then there's waiting. And then there's more waiting. It's unlikely that your pine tree will emerge from the ground until March or April. 

But don't forget to water it and keep it in that bright window! Take meticulous care of your pine tree after it has sprouted. Keep a close eye on it. The tree will attempt to tilt towards the direction of the sun. Take care to spin it regularly to ensure that it grows straight. It's time to transfer your pine tree to a larger container when it's around 6-12 inches tall. Fill a 1-gallon container halfway with dirt, then carefully transplant your sapling. You may now transplant your sapling into the wild. It's time to locate a permanent home for your sapling after it has outgrown its one-gallon container.

Things To Consider

By gently tossing fallen cones upside down, you may collect seeds. It may take many seeds to locate one that is suitable for planting. It's critical to start with excellent, healthy seeds if you want to have success growing pine seedlings. Put your seeds in a container filled with water to evaluate their viability, separating those that sink from those that float. 

The seeds that stay suspended in the water (floating) have the lowest likelihood of germinating. Planting Pine Tree Seeds Depending on when the seeds were obtained, they should be dried and kept in an airtight container or planted right away since pine tree seeds are often planted around the beginning of the year. 

Indoors, start the seeds in separate pots with well-drained potting soil. Push each seed slightly under the soil surface, ensuring sure the pointed end is pointing downward, and the seed is upright. Keep the seeds wet and patiently wait for them to germinate, which might take months but should happen by March or April.


Pine cones are the "storage chamber" for dozens of seeds, not pine tree seeds. When the seeds are ready to harvest, pine cones spontaneously break open. This usually occurs when they fall off the tree and sit in the sun for an extended period. There are several sorts of "pine trees," each with its own set of germination conditions. Water the seeds only when the soil is dry after they have germinated. 

After their second set of needles has grown, pine trees started inside may be transferred outside. If planting in rows, space them at least 8 inches apart. If you want to transplant them again in the future, wait two to three years. The health of young pine tree seedlings is jeopardized by a disease known as "damping off." 

As a preventative step, consider using a fungicide. Alternatively, you may overplant the number of seeds and seedlings you'll need in the end, allowing you to choose the strongest and healthiest. Keep weeds away from pine tree seedlings as well. 

Otherwise, the seeds will become dormant and need to be exposed to temperatures around 40 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 90 days to begin germination (a process known as "cold stratification"). Others, such as the lodgepole pine ( Pinus contorta var. latifolia, USDA zones 3a through 7a), contain resin-coated seeds that won't germinate until the resin melts, allowing the seed coat to soften as normal.