Plan the perfect garden with our interactive tool →

How to Plant Cedar Trees From Seed

pinecones from a cedar tree image by Carol Wingert from

Cedar trees can be planted from seed as long as their basic requirements are met. Things like stratification, moisture content and sunlight play an important role in the successful outcome of the planting. Several types of plants bear the name cedar, but not all are true cedars from the cypress family. The cedars discussed here are different genus types from within the Cypress family.

Remove the cedar seeds from the cone they are housed in. Typically the cones will fall from the trees in August or September, but sometimes they have to be plucked from the branch by hand. Pry the wooden bracts open to remove the seeds if they do not shake out. Needle nose pliers work well for this task.

Place the seeds on a damp paper towel. Fold the towel three of four times until the seeds are closed in on all sides. Dampen a handful of sphagnum moss and nest the folded paper towel in the middle of it. Place it all in the plastic bag and seal it shut.

Place the bag in the back of your refrigerator. You will need to keep it there to cold-treat or stratify the seeds. The length of time will depend on how long the cold season is where the seeds came from. Some areas are as short as four weeks, many are six weeks and others are 12 weeks. If you are not sure, a longer time is better than a shorter time.

Remove the bag from the refrigerator and carefully open the paper towel to see if any of the seeds have sprouted. Plant the seeds about an inch deep into a plant pot filled with potting soil. Do not knock off the sprouting roots.

Firm the soil over the seeds and water the pot until the water runs from the bottom drainage holes. Set the pot in a tray and and place in a sunny window. You will want to have planted several seeds since some varieties have a germination rate as low as 10 percent.

Move the seedlings outside when they are about six inches tall and set in an area where they will get full sun and be protected from deer for at least one year.

Garden Guides