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How to Grow Spruce Trees

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017
Gather spruce cones in September.

There are 35 species of spruce trees, with Colorado blue spruce one of the most popular, according to the Arbor Day Foundation. It grows to 50 to 75 feet in height and has that familiar Christmas tree shape. Spruce trees should be planted in full sun in USDA zones 2 to 8. One of the easiest ways to grow spruce trees is from seed. Gather your spruce cones in September.

Place the spruce cones in a paper bag immediately after gathering them. Allow them to sit in the bag for two months, or until the cones open and the seeds fall out. Shake the bag periodically to see if the seeds are loose.

Place the seeds in a plastic, sealable bag in the freezer until the beginning of April.

Remove the seeds from the freezer and soak them in a bowl of water for 24 hours.

Dampen two layers of paper toweling and place the seeds between the layers. Place the wrapped seeds in a clean plastic bag. Refrigerate the seeds for six weeks.

Pour water into a shallow dish so that it is just covering the bottom.

Remove the seeds from the refrigerator and place them in the dish. They should not be covered with water. Place the tray in a plastic bag or seal it with plastic wrap.

Check the seeds periodically for germination. This should occur within five days and continue for three weeks.

Fill the two-gallon planting pots with potting soil.

Lift the seeds from the dish with tweezers and place them in the pots. Cover with 1/4 inch of sand. Place the pots in an area that receives a lot of light, such as near a window. Water the seedlings twice a day.

Fertilize the seedlings when they reach 1 inch in height. Mix 1 tsp. of 20-20-20 fertilizer into one gallon of water and use the solution to fertilize the seedlings twice a week. Apply enough fertilizer to soak the soil. Stop fertilizing the seedlings in mid-July.

Move the seedlings outdoors when they reach 2 inches in height. Acclimate them to the change in environment by placing them in a sheltered, shady spot and then gradually increasing the time they spend in the sun.

Dig a hole the same depth of the pots in which the seedlings are growing, in the fall. Bury the pots so that the tops are level with the soil and allow the seedlings to remain through the winter.

Plant the seedlings in their permanent location when they reach 12 inches in height.


Things You Will Need

  • Paper bag
  • Plastic bags
  • Bowl
  • Paper towels
  • Shallow dish
  • Coarse sand
  • Tweezers
  • Fertilizer
  • Potting soil
  • Planting pots

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.