How To Grow A Pine Tree From Seed

Young pine trees planted on the ground in perfect straight line, How To Grow A Pine Tree from SeedVery few smells are as wonderful, homey and cozy as the smell of a good pine. That may seem reserved only for those who live near the pine forests or in cool climates, but you can actually raise a pine in your own yard!

Perhaps the best news is, it is fairly easy to grow a pine from seed. There are three easy steps to grow a pine tree from seed:

  1. Harvest or buy — It is far easier to buy pine seeds from your local nursery or seed store, but they can also be harvested from pine cones.
  2. Soak and stratify — Putting the seeds in water helps you identify the seeds that are viable, and stratifying the seeds is necessary for them to grow properly.
  3. Prepare and plant — Prepare a good area for the plant to grow. It is best to start it in a pot then transplant it.

If you still have some questions, don't worry. Let us take a closer look at what kind of pines to grow and how to grow them well.

Picking a Pine

You can grow a pine from seed or sapling, but it is much easier and more reliable to buy a sapling. On the other hand, it can be very rewarding to grow your own pine from seed. Both are good options, but if you are looking for a fast or more sure-fire method, buying a seeding or sapling is the way to go. Regardless of whether you are growing from seed or buying a seedling, there are many factors to consider.


How big do you want your pine to be? Not all pines are suited to work as small bonsai-type plants. Size also impacts the amount of care you have to put into the pine. If you want a pine that looks well-groomed, something small might be better suited to your situation. Likewise, if you want something that is easy to take care of, something that grows slower might also be a good option.


Do you want a pine that gets tall or one that bushes out? Do you want the needles to be a particular color? While pines are evergreen, there leaves come in different shades and colors. If you are getting your pine for its appearance, consider what color you would like most and what would look good with your landscaping.


Where are you wanting to plant your pine? Is it shaded or in a sunny area? What is the climate like? What is around? You especially want to consider the things around the spot that the roots might interfere with. It is common for people to have problems with roots interrupting sidewalks and other buildings. Another thing to consider is other plants that are around the area you want to put it, especially when there is a chance some plants may get shaded out.


Are there any diseases common in your area? This may be a bit less than obvious, but it is important to consider disease when picking a pine tree. You want to pick a pine that is resistant to diseases common in your area. With that, it is also good to consider the soil and diseases or problems that might be caused by your soil.

For more information and pine tree diseases and why pine trees in your area might be dying, check out this guide: Why is My Pine Tree Dying? [Common Reasons Explained].

Can You Plant A Pine Tree In A Container?

Live in a small space or just want a tree in your home? It needs extra work and patience, but you can grow a pine tree in a container!

The major difference between growing a pine outdoors and in a pot is picking a pot to grow it in. A pot with wheels or one you can fit on a dolly is a good option, so you can move it between being inside and outside. You will also need a large pot, one big enough to accommodate your pine as it grows.

The SmartPot or another fabric pot is a good option for growing trees and other plants indoors. While they may not be the prettiest, they are lightweight and very practical. They can also fit on dollies or inside other prettier pots. They also help the roots get good aeration and drainage.

Check out the SmartPot on Amazon here.

For more detailed information and directions on how to grow a pine tree indoors, check out this article. 

What Is The Best Time To Plant A Pine Tree?

While it seems most natural to plant new trees in the spring when you are doing your other gardening, as it turns out, that isn't the best time.

In general, a good time to plant your young pines is actually the summer, but there is no clear-cut “best” time to plant a pine tree. The best time to plant a pine tree depends especially on your planting zone and variety. You want to pick a time when the temperature and water levels will remain fairly constant. August or September may be good, as it gives them time to prepare and grow before the cold winter months set in.

Seedling Differences

Depending on how you are getting your seedling, there are a few different ways to handle them. In particular, bare-root seedlings should be planted in the dormant season and watered regularly. This helps them grow and develop a root system.

If at all possible, it is best to tailor the planting time to the specific variety you have. If you are buying a seedling or sapling from a nursery, they can likely advise you on when to plant your pines.

For some more tips on how to take care of your pine visit this site. 

How Can I Make My Pine Tree Grow Faster?

Tall pine trees photographed belowThe most obvious and probably the easiest way for a pine tree to grow faster is to add fertilizer. To pick the fertilizer best suited to your pine’s needs, a soil test is a good way to go. This helps you know how you need to amend the soil and what nutrients the plant needs most.

Likewise, check the needles for discoloration, which would also help tell you what nutrients the plant may need. For example, if there is an abundance of yellow or yellowing needles, it may mean your pine needs iron chelates.

In general, spreading two pounds of 10-10-10 fertilizer will help the tree to grow faster. Only do this about once a year though, as more may burn the tree.

Another good but slower option is to apply compost. Compost will slowly amend the soil allowing the tree to gain more nutrients. In turn, this will allow the tree to grow faster and stronger.

For more information and specific fertilizers, check out this guide - 11 Best Fertilizers For Pine Trees.

How Fast Will My Young Pine Tree Grow In A Year?

Pine trees grow at about three different paces. There are fast, medium and slow-growing trees. Slow growing trees grow about one to two feet per year. Fast-growing pine trees such as the Eastern White Pine, Leyland Cypress or Norway Spruce grow three or more feet a year.

While fast-growing pines give fast shade and fill in landscape quickly, they usually need more pruning and upkeep. Slow growing pines such as Hinoki Cypress, Dwarf Balsam Fir, and Dwarf Serbian Spruce require less urgent maintenance.

Be aware that even if your pine grows slowly, it will likely grow for a long time. While it only takes about 30 years for a pine to reach maturity, they may continue to grow for 50 or more years! Pines are known to live to be over a hundred years old, some even over 1,000 years old!

Read more: How Long Does A Pine Tree Live?

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