How to Start a Norway Spruce From a Seed


The Norway spruce is cultivated more than any other variety of spruce. Because of its popularity, more than 120 named cultivars are on the market. They come in a variety of branching patterns and sizes: from 150-foot giants to 3-foot-tall dwarf varieties. All but the dwarf varieties of Norway spruce can easily be started from seed collected from mature female cones.

Step 1

Collect fertilized, unopened Norway spruce pine cones in early September.

Step 2

Place the closed pine cones in a paper bag and close it tightly with a twist tie. Then store it in a warm, dry place until the pine cones open and release the seeds into the bag.

Step 3

Store the Norway spruce seeds in a refrigerator drawer, in a sealable plastic bag until next spring. Do not store any bananas or apples in the same drawer. They release an ethylene gas that may cause the seeds to germinate prematurely.

Step 4

Remove the seeds from the refrigerator and place them in a bowl of water. Leave the seeds to soak overnight.

Step 5

Dry the seeds off with a paper towel and return them to the refrigerator until you are ready to plant them.

Step 6

Fill a seedling tray with a peat-lite mix.

Step 7

Place the Norway spruce seeds on top of the soil.

Step 8

Cover the seeds with ¼ inch of the peat-lite mix and gently pat it down with your hand.

Step 9

Water the seeds. The soil should be kept moist while the seed germinates. Afterward, the soil should be allowed to dry out between watering.

Step 10

Place the seeds in the shade, out of direct sunlight until they germinate in roughly one month. After they germinate, they must be kept in partial shade for the first year.

Step 11

Transplant the seedlings into 1-gallon pots once they reach 1 year old.

Step 12

Transplant the seedlings outdoors when they are between 2 and 5 years old.

Tips and Warnings

  • Norway spruce seeds can be planted out of doors directly, but they run a high risk of being eaten before they reach maturity.

Things You'll Need

  • Peat-lite mix
  • Planting tray
  • Paper bag
  • Pine cones
  • Pot


  • Floridata: Picea Abies
  • North Dakota State University: Questions on Spruce
  • Tree Boss: Growing Norway Spruce from Seed
Keywords: Norway spruce, Plant spruce seed, Start spruce

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.