Growing a Spruce Tree from Seeds

A spruce tree.
  • 1-3 hours
  • Beginner
  • 30-50
What You'll Need
Spruce cones
Paper bag
Plastic bag
2 gallon pots
Potting soil
Balanced fertilizer

Though growing spruce seedlings is a more straightforward method, growing spruce tree seeds is also possible. Here is the best method for growing a spruce tree from seeds.

Step 1 - Collect Seeds

You can purchase seeds or you can gather your own. If you plan to gather them, collect several spruce cones in early September. Store them in a paper bag, where they will mature and dry. Eventually, the seeds will fall out of the cone on their own. When they do, store the seeds in a plastic bag in your freezer. In early April, remove the seeds and soak them in water for a day. Put them in a wet paper towel, then back into the plastic bag, and then into the refrigerator. Leave them there for 6 weeks.

Step 2 - Germinate

Remove your seeds from the refrigerator and put them in water. Do not cover them completely but be sure your seeds are about halfway submerged. Cover them in plastic wrap to keep the water from evaporating and check regularly to make sure the water level stays the same. Within three weeks, every seed that is going to germinate should have already done so.

Step 3 - Plant

Soon, you will be ready to plant your seeds. You can use improvised pots, as long as you punch holes in the bottom for drainage. No matter what you use for pots, wash them with bleach, and rinse them thoroughly to remove all residual bleach. Pots, especially ones that are being reused, can contain fungus that may damage your plants. Once your pots have been prepared, fill them with potting soil. Use tweezers to remove the seedlings that have germinated and place them on top of your soil. Then, cover the seeds with sand.

Step 4 - Care

A spruce tree with snow on it.

Find a spot with indirect sunlight, and place your pots there. Water them enough to keep the soil moist, but not enough to saturate the soil. Saturated soil is not ideal for your plants, but it is ideal for fungus that can kill them. You can fertilize your seedlings when they grow to be 1 inch tall. Use a balanced fertilizer. Remember, plants can live without fertilizer, but too much will kill them. Be sure to never give your seedlings too much fertilizer. After 3 months, stop fertilizing the seedlings.

Step 5 - Transplant

Eventually, you will need to transplant your seedlings outside, but doing so too early will kill them. Get them used to outdoor conditions by moving their pots into a shady place with a wind barrier for short periods of time. Increase the length of time they spend outside each day as time passes. Do not do this during winter.

Wait until your seedlings are about 12 inches tall. You should also wait until you are leaving them outside for long periods of time with no ill effects. Once both of these conditions have been met, you can transplant your seedlings outside. Give them plenty of room to grow, as they can reach heights of 200 feet.