How to Plant Pine Cone Seeds


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.

Step 1

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.

Step 2

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.

Step 3

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.

Step 4

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.

Step 5

Place the pot in a sunny, warm location and wait up to 3 weeks for the seed to germinate.

Things You'll Need

  • Clay pot with drainage holes
  • Peat moss
  • Fine sand
  • Plastic wrap


  • Natural Resources Canada: Pine Cone Seed Extraction and Seedling Cultivation
  • Ministry of Forest and Range: Mountain Pine Beetle Seed Planning
Keywords: germinate pine seed, pine cone seed, plant pine seed

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.