Pine trees are most often bought as saplings and then transplanted into the home landscape. But planting pine cone seeds is a viable option for do-it-yourself gardeners or those interested in cultivating bonsai pine trees. It also makes a great project for small children. Germinating pine cone seeds is a relatively straightforward process, but germination rates may vary widely. To be safe, plant many more seeds than you think you will need.
Store the pine cone seeds in the refrigerator for at least 3 weeks. This process is called stratification, and it will break the seed's dormancy and speed up the germination time.
Fill a small pot (2 to 4 inches) with peat moss, press it down with your hands to lightly compact it. Then water it so that it is saturated.
Place 4 to 6 pine cone seeds over the peat moss and cover them with fine sand at a depth that is 1.5 times the average diameter of the pine cone seeds.
Place plastic wrap over the pot to help it stay moist. If the peat moss begins to dry out, lift the plastic and re-water.
Place the pot in a sunny, warm location and wait up to 3 weeks for the seed to germinate.