Planting Instructions for Redwood


The stately redwood tree, or Sequoia sempervirens, is a signature native plant of coastal Northern California and Oregon. Redwoods can grow to heights of almost 400 feet and can live to be more than 2,000 years old. If you live in a rural area near the ocean of Northern California or Southern Oregon, you can grow redwood trees. This giant prefers to live in a forest of its compadres, so growing just one tree might not be successful. Redwood trees are fast growing, adding 5 or 6 feet of height each year and reaching up to 150 feet in your lifetime.

Step 1

Collect dry, brown, unopened redwood cones in December or January. Allow the cones to dry further indoors for several weeks, waiting for the scales to open. Once they're dry, shake the tiny seeds onto a sheet of newspaper.

Step 2

Fill several peat pots with standard potting soil and then water them until water comes out the pot's bottom and the soil is saturated. Drop at least 20 of the tiny seeds into each pot--expect only 5 percent of them to germinate. Press seeds into the soil, but do not cover with additional potting soil because these seeds require light to germinate.

Step 3

Put the pots into one or more plastic bags and then seal them with a rubber band. Put the pots in a cool spot that receives indirect sunlight. Keep your pots moist, but do not overwater.

Step 4

Plant your peat pot into a larger pot when the seedlings are 3 to 4 inches tall. Mist young redwood trees daily, keep the soil moist, but don't allow it to remain soggy.

Step 5

Tend your potted redwood seedlings for one year or longer. During their second summer of life, put your pots outdoors in an area with filtered sunlight to harden them off and get them used to sun. Keep them well watered.

Step 6

Plant your young redwood tree or trees in the ground in a sunny location in spring. Dig a planting hole slightly larger than the roots of your potted tree in an area with no buildings, power lines, underground water or gas lines near. Loosen the soil in your planting hole and work in some organic compost. A ratio of 1 part compost to 4 parts soil is a good combination. Set your tree into the planting hole and fill in with the soil/compost you removed. Firm the soil around the tree's trunk with your foot and then water it well. Keep it well watered and remove weeds the first two years.

Tips and Warnings

  • A redwood forest is a messy place because the trees drop needles, cones and branches. Trees can drop up to one third of their small branches each year, which can interfere with rain gutters, other plants in the area, roofs and vehicles. If you live in a suburban neighborhood, redwood trees might not be your best choice.

Things You'll Need

  • Dry redwood cones
  • Newspaper
  • Peat pots
  • Potting soil
  • Plastic bag
  • Rubber band
  • Larger pots
  • Compost
  • Shovel


  • Sunny Fortuna: The Redwood Forest
  • Sunny Fortuna: Growing Your Own Redwood Grove
  • Redwood World: Growing Your Own Giant Redwood
Keywords: grow redwood tree, Sequoia sempervirens, native plants California, grow redwood seed

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.