How to Plant Sumach Seeds


Sumach, or sumac, is a perennial shrub that can often be found at roadsides and in fields throughout North America. The sumach typically reaches heights of 6 to 12 feet and its leaves turn a brilliant crimson red in the fall. The sumach prefers dry soil conditions, such as sandy soils or sandy loam, and will grow in either full sun or shade.

Step 1

Gather the cones from the sumach once they have turned a deep, crimson red color.

Step 2

Remove the berries from the cones.

Step 3

Scarify the seeds of the sumac. Soak the seeds in sulfuric acid for one to three hours. This will soften the hard outer shell of the seeds and allow for quick germination once the seeds are planted.

Step 4

Stratify the seeds immediately after scarification. Wrap the seeds in moistened compost and place the seeds and compost into a plastic bag. Store the bag of seeds in the crisper section of a refrigerator for 30 days.

Step 5

Plant the sumach seeds in well-draining soil. Dig holes 1/3 to 3/4-inch deep close to each other. Place a seed in each hole and cover with soil.

Step 6

Water the seeds thoroughly to ensure optimum soil and seed contact. Continue to keep the soil moist until germination occurs and the seedlings emerge from the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Sulfuric acid is a strong, corrosive liquid. When using this acid you must not allow it to come into contact with any exposed area of your body. Wear protective clothing that covers your body, gloves, shoes and protective eye wear. Do not inhale the fumes from sulfuric acid as it can burn and damage the lungs. Use extreme caution when working with this chemical.

Things You'll Need

  • Sumach cones and berries
  • Sulfuric acid
  • Compost
  • Plastic bag
  • Garden shovel


  • MacPhail Woods: Staghorn Sumac
  • University of Texas Wildflower Center: Smooth Sumac
  • Plants for a Future: Gardening Tips--Seed Sowing
  • Health Protection Agency: Sulphuric Acid Information and Safety
  • University of Florida: Texan Sumac
Keywords: plant sumach seeds, propegating sumach, growing sumach bush, plant sumac seeds

About this Author

Sophia Darby is a former professional hairstylist who has spent the last six years writing hair-related articles for both online and print publications. Her work has appeared in Celebrity Hairstyles Magazine, as well as multiple websites.