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How to Start a Cedar of Lebanon Tree

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Collect the cones in winter.

The Cedar of Lebanon is an evergreen coniferous tree with a massive trunk and an eventual height of up to 140 feet. Because of their large size, these trees are usually grown as highway median plantings or in residential settings with huge expanses of lawn. Cedar of Lebanon trees are very challenging to propagate from cuttings and are almost always started by seed. According to the folks at Plants for a Future, the Cedar of Lebanon tree can live 300 years.

Keep the Cedar of Lebanon cones in a warm spot until they open.

Remove the seed from the cone and drop it into a bowl filled with lukewarm water. Allow to soak overnight.

Remove the seed from the water and lay it out on paper towel placed in the sun, allowing the seed to dry for 15 minutes.

Place the seed in a plastic bag and then into the refrigerator. You do not need to add any soil to the bag, but do leave the bag open. Allow the seed to remain in the refrigerator for one month. Check it periodically, and if it sprouts, remove it and plant it immediately.

Fill the planting pot with bonsai-soil mix and water it until the excess water drains from the bottom of the pot.

Carefully remove the seed from the bag and place the radicle (the small white rootlet) into the soil but allow the seed to sit on the surface.

Use a misting bottle to water the soil and allow the top inch of soil to dry before watering. Place the pot in a shady area with good air circulation and low humidity.

Transplant the Cedar of Lebanon tree into its permanent location when the needles emerge. Although the tree is not particular as to soil texture, the soil needs to be well-drained, so a somewhat sandy soil is ideal. The best time to transplant is late spring or early summer.


Things You Will Need

  • Bowl
  • Paper towels
  • Plastic bag
  • Bonsai-soil mix
  • Planting pot


  • Hardy to USDA Zone 5 (areas with winter temperatures to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit), the tree flowers from October to November and the seeds ripen from October to December. Collect the cones in the winter.

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.