Grow a Dawn Redwood from a Seed

What You'll Need
Dawn Redwood cone
pots with drainage holes
potting soil

The Dawn Redwood is a majestic tree, but notoriously difficult to grow—so difficult, in fact, that even professionals have trouble with them. However, given patience, a willingness to keep trying, and the correct knowledge, it is possible to grow a tree of this kind.

Unfortunately, this is only true in the appropriate climates. Redwoods of any kind do not grow well in areas that freeze, nor do they grow well in hot, dry areas. They grow best in cool areas with high humidity and lots of rain.

Additionally, they can reach heights of up to 150 feet tall. As you can see, Dawn Redwoods require very specific conditions to grow.

Step 1 - Setting up  

Wait for your cone to dry, so that the mature seeds start to fall out naturally. You will need to separate individual seeds from your cone and collect them to plant later. Each individual seed has a very low chance of germination, so be prepared to come back to this step many times. In fact, since the Dawn Redwood is not native to many places, it is possible that the seeds you get will be from recently planted trees too young to produce usable seeds. Because Dawn Redwoods are native to China, this is a problem for many growers.

Fill your pots with potting soil and select a spot with indirect light.

Step 2 - Planting

Plant your seeds in the pots very shallowly. It is important to not plant them too deeply, because redwood seeds need light and will not germinate without it. However, they are delicate and should be kept out of direct sunlight. In the wild, they grow under a shade tree naturally.

Keep their soil moist. Water them only when their soil feels dry. Do not over-water them, because over-watering can kill them.

If you are lucky, one or more seeds will survive and grow.

Step 3 - Growing

Once a seedling is a few inches tall, move it to a larger pot. Keep the watering schedule the same, and mist your plant regularly. Don't let it dry out. At the same time, don't over-water it. You want your plant and soil to both be moist, but your exposed plant will dry out more quickly than your water retaining soil. With luck, one will survive and you will be able to plant a tree.

You will want to keep your tree inside until after its first winter has passed, no matter what. After that, wait until it outgrows its pot. When keeping it inside in a pot starts to be too hard, move it outside. Keep in mind that your tree will grow very large, so plan ahead when you select a space for it.