How to Grow Pine Trees From a Seed


Gardeners usually purchase pine trees from a nursery or garden center when they already are several feet tall, but it is possible to grow your own pine tree from a seed. The seeds are taken from female pine cones, the largest cones on the tree, that fall to the ground in autumn. Growing a pine tree from seed is a slow process, as it takes several months for germination to occur, but it is rewarding to watch the tiny seedling develop into a majestic pine.

Step 1

Collect female pine cones in the fall, after they have started to crack open. Place the cones in a dry location that receives direct sunlight until they have opened completely.

Step 2

Shake the dried cones across a screen to cause the seeds to drop off. Rub the seeds gently between your palms to remove the wings.

Step 3

Place the pine seeds in a container filled with water for 48 hours. Pour off the old water and replace with fresh after the first 24 hours.

Step 4

Remove the seeds and place them into a plastic bag filled with lightly moistened sand. Close the bag tightly enough to prevent spills while still allowing air to circulate and put into the refrigerator for 30 to 60 days.

Step 5

Fill a plant flat three-fourths of the way with potting soil. Plant the pine seeds with the pointed end toward the bottom of the flat, just deeply enough that they are no longer visible. Water well and place the flat in a sunny windowsill.

Step 6

Add water any time the soil no longer feels moist to the touch. It takes several months for the seeds to sprout, but they should begin to appear by early to mid-spring.

Step 7

Prepare an outdoor planting location that receives full sun once the seedlings have reached a height of 6 to 12 inches. Remove all grass, weeds and large rocks from the chosen location. Loosen the soil several inches deep and amend with a 4-inch layer of organic compost.

Step 8

Plant the pine seedlings one foot apart at the same depth as they were growing in the plant flat. Continue to water regularly, whenever the soil is no longer moist to the touch.

Step 9

Fertilize once each month with liquid organic fertilizer mixed at half the strength recommended on the package.

Step 10

Move the young pine tree to its permanent location after two growing seasons. Water the new planting often during its first year after transplanting.

Tips and Warnings

  • Plant the pine seeds very soon after removing them from the refrigerator to prevent them from drying out.

Things You'll Need

  • Screen
  • Container
  • Plastic bag
  • Sand
  • Plant flat
  • Potting soil
  • Garden fork
  • Organic compost
  • Liquid organic fertilizer
  • Shovel


  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension: Growing Conifers from Seed
  • Mother Earth News; Growing Conifers from Seed
  • Gardening Know How: How to Grow a Pine Tree from Seed
Keywords: grow pine trees, pines from seed, pine tree seeds, plant conifer seeds, pine cones

About this Author

Annita Lawson has been working as a freelance writer since 2004. Her work has been published in various web and print outlets, including The Dabbling Mum, A Virtuous Woman, and Pediatrics for Parents. Lawson is pursuing an Associate of Arts degree at Southeast Kentucky Community College. She enjoys sharing all that she has learned about parenting, healthy eating and living a frugal lifestyle.